Marc Marquez masters yet another flag-to-flag race as he comfortably wins the CzechGP from Dani Pedrosa and Maverick Vinales.
Call it sheer luck or a masterstroke, but Marc Marquez has yet again shown that he’s still the man to beat in a flag-to-flag to race. After what looked like a disastrous start, Marquez skilfully went on to win the Czech Grand Prix today in sketchy track conditions. The four-time world champion was joined by teammate Dani Pedrosa (2nd) and Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales (3rd) in the podium ceremony.
Marquez looked dominant over the entire weekend as he was fastest in practice, qualifying and warm-up sessions. The Repsol Honda rider started from pole in the race, but it wasn’t going to be a straightforward affair to the chequered flag. Thanks to weather gods playing along, the race was declared wet at the start, forcing the entire grid to switch to wet tyres. Among the top riders, Marquez, however, chose to go for a soft wet rear tyre as opposed to others who went for the medium option. Thanks to that, Marquez lost his lead immediately after the race start and dropped out of the top ten in no time. While most thought it to be a bad decision on Marquez’s part, in actual, that wasn’t the case.
Upon seeing a drying track, Marquez quickly took the decision to enter the pits and switched to his second bike that was shod with slicks. Meantime, other top riders continued on wet tyres, racing at a relatively slower pace. Within a few laps, most riders including Jorge Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Vinales followed suit and made the switch to slick tyres – although the likes of Valentino Rossi, Johan Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso stayed out on slicks.
Marquez’s move to go out on slicks first paid huge dividends as he was just 10 seconds away from the leading pair of Rossi, Zarco and Dovizioso in a just over a lap. Before getting overtaken by Marquez though, Rossi and Dovizioso finally entered the pits to swap bikes. Zarco continued on wet tyres for a lap more, only to be walked past by the much faster Marquez.
Marquez was so fast that he gained an advantage of around 20 seconds over the next set of riders. Although he eased up a bit in the closing laps, Marquez still won the race by over 12 seconds, ahead of Pedrosa. Behind Pedrosa was Vinales who ran an impressive race to finish third despite starting seventh. Rossi’s late pit entry meant he lost a lot of time, albeit he recovered well in the end, managing to finish fourth. LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was fifth, while Dovizioso was the best Ducati rider for the day in sixth.
Danilo Petrucci’s Pramac Ducati crossed the finish line in seventh, ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro in eighth. KTM rider Pol Espargaro and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Jonas Folger completed the top ten in ninth and tenth, respectively.
After ten rounds, Marquez (154 points) has extended his championship lead by 14 points over Vinales (140). Dovizioso (133) and Rossi (132) are still in the hunt while Pedrosa (123) has inched closer to the other contenders, courtesy of today’s second place finish.