Marquez strolls to success at Brno

Marc Marquez extended his MotoGP World Championship lead after a far superior race strategy led to a handsome victory in Brno on Sunday.

Marquez cruised to a 12.4-second victory, with team-mate Dani Pedrosa finishing second and Marquez’s nearest title rival Maverick Vinales completing the rostrum.

Valentino Rossi recovered from a poor strategy to keep Cal Crutchlow at bay for fourth, as Andrea Dovizioso came sixth, Danilo Petrucci seventh, A.Espargaro eighth, P.Espargaro ninth and Jonas Folger making up three positions on the final lap to take 10th.

Alex Rins, Johann Zarco, home favourite Karel Abraham, Jack Miller and Jorge Lorenzo completed the points.

A mixture of sunshine and showers made for a difficult start to the Czech Grand Prix, but the track soon dried out and Marquez was ultimately rewarded for swapping bikes at the first sign that his wet tyres were burned through.

Pole-sitter Marquez got off to an absolutely flying start to hold onto the race lead, but his joy was initially short-lived after Jorge Lorenzo shot up from P6 to lead the pack at Turn 5.

Marquez then really began to struggle on wet tyres as the track dried up incredibly quickly. He was on the brink of falling out of the top 10 before being the first rider to swap to slicks.

The leaders suprisingly decided to stay out on the wets, allowing Marquez to up the pace by almost 10 seconds a lap and close in on the likes of the hesitant Rossi, Zarco and Dovizioso, who were all eventually forced into damage limitation mode.

Marquez comfortably passed Zarco for the race lead with 17 laps to go, with Redding, Aleix Espargaro and home favourite Abraham also benefitting from an early bike switch to become firmly embroiled in a battle for P2.

Marquez opened up a massive 21-second gap at the front, making a mockery of the strategies adopted by his title rivals.

Repsol Honda team-mate Pedrosa emerged from the chasing pack to rise up to second with 13 laps left, but he could only take tiny chunks out of Marquez’s dominant lead.

A Espargaro, then in P6, was told to drop three places because of an unsafe release in the pit lane which caused Andrea Iannone to crash into his pit crew.

With Marquez in cruise control, it was left to Rossi to provide the drama on the final lap as he stole fourth spot away from  Crutchlow.

Loris Baz and Alvaro Bautista were the other riders to crash out, while Bradley Smith was forced to retired in the latter stages.

Czech Republic MotoGP Results:

1. Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team – 161.1
2. Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team +12.438
3. Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +18.135
4. Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +20.466
5. Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda +20.892
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team +23.259
7. Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing +24.079
8. Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +30.559
9. Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +30.754
10. Jonas FOLGER GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +33.236
11. Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +33.290
12. Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +34.595
13. Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team +34.697
14. Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +38.062
15. Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team +40.100
16. Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing +44.376
17. Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +45.454
18. Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +53.976
19. Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +1’23.346
20. Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing 1 Lap

Not Classified:
38. Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2 Laps
76. Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing 7 Laps
19. Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 10 Laps