Jorge Lorenzo’s phenomenal 2010 form continued at the Cardion ab Grand Prix České republiky on Sunday where the Fiat Yamaha rider won his seventh race of the season. A front row start was converted into another 25 points by the Spaniard, who maintained his record of having finished inside the top two in every race so far.
The sun was shining brilliantly in stark contrast to the wet morning warm-up session and the dark clouds that had circled the track as just over 148,000 enthusiastic fans packed out the Brno circuit. Lorenzo quickly engaged himself in an early battle with rival Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) – who started from pole position – by taking the lead in the third corner.
There were two early fallers as Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) went down inside the opening three laps, the latter managing to avoid collisions with a number of oncoming bikes while stranded in the middle of the track coming out of turn nine. Dovizioso rejoined the back of the race but was forced to retire shortly after with a handlebar issue.
Lorenzo and Pedrosa exchanged fastest-lap times in the preliminary stages of the race as they set the pace but the championship leader gradually began to pull away from his compatriot, and the pair were also well ahead of Casey Stoner (Ducati Team) in third place.
The riders became more separated as the race reached its finale, and Lorenzo cruised across the line 5.494s ahead of Pedrosa to extend his Championship lead over his fellow Spaniard to 77 points. The Repsol Honda rider was followed onto the podium by Australia’s Stoner, who finished third almost six seconds back and also moved into third in the Championship ahead of Dovizioso.
“After my problems yesterday and the crash I didn’t expect this today, I thought it would be much more of a struggle,” Lorenzo said. “Once I got to the front I expected Dani to come with me and I knew it was my moment and that I had to push as much as possible.
“I thought he would try to overtake me but I felt good, pushed hard and little by little I was able to lose him. I know I said I was riding for the championship now and that’s still true but when there’s the chance to win I have to take it.
“To take my seventh win in one season is fantastic, thank you to all of my team for such a good job after we had difficulties yesterday. Tomorrow we have an important test which we hope will help us in the last part of the championship and then we go to Indianapolis, a track that I love.”
Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) placed fourth from his first MotoGP front row grid position having made an impressive start, with Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) fifth, just over four seconds off the rookie.
American duo Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) were sixth and seventh respectively, with Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) and the returning Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) completing the top ten just four weeks after breaking his leg in Germany.
A frustrating weekend was ended in heartbreaking fashion for Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) as the rookie slid out on the last corner of the final lap, having just passed Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) who took 11th.
A controlled and well-measured ride from standings leader Toni Elías delivered the Spaniard’s fourth win of the 2010 campaign at Brno, which also marked the Gresini team’s 100th podium finish in the World championship.
As opposed to the start of the earlier 125cc contest the Moto2 riders were met with sun as they lined up on the grid, and early in the race there were up to nine riders battling for the lead, amongst them pole man Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP) and Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing), who got off to a great start from the third row.
Arne Tode (Racing Team Germany) crashed out early on but there were few fallers, and Elías patiently monitored the situation at the head of the race, sidling up to Tomizawa. Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) was also in the group vying for positions towards the front and the Italian moved into first position as halfway approached.
Iannone threatened to pull away as he has done more than once before this season, but Elías recovered a gap of over a second to overtake on lap 13 as Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans STR) became involved in the top-three battle. Unfortunately for the Italian a mechanical failure on the next lap ended his race prematurely after an impressive ride.
The experienced Elías started to pull away and Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3 Racing) passed Iannone to slot into second on the penultimate lap, a position he held to the finish line. The victorious Elías met the chequered flag with an advantage of 2.312s over the Japanese rider to take the 25 points, with Iannone third behind Takahashi by just over six-tenths of a second.
Cluzel and Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) completed the top five, with Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up) completing a solid weekend in sixth. Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Racing) placed 11th, which means Iannone now sits second in the Championship standings at seven points ahead of the Swiss rider. Elías’ lead at the top remains strong after nine rounds and he is now 55 points clear.
After a short delay to the start of the race when rain suddenly started to fall, a frantic changing of tyres by many teams on the grid to wet compounds, led to a fantastically intriguing encounter as the track dried throughout the course of the 19-lap race.
Terol’s choice of front and rear wets paid off for the Bancaja Aspar rider as he opened up a substantial lead early on over Tuenti Racing pair Efrén Vázquez and Pol Espargaró. The Aprilia rider’s display was made all the more impressive given that this was his first GP back from a vertebra injury having missed the previous round in Germany.
The real battle was for the remaining podium spots and a great contest began to unfold as Vázquez and Espargaró stuck close together. Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) was soon to enter the fray as well, whilst Championship leader Marc Márquez (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) put up a valiant effort to remain as close to the front as possible, having dislocated his shoulder earlier in the weekend.
Johann Zarco’s WTR San Marino Team made the decision to change the Frenchman’s tyres to slicks and although he rejoined the race at the back he set a number of fastest laps to show they were the correct choice of tyre, but was too far behind to make any difference to the points-scoring positions.
Rabat passed Vázquez with three laps to go to slot into third and Vázquez then crashed on the penultimate lap as he pushed to keep up.
The victory belonged to Terol however and he crossed the finish line 20.351s ahead of Espargaró for a resounding victory – his second of the season – with Rabat delighted to take third just two-tenths of a second behind.
Jonas Folger (Team Ongetta) and home rider Jakub Kornfeil (Racing Team Germany) completed the top five, with pole holder Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar) having done well to recover an early loss in ground to place sixth. Márquez took valuable points with seventh as he rode a courageous race.
The result means Márquez’s lead at the top of the championship has been cut to 15 points ahead of Espargaró, with Terol’s victory preserving his third spot and moving him back to within 23 points of the leader.