The MotoGP class return to the second half of the season to back-to-back races; after competing in the Austrian GP less than a week ago, the elite class took to the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic for the eleventh round of the 2016 season.
Not much time for Iannone to celebrate his first ever win
Ducati Team rider Andrea Iannone claimed his first MotoGP win, and Ducati’s first win since Casey Stoner won in 2009 at Phillip Island.
It was triple success for the Ducati Team, Andrea Dovizioso finished second after the Italian manufacturer dominated through testing and the race weekend, and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) finished as the highest placed independent team rider aboard his Ducati in eighth.
Iannone barely had time to celebrate (he still made it to party island Ibiza for a few days) before he was due back in action in Brno. His flying form continued as the riders got out on a track, which is very familiar to them especially compared to the Red Bull Ring, as Iannone became the fastest man during the first Free Practice session of the weekend.
Petrucci penalised after Austrian GP
Now as a result of the incident at the last corner of the Austrian GP between Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (Pull & Bear Aspar MotoGP Team), where Petrucci crashed into Laverty causing the Irishman to come off after a battle for eleventh (Laverty finished last), Petrucci has received a penalty point on his licence and will lose three places on the grid following qualifying on day two. Petrucci was allowed to keep his championship points earned.
Injured Miller unable to ride under team’s instructions
Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda rider Jack Miller will not compete in the eleventh round of the MotoGP. Following an incident during the warm-up before the Austrian GP, which ruled him out of the race, his team have decided that he should not compete as they would rather he be fully fit. Miller suffered a fractured right wrist and T6 vertebra; we hope to see him back at Silverstone.
Asymmetric tyres from Michelin
Riders have been provided with asymmetric tyres by French manufacturer Michelin; the tyres are made up of a harder compound on the right on side of the tyre to accommodate the Autodmotodrom being a predominantly right handed circuit.
The track is said to be well suited to the Yamahas however the Ducati is strong on the straights and the long straight at the end before the finish line could work hugely to their advantage.
Lorenzo the man to beat at Brno
The fastest lap in Brno was set by Lorenzo last year during qualifying; a time of 1:54.989 secured him pole position for the race. The Circuit Record Lap is held by Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) in 2014 of 1:56.027. By the end of Free Practice on day one in 2015 Lorenzo was fastest with a time of 1:56.499.
Barbera makes a great start
Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) was the first to top the leaderboard but was soon knocked off the spot by Redding. Five minutes into the session the rain flag was shown on part of the circuit however this did not stop many of the riders.
Iannone was still flying and Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales was following when the Italian went to the top of the leaderboard again, and Vinales fell in behind him in second.
Redding was the first rider to lap under 1:57 minutes taking half a second off Iannone but then Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, who is celebrating his 20 year anniversary since he won his first race in the world championship series (125cc championship), claimed the top spot for the first time in the session.
Lorenzo first under the 1:56 minute barrier
After 15 minutes, Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha) who seemed to find his form again at the Austrian GP finishing third, was the first to lap in the 1:56 minutes. His next lap would have been under but the Spaniard chose to pit instead. Instead it was down to Rossi to break through the barrier after returning from a pit stop.
Iannone breaks down
Not long after Iannone also returned from the pits his Desmosedici GP stopped forcing the Italian to pull up at the side of the track at turn three. He had to get a lift back to the pits and his bike had to be recovered by the track marshals, who returned his machine via van.
Seventeen minutes of the first session remained and Rossi’s time of 1:56.454 was half a second faster than anyone on track. Along came Iannone to fight back, and despite a poor second sector of his lap, Iannone returned to the top in the final stages. His next lap was almost even faster as he chased Rossi in the closing stages.
Iannone fastest after Free Practice 1
Iannone finished FP1 as the fastest man on track with a time of 1:56.189; ahead of target when comparing the times to those set after Free Practice on day one in 2015. Rossi was second and Lorenzo who won here last year was the third fastest.
Barbera earned his spot as fourth fastest on track as the second fastest Ducati (and top placed independent rider), as Dovizioso finished the session in fifth.
Marquez, who claims the shoulder injury earned during Free Practice should not prohibit him this weekend at Brno, was sixth fastest ahead of Vinales seventh, Redding eighth, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who strong at Brno in ninth, and Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Aleix Espargaro completed the top ten.
Several rides had laps cancelled due to ‘exceeding track limits’ including both Rossi and Marquez.
Conditions improved as riders took to the track for MotoGP FP2
The second session got underway and immediately Rossi claimed the spot at the top of the leaderboard. Again it was short lived as Iannone’s time of 1:56.467 became the time to beat which remained the fastest time until the later stages in the session.
The rain that hinted at falling during their first Free Practice session waited until the Moto2’s first practice session to fall, however the track had dried and conditions became brighter in time for the MotoGP class when they took to the track again.
Unbelievable reactions from Marquez
With just over 35 minutes of the session remaining Marquez made the most amazing save aboard his Honda. As he travelled over the bumps on the approach to the exit at turn 13 , the last corner of the circuit, he crashed… or so he should have done.
The front end had tucked and the bike had started to slide out from underneath the Spaniard, but he clung on and using his left elbow and left knee he managed to push himself back up onto the bike. A slight lift out of the seat and he was back upright and slotted into the pit lane as if nothing had happened!
Redding crashes out
Moments later Redding crashed out at turn 11. The corner is similar to that of turn 13 and again the front tucked under the front of his Ducati, only he was unable to copy Marquez and he crashed out and slid into the gravel. Redding seemed unhurt and his Marshals were able to recover is bike to the side of the track. There he restarted it and decided to ride it back to the pits using the perimeter road.
Personal bests achieved by many riders
The majority of the second Free Practice session was spent by riders improving their own personal best lap times. Dovizioso visited the top of the leaderboard with seven minutes remaining, before Lorenzo came along to set the fastest time. Lorenzo was the first rider to lap under 1:56 minutes with six minutes to go as his teammate Rossi had a personal best lap cancelled a few moments later.
Marquez fastest after day one of Free Practice at Brno
Marquez continued to wrestle his Honda around the Automotodrom Brno and traffic in front of him in the form of Redding did not stop him from setting the first of many fast laps in the final stages.
Marquez finished day one of the Czech GP at the top of the leaderboard with a time of 1:55.840, which was faster than Lorenzo’s 2015 FP3 time, and just under a second slower than the current champion’s 2015 Qualifying time.
Iannone finished second fastest, just 0.104 seconds slower than Marquez. It was his second sector again that let him down, only completing the sector at a personal best pace, that mixed with a personal best third sector meant he could only slot in in second. Lorenzo was third making it three different manufacturers within the top three. The trio were the only rider to lap under 1:56 minutes.
Barbera the fastest independent rider
Barbera’s form continued as his fastest lap in the final stages initially slotted him into third, but he finished day one in fourth position as the fastest independent team rider with a time of 1:56.124, an improvement on his previous fastest time by 0.84 seconds. Barbera again finished as the second placed Diucati as Dovizioso finished in sixth behind Rossi in fifth.
Aleix Espargaro was the faster out of the two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders finished day one in seventh ahead of Bradley Smith (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) and Aleix’s teammate Vinales in ninth. Pedrosa completed the top ten.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) set a personal best in the final stages to take eleventh ahead of Loriz Baz (Avintia Ducati) whose twelfth fastest time was also a PB for the French man. Petrucci finished thirteenth fastest ahead of his teammate Redding in fourteenth and Pol Espargaro (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) completed the top 15.
Laverty looked very happy with his fastest time at the end of the session, but he was pushed down to sixteenth by the end of the session.
He finished ahead of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini boys Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista in seventeenth and eighteenth. Yonny Hernandez (Pull & Bear Aspar Team) finished in nineteenth and rookie Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the field in twentieth position at the end of day one.
Free Practice 3, which determines which riders automatically qualify for Q2 is set to take place at 08:55 GMT and after a final practice session, Qualifying is due to begin from 13:10.
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