Marquez seals third MotoGP win in Czech Grand Prix
Czech Grand Prix

Marquez seals third MotoGP win in Czech Grand Prix

Marc Marquez took a dominant third victory of the MotoGP season at Brno, timing his pitstop to perfection on a drying track to outfox his championship rivals.

With the race beginning on a damp track but the sun shining, it seemed only a matter of time before the field would have to switch to dry tyres, all 23 riders opting to go with wets for the start.

Poleman Marquez was alone in the top eight in opting to run a soft wet rear tyre, and he lost the lead to the Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo at Turn 5 on the opening lap before quickly dropping down the order.

The factory Honda man had sunk to the bottom of the top 10 when he pitted at the end of the second lap for his dry-shod bike, a decision which proved to be a masterstroke.

Several other riders came in the following lap, but none of the leading group, with Lorenzo leading Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and a fast-starting Johann Zarco out front.

Lorenzo finally came in at the end of lap four after losing the lead to Rossi, but dropped well down the order as his second bike hadn't been fired up when he arrived at the Ducati pit.

That left Rossi, Dovizioso and Zarco out front, but they were losing anywhere from eight to 10 seconds a lap to Marquez, who was already setting a scintillating pace on slicks.

Rossi and Dovizioso finally bailed for their dry-shod bikes on lap five, with Zarco staying out an extra lap and being passed for the lead by the much faster Marquez.

With a 20-second lead over his nearest opposition, it was a simple case of reeling off the remaining laps for Marquez, who ended up 12.4s clear at the finish for the 32nd MotoGP victory of his career.

Dani Pedrosa, who was among those to follow Lorenzo into the pits on lap four, soon picked off Karel Abraham, Scott Redding and Aleix Espargaro to complete a Honda one-two.

A further 5.6s back at the finish was Maverick Vinales on the best of the works Yamahas, the Spaniard having pitted on the same lap as Lorenzo and Pedrosa before recovering to third after passing the LCR Honda of Cal Crutchlow, who was on the same strategy.

In the closing laps, Crutchlow found himself caught by Rossi, the Italian finding a way through at Turn 5 on the final lap to grab fourth place.

Dovizioso was sixth on the best of the Ducatis, followed by Danilo Petrucci's Pramac machine and the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro, who was handed a three-place penalty for an unsafe release that made Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone fall.

Pol Espargaro took KTM's best MotoGP finish in ninth, while the top 10 was completed by Jonas Folger (Tech 3 Yamaha), who pitted twice in the space of two laps.

Lorenzo's race never recovered from his botched stop, and he claimed the final point in 15th.

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