“It’s a whole new Championship.”

Hey everyone, Dre here once again and after the drama of Indianapolis, we had a bit more of a subdued experience of the back-to-back weekend in Brno. It was still interesting though, as Jorge Lorenzo decided to push the reset button and eradicated Valentino Rossi’s Championship lead, as he dominated in Brno to take his 5th win of the season, ahead of Marc Marquez. Also, Johann Zarco turned the screw even further in the hunt for his first Championship, with a breakout performance from Alex Marquez, and Niccolo Antonelli finally broke the glass ceiling and took his first Moto3 win, as Danny Kent sweats over his future, AND his Championship-elect. Here’s my look, at what I made of Brno.


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The Reset Button

Jorge Lorenzo, did what Jorge Lorenzo does. Qualify on front row, take holeshot, dictate race, win. I suspect the race came down to tyre choice, with Lorenzo’s med/med combination coming through nicely, but given that Lorenzo’s been “the guy” through every session, including shattering the Lap Record (The first ever 114 second lap of Brno on 2 wheels), he was always favoured and he showed it in the race, his first Brno win since 2010. Marquez kept up for a little while, before seeing the bigger picture and realizing that with Rossi 3rd, he still gains on the Yamaha’s overall, so take the easy 2nd and try again at Silverstone. Given Marquez’s slim Championship chances, he can’t afford to be taking risks at the point in time.

Valentino Rossi had a clutch qualifying performance, nailing a front row start, but lost ground in the early going, and once again, took far too long to get into open air, and by that point, Rossi’s odds were dead in the water. Again, it could have come down to tyre choice, as Rossi went with a hard/hard combination, but at no point to me, did it look like he could win. His podium spot was at risk too, if it weren’t for Andrea Iannone having unknown engine issues.

A critical error from Valentino and a failure to capitalize on the one disadvantage of his season. With Rossi out of the Championship lead for the first, and Lorenzo seeking blood as it’s his first Championship lead in TWO AND A HALF YEARS, it’s an entirely different Championship now. Rossi vs Lorenzo over 7 races, who will prevail? For me, 46 needs more wins. Podiums don’t mean anything if the guy on the other side of the garage can win any given race on paper. And what breaks a tie? Countback. Remember that, it may become important later. And if you haven’t been keeping score, it’s Rossi 3, Lorenzo 5.

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The Bravery Of 26

Scary to think that Pedrosa’s last win was this very grand prix a year ago. And I’ve been as critical of Pedrosa as anyone in recent times, but this was a superhuman performance from Dani. After a suspected coolant leak in Free Practise 1, the bike fell on Pedrosa’s reconstructed foot. Doubly worse, it was the right foot that he changed gear with. Luckily, it was just a heavy contusion and nothing was broken, but he was still in an immense pain throughout the weekend, and was questionable to race.

 

Despite qualifying in 9th place, he climbed up the field and eventually finished 4th, splitting the factory Ducati’s in what can only be described as superhuman. Brno’s GP consisted of over 700 gear changes on that foot, and was over 40 minutes long. A truly brave and incredible performance from Dani Pedrosa, the ultimate company guy.

I just don’t understand how one rider can be so unlucky, it’s the story of the man’s career. His determination and performances after a career-threatening arm pump surgery have been incredible. May have to set up a kickstarter so he can have a night with his fangirls as a form of compensation.

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Welcome to Moto2, Alex Marquez

Well, it’s all looking kinda omnious at the summit of Moto2, as Johann Zarco rather comfortably took his 4th win of the season in a race he controlled from start to finish. Tito Rabat tried to keep up, but burnt his tyres out in the process, and nearly let Alex Rins snatch 2nd off him at the line. But what particularly impressed me, was the performance of 19 year old Alex Marquez in 4th.

Much has been made by the comparisons between Rins and Marquez, the Moto3 former teammates and rivals, and how Alex Rins has seemed to adapt to the Moto2 class quicker than Baby Alien, Jr. This was the performance that Marquez needed. He climbed up from 9th on the grid and was comfortable in dealing with much more experienced riders like Dommy Aegerter, Thomas Luthi and Frankie Morbidelli.

I can only hope Alex kicks on from here, he’s a marketers wet dream given his MM93 brotherhood, and it looks like he’s finally getting the hang of his Kalex. Trust me, this season needs it, especially now Zarco has 3 races in his pocket, with a 79 point championship lead, after his TENTH consecutive podium. Valentino, who?

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Niccolo! At Last!

I was wondering if this day would ever come, given how fast the kid’s been on occasions, but finally, Niccolo Antonelli got his first Moto3 win, in a shortened 12 lap race after a nasty first lap, two four bike incidents on Turns 1 and 3, one of which knocked out Gabriel Rodrigo. Luckily, he’s perfectly okay. Niccolo hadn’t even gotten his first podium yet, so he decided to take it up a couple of notches.

But in the restart, it was an 11-bike leading pack once again, Brno being the kind of track where it’s near impossible to gain any sort of advantage, and it was yet another classic Moto3 scrap. Niccolo though, broke free on the final lap and despite a hard charge at the end, he held of Enea Bastianini for 2nd. Keeping score at home? That makes it the 6th time Enea’s finished a Moto3 race in 2nd. As my Bike Live co-host Louis Suddaby once said – “He should change his nickname from The Beast to The Bridesmaid”. Still great performance from the 17 year old Italian, who’s now cut Danny Kent’s lead down to 45 points after he struggled to 7th. Is this Championship back on? All of a sudden, the home race of 52 at Silverstone in 12 days time seems to be more of a flashpoint, then a Champions’ coronation. No pressure.

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My Patience With BT is wearing thin

Many of you have called me out before in terms of hypocrisy when it comes to biased coverage on Sky Sports F1, to which my response was always: “Well, BT Sport are unashamedly biased, and I kinda respect them for that”. Yeah, I was wrong, I’m an idiot. This is starting to get really cringe. Less than 2 minutes after Niccolo’s win in Moto3, they immediately start talking about Danny Kent’s grittiness in 7th, and making excuses for him after not having a fresh