2018 Brno MotoGP Race Result: More War Than Peace

There were whisperings of rain around the premier class race but no liquid was to be seen until the usual suspects poured cava over the gathered crowd. And Andrea Dovizioso had the most reason to celebrate as the Italian took a tense victory on his 100th race for the Borgo Panigale squad. Jorge Lorenzo did his best to interfere but eventually settled for second, while resisting Marc Marquez’s attacks. The reigning world champion celebrated his 100th start in the class with a third place, ensuring that another couple of precious points went towards this year’s tally.

Poleman Dovizioso did not get to enjoy clear air for long at the start as Valentino Rossi made it first into turn one and the two compatriots continued to trade blows at the front for the first few laps as Lorenzo was harassing Marquez right behind. The Spaniards swapped places by lap two but they lost nearly half a second in the process.

Dovizioso was back in front by lap three and Rossi halted his charge but the challengers were getting nearer. Marquez bided his time to attack Lorenzo, with Danilo Petrucci two tenths back. The rest of the pack was led by Cal Crutchlow, who brought Johann Zarco, Alex Rins, Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa to the party, although they didn’t stick around for long.

On lap five, Marquez pounced on Lorenzo and the pace was slowly starting to heat up after a sluggish – well, considering predicted race pace – start. Besides Tito Rabat, who was hunting down the top ten, the main pack didn’t look to be in much of a hurry to dip into the 1:56s and settled for their positions, playing the waiting game. Lorenzo had a few nibbles at Marquez and made it stick on lap eight, which seemed to encourage Rossi to retake the lead into turn five later that lap.

Marquez fought back one lap later to avoid losing sight of the two Italians ahead and Lorenzo was left into the clutches of another Honda, this time Crutchlow. The LCR man could not attack straight away but he did it on lap ten, allowing the lead trio a gap of half a second. Meanwhile, Marquez was showing intentions with Dovizioso so the Ducati man kicked into gear and nudged his way past Rossi, with Marquez helping himself through soon after. The three main contenders kept within a tenth of each other, with Crutchlow looking threatening behind and with Lorenzo and Petrucci the only men who managed to hang on to the lead group. Zarco was a second down the road, chased by the Suzukis and Pedrosa.

Crutchlow made his move on Rossi in turn 12 with 10 laps to go but the rest of the group kept nerve-rackingly close to each other without showing any intentions and saving their tyres. Lorenzo was the first to show his hand and got past Rossi for fourth position by throwing a red sector time in play. Despite that slight achievement, Lorenzo had half a second to recover on Dovizioso, Marquez and Crutchlow, who were still lingering in the 1:57s. It didn’t take the Spaniard long to join the podium battle but Rossi was not really letting go either. Petrucci was still close to the lead group but not within striking distance.

After holding station for a handful of laps, Crutchlow lost his chance at attacking the leaders with five laps to go, when Lorenzo got revenge to snatch third position away. While the Spaniard went in pursuit of his current and future teammate, the LCR man was being reeled in by Rossi.

It all came down to a four lap shootout as Dovizioso, Marquez and Lorenzo all dipped into the 1:56s. Lorenzo messed with Marquez’s plans as he overtook his rival with three laps left and bravely attempted to get past Dovizioso in the same move. A bit ambitious as Dovizioso cut back in time to keep the lead but a war was declared at Ducati, with Marquez a silent observer as Crutchlow and Rossi fell over a second back.

Dovizioso kept leaving doors open for Lorenzo but undercutting him time and time again in a frustrating game of cat and mouse. The Italian led the way going into the final lap but Marquez was silent no longer and attacked Lorenzo a couple of times, although the Ducati man had no problem to scrap paint with the Honda. Lorenzo bagged fastest lap in the process but had to settle for second over the line, with Marquez showing restraint to score a precious podium.

Rossi had one last attack in him and overtook Crutchlow at the line to grab fourth, pushing his career points tally over the 6000 mark. Petrucci had a lonely race in sixth, with Zarco best of the rest two seconds behind. Pedrosa left it late to get past the Suzukis to grab eighth, taking Alvaro Bautista with him into ninth. Iannone led Rins over the line in the battle for tenth, with Franco Morbidelli top rookie in 13th place.

The podium aids Marquez’s championship charge by three points, Rossi now 49 points back. Dovizioso climbs into third in the standings, courtesy of his win but 68 points down on Marquez. Viñales loses touch further after he got taken out in an incident in turn three on the first lap and ruined his impressive run of point-scoring races. He now sits 72 points back on the leader, four points ahead of Lorenzo.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 41'07.728
2 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati +0.178
3 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +0.368
4 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +2.902
5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +2.958
6 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +3.768
7 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +6.159
8 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +7.479
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +7.575
10 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +8.326
11 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +8.653
12 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +16.549
13 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda +19.603
14 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha +21.381
15 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +23.159
16 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda +27.673
17 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +28.311
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +41.172
19 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI Suzuki +42.411
20 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati +50.941
    Not Classified    
  53 Tito RABAT Ducati 13 Laps
  45 Scott REDDING Aprilia 16 Laps
  38 Bradley SMITH KTM 20 Laps
    Not Finished 1st Lap    
  25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 0 Lap
  6 Stefan BRADL Honda 0 Lap
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Round Number: 
10
2018
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Total votes: 25

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Comments

... from Dovi, it looks like he's regained his mental fortitude again, and winning at a track that's been anything but kind to Ducati speaks volumes about their progression.

And can we all just agree that the Yamaha is now, officially a 2nd class MotoGP bike? The M1 appears to have absolutely zero advantage on its competition now, including mid-corner speed, as Jorge convincingly demonstrated on the GP18.

Total votes: 37

It's the Yamaha of the pre-Rossi era.  Absolutely no innovation, no investment, and no significant increase in budget; they're just resting on their laurels and marketing with 46.  

Truthfully they need to get off their @ss.

Total votes: 45

Of this review! I read it a few times and concluded Zara must be the new Agatha Christie!

Thank you for being this precise and delightful writing this review!

Total votes: 94

That was a great spectacle to kick off the second half of the season. It was clearly a game of chess in the early to mid stages and evolved into full blown hammer and tongs the last 3 laps betwixt the last 3 protagonists for top step. Lorenzo was butter and hammer in one race and great to behold. Marc was his usual top eliminator self yet keeping himself in the title zone race mode. Dovi had it figured 99% of the time. From where I was sitting, that was one of the most comprehensive wins I've seen by virtue of demonic late braking pinpoint accuracy lap after lap by Dovi right to the end. His ability on the brakes is phenomenal and always was. Vale did a very smart race with what he had. Cal and Petrux likewise. Yamaha are in a spot of bother by all accounts evidenced. They have a maverick and a master past his prime and little else to work with. Zarco did a very good race as did Dani Pedrosa. I for one figure Dani is conserving whats left of his body, whilst doing a solid job for HRC and Zarco probably has a 3/4 focus on KTM for next year and why not? Its not like Yamaha are going to involve Zarco in anything factory for the rest of season. Anyway. Great and memorable race especially if you like team red. Theirin lies something. Team red = Marlboro Ducati, Big Bad Red has always been synonomous HRC. Looks like catch up for the rest circa 2018.

Total votes: 26

with the master past his prime comment. If you ask me he is a better rider than he was last year. He was a better rider last year than he was the year before. Meaning he is evolving. No way past his prime. He keeps moving the bar. Sure the younger ones are moving the bar even faster however the Yamaha has not made much of a progress at all. To me as an armchair pundit it seems like this is what can be best achieved given the current situation of the bike. He was what only 2.9 sec away from the win if I remember correctly at Brno? 

Total votes: 24

It's a long time since I saw such a slow paced race like this, such was the concern that all the riders had about tyre deterioration.

Dovi had it sewn up after taking the lead and you could tell he had the wherewithal to see off any last gasp attempts. And that's exactly what he did. Was surprised that Lorenzo made that final push. I thought it would be Cal on the podium. He said a carbon swingarm may have helped...

Marquez' only worry is how he is going to celebrate his championship.

And Maverick, well he has all sorts of problems to resolve. Although they pale when you look at Yamaha's.

Yamaha's problems are essentially insurmountable in this season. First we thought it was electronics but turns out the engine characteristic is the culprit. I'm not surpried it wasn't identified in testing because everybody was so focused on trying to fix the shortcomings of the 2017 chassis. This is the situation Honda were in in 2015 while Yamaha took championship and runner up spot. Looks like they're on the case, with new satellite and test team structure. Who knows, they could join the real world and have decent European riders like Smith and Folger actually testing at the machines limits on European tracks. In the meantime its sticking plasters and losing face as their riders see podiums as success rather than wins. And Rossi will spend the rest of the season watching as Dovi or Lorenzo get closer and closer.

Total votes: 24

Or who do you think HRC would have hired if there were no Márquez? Do you mean just for 2018 or maybe no Márques since ever? Maybe Zarco would be on that Honda. 

What if Dovi didn't have 3 DNF too, from the lead or podium? Wouldn't that be a more likely scenario than MM's non-existance? :-D How rightfully would be the title lead then, if any?

Total votes: 30

A strategic race that, thank god, became all out rage race in the final laps. Very enjoyable. I must say that for moment I was not sure about what I saw... when was the last time Lorenzo was so aggressive?  Never? I was so impressed. I had put my money on Marquez and I was wrong.

If the two ducatis can keep it on and not strike one another we are in a for a great second half...

Can someone explain to me how it is possible to say "I used my head and settled for third" and at the same time set your personal best lap? (Second best race lap overall). Nah... I don't buy it. He tried, gave everything but there were 2 faster riders in front... there is no shame in admitting it.

Gutted for Yamaha.... So frustrating. And hopeless.

 

 

Total votes: 39

Gave his all, he looked buggered for once, and angry but rode incredible like the other two.

Total votes: 11

If Crutchlow didn’t fall off so much it could very easily be a Honda 1-2 in the championship. 

The ability to win is dependant on that last tiny (seemingly insignificant if Lorenzo hadn’t proven himself right) detail. You can visibly see on track that the Yamaha is missing that last bit and I don’t think the blame can be put on Rossi. The Yamaha rider’s championship position is a result of determination and big mistakes of others. 

Ducati riders have two wins apiece plus other podiums. Rossi has a 2nd and a few 3rds. That says a lot on its own. You can’t analyse something by using a logic that ignores a lot of information. 

I don’t think the Yamaha is bad. It is missing the last piece. If they find it today we’ll have four way fights at the end of every race. 

Total votes: 19

Mechanically good, less "aggressive" in the electronics department.  Unfortunately for Yamaha, electronics development is not something you just find but something you develop over time.  I'm pretty convinced (and massively uninformed, which is what makes speculating fun) that the Honda and Ducati guys are using the IMU's processor to tune the inputs to the spec. ECU so that it behaves a certain way that isn't possible by just taking the IMU output and feeding it into the ECU, kind of a spoofing strategy.

If the key issue is really acceleration and tire wear, then we're talking about the instantaneous torque delivered to the ground.  The amount the tire can take, and then the product of the lean angle, slip, gear, engine RPM, wheelie, fueling and timing and probably some other stuff including suspension issues and then the rates of change of some of those variables also.  Now suppose I have a totally unconstrained ECU - it'll behave a certain way and ultimately decide "the engine should be putting out 35 ft. lbs." or Newtons or flibberty gibbets or whatever they use in Europe, and adjust accordingly.

But we have a constrained ECU, so if you just feed it the IMU output (acceleration and gyro measurements) then it'll give the "wrong" answer sometimes.  At the end of the day, though, its outputs can only be to tell the engine to put out some amount of torque between some negative value (engine braking) and some positive value probably around 100 ft. lbs. or so at torque peak and maybe 80 or so at HP peak. (19K RPM / 5252 x 80 ~ 290HP).  But also suppose I have an unconstrained IMU, AND through testing I know what my unconstrained ECU was "supposed" to do.  Then I can create a mapping at the factory, and I can "lie" to the ECU to get the answer I want.

Like all regulation, this makes getting good performance more expensive because I need to run the unconstrained and the constrained in my factory to create a good mapping - but I'd imagine that I could get pretty good results.

Speculation, but fun speculation.  And not that tricky.  Embarrassing that Yamaha didn't go after this, really.  I'll bet Furosawa would have seen it immediately in winter testing.

Total votes: 12

A lot of folk were convinced VR was washed up during his Ducati days because his bike wasn't performing as everyone had expected. Both years at Ducati he was highest performing on the brand. As soon as he returned to Yamaha he began to win again. In 2015 he won four races and many podiums and nearly won the championship. That proved his competiveness required at least a capable bike. Both VR and MV were dominating first part of the season last year until Yamaha lost their way and Honda and Ducati got their act together. I find it hard to believe both riders have suddenly lost their abilities and no longer capable of fighting for wins. Ergo the M1 needs 'that extra last step'.

Total votes: 20

Revisited. Vale is as comitted and tallented and cunning as he ever was. His physical capacity is not what it was 10 years back. The Vale of Laguna Seca 2008 is history. Fast forward to 2018 Brno and apply the same logic. The 2008 LS Rossi in his prime would have wrung their collective necks, forced them into combat with little rubber to manage in the early stages of the race and utilised his immense skill and aggresion to neutralise the rest to the flag, just like he did 2001 through 2009. Not now. Content to follow Dovi and put on a crowd pleasing pass now and again, fade to a well contested fourth. Sure, he deserves to be Yamaha factory #1 2018 for a multitude of sound reasons. Thing is and always will be. Who the hell would want to be his team mate as the whole team revolves around #46 and the cash he brings to the team. Maverick is finding out as did Jorge. Yamaha is basically sitting in the same situation HRC sat in in 2003. Team Rossi. Vale ditched HRC and spectacularly rubbed HRC's noses in it come 2004 with Yamaha. Vale is such a powerfull force within Yamaha until end 2020, I don't see how they can extricate themselves from the situation they are in. Rossi will call the shots within Yamaha and with his title chase lead over Maverick circa 2018, Maverick will have to eat the crumbs Yamaha give him from hereon in. Rossi always subscribed to the basic rule of beat your team mate. Something he has done with aplomb over the years. Vale wrote a new rule when he left Yamaha for Ducati....Bend the team to your will and own them. Vale was always ruthless on track, but showed physical age catching up with him at a rate orf knots in Brno 2018. Rear tire, electronics, plastic crankshaft, my wife needs to work harder, Michelin rear...Michelin. Hell ! He even got Casey'S Bridgestone's in 2008 while Jorge had to remain on his Michelin's. Maybe Yamaha can't see it but I can. Vale is past his prime on track and compromising the team efforts in favour of himself. No doubt he is one of greatest ever across all classes but I doubt he is more of an asset to Yamaha technically right now than Capirex was to Ducati in 2007.

Total votes: 7

One glaring difference between Rossi/Honda 2003 and Rossi/Yamaha 2018 is the factories’ approach to development. Honda had a 20-something Rossi, fresh off back-to-back titles and the odds-on favorite for more. Yamaha has a nearly 40-something Rossi, almost a full decade removed from his last title win and notching 2+ wins only once over that span. I’m sure they value his feedback as ever, but I must optimistically think Yamaha aren’t chasing a “Rossi bike” these days, to the exclusion of longer-term thinking. 

Total votes: 5