Rain is a great leveler, washing away the difference in machines, squeezing the life out of electronics, until all that remains is skill and brains. The Brno GP was a great reminder of this, in all 3 classes, with wildly different results.
Here’s a recap of what went down the beautiful Czech circuit, starting with the big boys.
Brno MotoGP: What the hell just happened!
The rain had stopped after the Moto2 race, the skies were bright and the track was drying. Although there was massive confusion in the paddock about what tires to go for, or what strategy, I was sure the established wet-weather experts would soon filter to the front.
I was wrong.
The first choice was about the tire compound, soft or hard. Soft should help in the start, but will degrade away quickly. Hard will be scary to handle in the beginning, but will go on till the end. Some, like Marquez, went for the soft-soft choice. Others, like Cal, did hard-hard. Many went the middle path, soft front, hard rear, and all that depended on the second choice.
Second choice was about strategy. Since nobody had experience with rain at Brno, it wasn’t clear how quickly the track will dry up. People like Marc gambled with a 1 stop strategy, others like Cal put their money on going all the way.
As with any gamble, some won, some lost. Keep in mind that it’s not just the rider who makes these decisions, he has an entire army at his disposal, crunching numbers, checking facts. The rider’s choice is important, since he’s the one who has the bike underneath him, but the decision is always made with the combined wisdom of a number of people.
The race began typically, with Lorenzo making another one of his insane starts and leading into turn 1. That was the only good thing that happened to him that day though, as he kept dropping like a stone through the field, then bounced back up and did a few fastest laps, destroyed his front tire in doing so, and went into the pits to change bikes. This is where the shit really hit the fan for him.
As Lorenzo pulled into the pits, the part of the tire where the centre part of the rubber had come off was under the tire, touching the ground. His team didn’t understand why he had come in, the tire looked perfect. After some heated arguments, they got the point, by which team Lorenzo had made another gamble, riding out on slicks, inspired by Marc I guess. That didn’t work out at all, and he came back after just 1 lap to take his old bike back, with a new front tire, then do a few fastest laps again, but that didn’t matter anymore, and he finished a lap down.
Marquez again gave us a view of his massive talent, balls and brain. He pushed hard at the start and kept up with the lead group. Even in doing so, he took care of his tires, unlike the Ducati pair. When it became clear that stopping for bike change wasn’t an option anymore, he kept pushing on the softs, and finished a remarkable 3rd.
The Ducati boys didn’t fare so well, especially Dovi. After leading the race at one point, he faced major tire problems, which forced him to pit. It was Dovi who in the morning warm-up had claimed that the softs were completely new after 9 laps. His front was destroyed after 10 in the race. The wings, which have helped make the red bikes so competitive, seemed to be the reason for the front annihilation.
His pit stop was quite animated too, and didn’t result in anything useful. His teammate on the other hand, gave us another view of why he’s called The Maniac. With a front tire that wasn’t even a tire anymore, he finished the race, deciding to push till the end rather than lose time in the pits.
Rossi did a very intelligent race, staying calm in the beginning when he got pushed beyond the top ten, and then slowly crawling his way back, all the while nursing that front soft. I liked the fact that he was man enough to call himself “not as brave as Cal” after the race, even if the Brit indirectly called him a wimp.
As far as Crutchlow, what a cocky dude! I wish he wins more often, just to hear what he has to say, to get a glimpse inside that head of his. He took the gamble, made no mistakes, and kept his cool to pick up his first MotoGP win. To read some really interesting insights into his life, read this article.
One guy who would’ve been bitterly disappointed is Jack Miller, who still hasn’t recovered from his massive crash, he’s quite a bit of fun in such races. Get well soon Jackass.
Here’s what the championship looks like now.
Brno Moto2: The F1 of motorcycle racing?
Na, I’m just shitting you. Even if the Moto2 riders all dress up in little pink frocks and chase ducks all around the track while giggling like little school girls, it’d still be better than F1. Things, however, have been rather boring in this class of late, because more often than not, one of two things happens.
Either Zarco wins, or he doesn’t. When he does, he does it with such mind-shattering power that it’s hard to watch. When he doesn’t, nothing much happens. Rather than me twaddling about what happened and why, here’s David Emmett and his words about the race.
The championship looks like this now.
Brno Moto3: A beautiful race till the end
I don’t understand why people are angry with Binder. He was racing, he crashed, what’s the big deal? Sure he was at the front and didn’t need to push so hard, but what’s the fucking point of this entire charade if you aren’t taking a risk?
Think about it this way, he already has a hand and a leg on the trophy, his nearest competitors aren’t doing jack shit, what better time is there to have some fun? Next year he’ll be off to Moto2, the stakes will be higher, so will be the pressure. You really think he’ll be able to give up on race wins then?
Racing is all about the excitement, the all-or-nothing attitude. If he’d won, we’d all have clawed our faces out with happiness.
Having said that, John McPhee deserved that win, for that absolutely ginormous high-side save, if not for everything else. I don’t really care if he’s the first British/Scottish winner in whatever number of years though, who gives a shit?
The biggest loser in the race for sure was Pawi, maybe he got bogged down under the mountain of expectations after winning 2 wet races? The fact here is that he had massive moments in those races as well, the only difference this time was that he wasn’t able to handle one.
Jorge Martin picked up second place for an all Mahindra 1-2. McPhee rides for Peugeot, which is owned by Mahindra. I tweeted to Anand Mahindra, but he hasn’t replied yet.
Giannantonio got 3rd, and ran a very intelligent race. After finding himself way down the order, he latched onto Pawi to push him close to the lead group. Once Pawi was out, he kept his pace and waited for others to crash out, which they did, and handed him the podium spot.
The only guy who could do something about Binder’s massive lead finished in 10th place. Bagnaia crashed out, and Fenati is out of the championship, so it looks like a solid championship for Binder, even with that DNF.
Here’s what the championship stands at.