2015 Czech Republic MotoGP Preview
The MotoGP grid had a one-month summer break ahead of last weekend’s round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but only a week ahead of this weekend’s Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno. Transitioning directly from America to the center of Europe takes its tolls on both riders and teams – especially those at the top of the standings.
2015 Czech Republic MotoGP – Battle of the Factory Bikes
As the 2015 MotoGP Championship heads to Brno, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi holds a slim nine-point lead over teammate Jorge Lorenzo. But creeping up on the YZR-M1 duo is the two-time reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez.
Following some less-than-stellar results aboard the 2015 chassis, the 22-year-old Repsol Honda RC213V pilot switched back to a 2014 chassis with 2015 electronics and engine platform ahead of Assen MotoGP. He finished second at Assen, and followed this up with wins at the last two rounds out – Sachsenring ahead of the summer break, and last week at Indy following the break.
Marquez’s Indy win – his third this season and third-straight at the Indiana circuit – bumped him to third in the points. The Spaniard now trails Rossi by 56 points. But Rossi will not give up; the 36-year-old Italian – the oldest competitor in 2015 MotoGP – will put his nine-time World Championship-earning experience to work to keep his podium record continuing.
Rossi is a huge fan of Brno, which has hosted GPs sine 1950 and was redesigned in 1987. Rossi claimed his first-ever 125cc GP win there in 1996. This was followed by a 250cc win in 1999, a 500cc victory in 2001, and four modern-era MotoGP victories in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009.
“There isn’t much time to rest but I’m happy to go to the Czech Republic. In the end the Indianapolis GP was a good race, another podium is a good result. The American weekend didn’t start very well and it was very difficult to find the better setting for the race. At the end, after warm up, we had done a good job and third place for us was really good result,” Valentino Rossi says.
“We are still first in the championship and that’s fine. For me Brno is a nice track, I like it better than Indianapolis, but at the same time, my teammate Jorge Lorenzo is very strong in Brno. Marquez will also be strong, as he was in Indy. We’ll have to do the maximum again in this weekend to not lose any more points, but I‘m feeling positive and I think that we will make it a good weekend.”
Lorenzo is also successful at Brno, earning a 125cc victory in 2004, two 250cc wins in 2006 and 2007, and a MotoGP win in 2010. The two-time MotoGP Champion has consistently finished on the Brno podium since 2012. Since Rossi’s victory in 2009, Lorenzo has never finished behind VR46.
“Overall the last race at Indy was pretty good for us considering that usually Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not one of my favorite tracks. It also suits our rivals better than it does us, so we have to be proud of what we did there on Sunday. Now it is time to face Brno, a completely different circuit,” Jorge Lorenzo says.
“In this case I like the contrast a lot because I always have great fun at Brno, it‘s a nice racetrack where maybe we can be stronger than we were last weekend. We will need to be focused on doing a great job starting from Friday and try to gain as many points as we can to reduce the gap to Valentino.”
Marquez also has some incentive due to the status of the Honda RC213V in the Czech Republic – it has won at Brno the last four years, including his victory there in 2013. Casey Stoner won in 2011, and Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa in 2012 and last year. Last year at Brno Marquez was going for a record-breaking 11 wins in a row, but he finished fourth. This is behind him, though, and he’s looking to build on his recent momentum. Marquez also just gave Honda its 700th Grand Prix victory.
“It was a tough race in Indianapolis, very demanding, but I’m really happy to have taken two consecutive wins,” Marc Marquez says. “We were able to enjoy the victory on Sunday night and now we are already on our way to Brno for the next race. This isn’t one of my favorite tracks and I’ve had mixed results here in the past but we arrive there with good momentum and we will work hard to be ready for a battle!”
As for Marquez’s teammate Pedrosa, who is seventh in the standings with 80 points, he has won at Brno across all classes – (125cc – 2003; 250cc – 2005; MotoGP- 2012/2014). Fourth in standings, 10 points behind Marquez and 66 behind Rossi is Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone. While piloting the satellite Pramac Racing Ducati last season, he qualified on the front row and beat his current teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, to the line for fifth. Iannone has a win at Brno (Moto2 – 2011), and Dovi has earned podiums there across all classes (125cc, 250cc and MotoGP).
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro claimed eighth at the last year’s Czech GP on the Forward Yamaha to secure his best MotoGP result at the circuit. His teammate, rookie Maverick Viñales, finished sixth in the Moto2 race last season, but finished on the podium (2nd) in the Moto3™ race in 2013.
2015 Czech Republic MotoGP Preview – Satellites
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith (93 points) currently leads the Satellite standings by 23 points from his compatriot Cal Crutchlow (74 points) on the CWM LCR Honda with his teammate Pol Espargaro (73 points) now just one point further back, MotoGP reports.
Last year Smith recorded his best MotoGP result at the circuit by finishing ninth, while Crutchlow was forced to retire on the Factory Ducati and Espargaro crashed out. In 2012 both Crutchlow and Espargaro secured their best results at Brno. Crutchlow finished on the MotoGP™ podium (3rd) on the Tech 3 Yamaha while Espargaro managed to claim third in the Moto2™ race, MotoGP reports.
2015 Czech Republic MotoGP Preview – Open Class
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera who leads the way in the Open Class with 20 points. Forward Racing’s Loris Baz (14 points) remains his closest rival, despite having to miss the Indianapolis GP due to financial problems with his team, although the Frenchman will be back on the grid in Brno.
Brno is the home race of AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham. The Czech rider finished 14th in last years GP, but has been forced to miss the last four races this season after dislocating his toe during practice at the Catalan GP. Toni Elias filled in for Abraham in Indianapolis, but he his hoping to be fit enough to race in front of his home fans.
As for the sole American in MotoGP, Apsar Honda’s Nicky Hayden enters 2015 Czech Republic MotoGP 21st in the standings with eight points.
2015 Czech Republic MotoGP TV Schedule
Fox Sports 1 will provide live broadcast cover of 2015 Czech Republic MotoGP beginning at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, August 16.
Point Standings ahead of the 2015 Czech Republic MotoGP
|16||Loris BAZ||Yamaha Forward||FRA||14|
|19||Stefan BRADL||Yamaha Forward||GER||9|
|24||Mike DI MEGLIO||Ducati||FRA||2|
|25||Alex DE ANGELIS||ART||RSM||1|
2015 Czech Republic MotoGP Preview – Photo Gallery