MotoGP is back! Brno beckons MotoGP this weekend

2019 MotoGP – Round 10 – Brno

Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) is in good shape heading into the second half of 2019. The reigning Champion has a 58-points lead, he’s won more than half the races so far, and there’s been little sign of many chinks in his armour since his crash out the lead at the Circuit of the Americas.

Marc Marquez

“I am very excited to get back on the bike. Summer break is always nice to relax a little bit, but soon you miss the team and the bike! I am ready to get back to work and Brno is a fun circuit to ride. We finished the first half of the season in a very strong way and now we must keep our focus to continue this. Brno is a circuit where lots of riders are often strong so we can’t take anything for granted. I hope Jorge’s recovery is going well and we will soon have him back in the team.”

MotoGP Rnd Sachsenring Germany Marquez Podium
Sachsenring Round 9 – MotoGP 2019

But this is MotoGP and the course of racing rarely did run smooth, with Brno next up – the circuit that ended his omnipotent run in 2014 – and there is still a maximum of 250-points up for grabs in the remaining ten races. Can his rivals reset, bounce back and start taking the fight to the number 93?

His closest challenger remains Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), despite a couple of more difficult races for the Italian, and the good news for him is that he won in the Czech Republic last year, in some style.

MotoGP Brno Rnd Michelin Podium Dovi Lorenzo Marquez
MotoGP 2018 – Round 10 – Brno – MotoGP Results
1 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 25 Ducati Team Ducati 41’07.728
2 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 20 Ducati Team Ducati 0.178
3 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 16 Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.368

So it’s a good track to begin his assault on the second half of the season, with confidence and good memories nothing to be sniffed at when glory and defeat can be thousandths apart.

But Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci is now pretty hot on his heels, only six points back, and he could complicate life for the now two-time runner up in the Championship. And ‘Petrux’ knows the bike he’s now on took a 1-2 at Brno last year. Will it repeat the feat in 2019? And if so, in which order?

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), meanwhile, is the man looking for a little more redemption. After two DNFs in a row, both from near the front, the Suzuki man went into summer on the back foot despite having some serious speed at both races. He’s now 84-points off Marquez and fourth in the Championship, but the upside is Rins now races with much less pressure. He’ll simply want to win and win as much as possible in the remaining ten rounds. He’s already taken a MotoGP victory, so why not again?

MotoGP Rnd Jerez Rins GP AN
Alex Rins was victorious at Jerez

That’s also true of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and nine-time World Champion teammate Valentino Rossi, although they arrive the second half of 2019 with very different recent runs of form. Viñales opened his victory account for the year at Assen and then followed it up with a podium, heading into summer looking like a serious threat. Can he start back up where he left off? If yes, it’ll be the first time he’s taken three premier class podiums in a row.

MotoGP Rnd Sachsenring Germany Maverick Vinales
Sachsenring Round 9 – MotoGP 2019 – Maverick Vinales

For Rossi, it’s the opposite – with three DNFs prefacing an eighth place in Germany, the ‘Doctor’ needs to bounce back and turn it around. But his CV at Brno is a good one, with a win in every category he’s raced there – including five in the premier class. After such a stellar start to the season, can Rossi come back out swinging for round two?

Valentino Rossi took his first ever victory at Brno in 1996
Brno was the scene of Valentino Rossi’s first ever victory, back in 1996

Then there’s the fight for top Independent Team rider. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) currently leads it by virtue of consistency and that impressive podium earlier in the year, but he’s only three-points ahead of rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT).

MotoGP Rnd LeMans QP Miller
Jack Miller – Le Mans 2019

Quartararo is another looking to bounce back at Brno but only from one mistake in Germany – incredibly, his first DNF caused by a crash – and if his form so far in 2019 hasn’t been quite ominous enough, he’ll now be much more recovered from the arm pump surgery that nevertheless didn’t hold him back from the podium. At full power, Quartararo will doubtless be bothering the field for more than the accolade of top Independent Team rider or Rookie of the Year. Brno, beware.

Fabio Quartararo

“Brno is a track I really like, because it’s fast, it has fun uphill changes of direction, and not so many straights. I’ve been able to have some rest over the break to help to heal my arm and shoulder, and I’ve also been training hard ready for the rest of the season. My arm and shoulder feels good now, and I’ve been doing some motocross to confirm it. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it’ll be during a race weekend again. My expectation will be the same as in the past few races, inside the top eight. We also know that we can be really fast in qualifying, so we can expect even better from that.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Fabio Quartararo ParcFerme
Fabio Quartararo

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), however, will want to be one of those making that as difficult as possible. The Brit is equal on points with Quartararo and his unforgettable first win came at Brno in 2016 as Crutchlow was impeccable in difficult conditions – so he’s another for whom the Czech venue holds good memories. He also took his second podium of the season in Germany despite recovering from a cycling mishap and is another who will be in much better shape heading into the second half. A podium contender? Don’t doubt it.

MotoGP Rnd Sachsenring Germany Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow – Sachsenring Round 9 – MotoGP 2019

The fight throughout the top ten has been tight this year and the likes of Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will all be gunning to remain key presences in the battle, with all having taken some top finishes in 2019 so far.

And what of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and teammate Andrea Iannone? And they’ll also have someone else to contend with: Stefan Bradl, Honda test rider, who replaces the absent and recovering Jorge Lorenzo at the Repsol Honda Team. The German has put in some solid rides and could cause the odd headache in the fight for Q2 and good points.

Red Bull KTM Tech3 with Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin are eager to restart the season and can’t wait to develop the new project further in the latter half of season 2019.

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“With the Czech Grand Prix coming up, we at Red Bull KTM Tech3 are ready to open the second chapter of the 2019 MotoGP season. I believe and I have checked with our riders and our staff, that everybody seems to feel well rested and has made a very good use of this summer break. If we restart on the level we were in Germany, where Miguel was very strong – although he had unfortunate crash at start – I believe we can be quite competitive. I also know that KTM did some tests with test team and hopefully we could have an even more competitive bike. These two GPs back to back in Czech Republic and of course more important for us the Austrian GP, plus the test on Monday in Brno are a busy, but important moment of the season. We are really eager and impatient to arrive there! Brno is a great circuit and has a nice layout, fitting well to riders and machines. Although the break was more than welcome after Germany and a tough first part of the year, we are ready to come back and see our level compared to the rest of the field. We want to give the best possibilities to Miguel and also Hafizh, who at the moment has an uncertain future due to the official announcement that we will have Brad Binder with us next year. We just can’t wait to be reunited all together at Tech3, chat about our summer break and focus on the restart of the very important second part of the 2019 season.”

MotoGP Rnd Assen Race Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

As we head for Brno for the 50th time, we’re back in business for 2019, with ten races remaining and 250 points on the table. Healed, reset and fired up to go racing again, the field is deep and gunning for glory…with everything far from decided. Another twist could be just around the corner….


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