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Aug 12, 2014 - 06:41 PM
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Preview Czech Grand Prix, Brno
Posted by: newsla on Aug 12, 2014 - 06:40 PM
MotoGP
Preview Czech Grand Prix, Brno


CAN HONDA’S MARQUEZ MAKE IT 11 WINS IN A ROW?

There’s no rest for MotoGP this week as World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) and his rivals arrive in the Czech Republic direct from last weekend’s Indianapolis round in Indiana, USA.

 

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At Indy Marquez continued his amazing run of successes by scoring his tenth win from the first ten races of 2014. That unbeaten run equalled the feat of Mick Doohan who scored ten consecutive premier-class wins in 1997, also on a Repsol Honda. But Marquez still has some way to go if he is to set up the longest winning streak in racing history. During the 1960s John Surtees took 11 successive wins, Mike Hailwood took 12 and Giacomo Agostini took 20; all of these streaks achieved on MV Agusta machines, at the time the only fully competitive bikes on the grid.

So if Marquez wins again on Sunday his current form will be unique in modern motorcycling. The omens are certainly promising at Brno – a big, sweeping racetrack outside the Czech Republic’s second city. The 21-year-old former Moto2 and 125 World Champion has won his last two races at the circuit, in MotoGP last August and in Moto2 the previous summer, on his way to the 2012 Moto2 title.

Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) currently holds second place in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship and he also has a good record at Brno. Two years ago he won a thrilling last-lap duel with Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) to take his first MotoGP success at the track to add to a 250 GP win in 2005 and a 125 GP win in 2003. Last year the former 250 and 125 World Champion finished second, just three tenths of a second behind Marquez, and he will be aiming for a return to the podium on Sunday after riding to fourth at Indianapolis.

Honda’s other two RC213V riders – Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) and Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) – will be anxious to score points this weekend after failing to make the finish at Indy. Both men crashed out, Bautista at the fourth corner after being sideswiped by a rival; Bradl some laps later after he collided with Aleix Espargaro at high speed. Luckily neither rider was hurt and both should be back on top form at Brno.

MotoGP rookie Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) continues to impress and will be aiming to build on his excellent weekend at Indy, where he finished top ‘Open’ rider for the first time. The Briton has shown impressive speed aboard his production RCV1000R, all the while learning more and more during his apprentice season in the class of kings.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) has been boosted by his tenth-place finish at Indy, his first top-ten result since April’s Argentine GP. The former 250 World Champion enjoys Brno – he has podium form at the track from his 250 days – and will be aiming to put his circuit knowledge to good use on this occasion.

This is the biggest weekend of the year for Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R), the only Czech rider on the MotoGP grid. Racers always want to do well at their home race but it doesn’t always work out like that. Abraham has had up-and-down times on home tarmac and so he will try to treat this event like any other Grand Prix, in an effort to deal with the extra pressure of performing in front of his home crowd. Abraham has scored one MotoGP top-ten at Brno – he finished ninth in 2012 – and his best hope for this weekend is another top-ten result.

Leon Camier (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) gets a second chance to show MotoGP what he can do after the Briton impressed during Indy practice and qualifying, while deputising for former World Champion Nicky Hayden who is currently recovering from further surgery to fix a troublesome wrist injury. A technical glitch ruled the former British Superbike Champion out of his MotoGP debut race at Indy, so he certainly deserves a good weekend at Brno, which he already knows from his outings in the FIM Superbike World Championship.

A dominant victory from Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) at Indy has intensified the title battle in the Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship. Series leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) could only manage fourth last Sunday, which brings the team-mates to Brno separated by just seven points

Rabat won four of the first seven races but he’s had a more difficult time of late, finishing off the podium at the last three events. Kallio, on the other hand, has been on the podium at the last three races to close the points gap. The Finn’s Indy win was his first since his May double at the Spanish and French GPs.

Although the Marc VDS men are the main protagonists in the Moto2 title contest, Maverick Vinales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40, Kalex) is still within striking distance of the pair, 36 points behind Kallio. The reigning Moto3 champ and Moto2 rookie finished a close second to Kallio at Indy and is confident going into Brno, where last year he stood on the Moto3 podium after losing out to winner and current ream-mate Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP 40, Kalex) by just half a second.

Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter) won his first Grand Prix victory at last month’s German GP – before the sport’s summer break – and backed that up with a hard-fought third place at Indianapolis, just behind Vinales and just ahead of Rabat. The spectacular Swiss rider will no doubt be back in the thick of the action this weekend.

Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250RW) scored the first Grand Prix win of his career in last Sunday’s Moto3 race and the Spaniard would like nothing more than to make it two in a row this weekend. Vazquez’s thrilling ride, which had him pass Romano Fenati (KTM) on the run to the line thanks to superior machine speed, moved him into second in the World Championship, within striking distance of Jack Miller (KTM).

Team-mates Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) were in the fight for more success in the US but lost out in the usual final-lap skirmish to finish sixth and fifth, albeit only a second behind winner Vazquez. Both men know they will once again be in with a chance of victory at Brno and they need good points hauls if they are to maintain their title challenges.

Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) is on great form at the moment, finishing in the top four at the last three races, including an excellent third place in Germany. The Frenchman has shown that he has the pace to run at the front and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t soon collect his first Grand Prix victory, if things go his way.

Brno is a masterpiece of a motorcycle racing circuit. Constructed in the mid-1980s, it features a mighty mix of fast sweepers and undulating corners that test rider talent and engineering to the limit. Most riders love the place because it’s challenging and also because it’s very fast.

The track’s most significant characteristic is its constant changes of elevation – the circuit weaves its way across forested hillsides – which means that many of the turns are steeply cambered. Dealing with negative camber corners requires a perfectly set-up machine and excellent riding talent. Horsepower is also a major consideration at Brno because this is one of the few racetracks where MotoGP bikes can really get moving.

The circuit was built to replace Brno’s treacherous street circuit that had hosted GPs since the mid-1960s; you still pass the old pit complex on the way from the city centre to the current venue.

Honda has experienced success with all kinds of premier-class machinery at Brno, from its RC181 four-stroke to the NSR500 two-stroke and its four-stroke RCV MotoGP bikes. Mike Hailwood won the 1966 and 1967 Czech GPs around the old street circuit. Since the new circuit hosted its first GP in 1987, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Max Biaggi, Alex Criville, Tadayuki Okada, Sete Gibernau, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Pedrosa and Marquez have also won for Honda at Brno.

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda, says:
“We’ve not really stopped! After the race on Sunday we had a nice dinner with the team and then yesterday we were travelling all day to Europe. Brno isn’t one of my favourite tracks but I’ve had quite good results there in the past. We tested there a month ago and even if the grip was very low at the time, I hope some of the data we collected will be a help! Everyone knows that historically Yamaha are strong at Brno so we’ll have to work hard from Friday to give ourselves the best chance on Sunday!”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, says:
“Brno is a track that I really enjoy, I usually do well there. I am really looking forward to getting there and getting back the feeling with the bike because Indianapolis did not go too well. I am hoping to be able to take full advantage of the good feeling we had while testing there before the summer break and I hope the setting we found then will help us push to get good results.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP, says:
“We have to put last Sunday’s disappointment out of our minds and focus instead of making sure we have a good weekend at Brno. The track is one of the faster ones in MotoGP and I have had some good results there, including a win in Moto2, so I think we can have a good race, if luck stays on our side.”

Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini, says:
“We want to forget as soon as possible the Indianapolis weekend, in order to get to Brno motivated and full of charge. We will find a very different track from the one we faced in the last Grand Prix, wide and characterized by really fast changes of direction; last year we were competitive, so we expect to be able to find a good feeling with the bike also this year, although at the moment we are struggling. Of course, we will give our best, as always, and especially it will be important to work well with the team and with Showa technicians to try to fix the rear grip issues that made us struggle in the last few races”.

Scott Redding, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini, says:
“Brno is not one of my favourite circuits. However, with this bike my riding style is different compared to the past and therefore it suits a lot of tracks. In fact, I’ve never loved Sachsenring, but this year I was fast there. We just need to see the conditions once we get there, and then try to replicate the good job done in Indianapolis, maybe taking another step forward and trying to close the gap to some factory guys. It’s going to be hard because, like I said, Brno is not one of my favourite circuits but now I have a strong motivation because I know that I’m growing step by step, so I want to keep this rhythm and keep learning.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive 7 Aspar Honda, says:
“The tenth-place finish at Indianapolis gives us great motivation for the second half of the championship. It is really important that we came back strongly after the summer break but we still have a lot of work in front of us. We need to find some more mid-corner speed this weekend and some more confidence from the front. Hopefully we can get through practice without the setbacks we had last weekend. We will try to be strong from Friday and work from a good plan that will see us competitive right through the weekend.”

Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing, says:
“The Indy weekend was quite difficult but in the end we were rewarded with a good result, our best of the season. Now we go straight into our home race and the home team always looks forward to racing at Brno, in front of all the fans. As always, we will do our best and on this occasion we hope that the support of the home fans will also help us to do well.”

Leon Camier, Drive 7 Aspar Honda, says:
“Even though I didn't manage to finish my debut MotoGP race at Indianapolis I learnt a lot of things – mainly in terms of the direction we need to go with the chassis set-up and what I need to do to ride this bike fast. Hopefully at Brno we can continue working in the same way. I felt more comfortable with every passing lap of Sunday’s race and understood what I needed to do to improve my pace, so I think that will be an important step for us going into this weekend at a circuit I know well.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Tito Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team, says:
“After a few difficult races we need to bounce back at Brno. My Saturday crash at Indy didn’t help in the race but our main issue was lack of side grip once the tyres had started to wear. Brno is a very different track from Indianapolis, so we hope that we won’t have the same kind of issue this weekend. We know Mika goes well at this track but Moto2 is always very close so we will work hard at closing that small gap and then give it our best on Sunday.”

Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team, says:
“We arrive in Brno with a lot of confidence after last Sunday’s win, but fully aware that there is no such thing as an easy weekend in Grand Prix racing, even when you’ve got a great team like Marc VDS on your side! As at Indy we will have to work hard all weekend to get the most out of the machine and to put us in the best position for another win on Sunday. I like the track and I won last year’s race at Brno, so I’m feeling good, but, like I said, we are not taking anything for granted.”

Maverick Vinales, Pons HP 40, says:
“I think the bike is good now. In Brno we should change nothing, at least nothing major. We will adjust only a few little things on the set-up, and then I think we can stay really strong. I want to be running at the top from first practice.”

Honda Moto3 rider quotes

Efren Vazquez, SaxoPrint-RTG, says:
“Why not a second win? It is really difficult to know what you can do before each GP, but at this moment we have really good confidence with the bike. When you know you are strong you try to be in front and fight for the podium. Other times you know it’s not possible, then you have to remember that getting some points is better than going home with nothing. We have taken points in every race this year, and I want to go to Brno with the same mentality.”

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0, says:
“I think it is good to race immediately after Indianapolis, where the race left a bad taste in his mouth, so we will try to erase that at Brno. Last year at Brno we did great job all weekend and it we went well there. I think this year may also go well also because it is a good track for Honda. But we must try to start the weekend well and get as strong as possible, to try to catch the two riders ahead of us in the championship. Brno is the most difficult circuit of all, with many chicanes and getting the right settings is complicated, so we have to work hard from first practice more than ever.”

Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0, says:
“The circuit in the Czech Republic is quite peculiar and last year wasn’t so good for me. Each time we take our bike to the next race, everything is different because we have no references for this machine, so we have to find the best configuration and as quick as possible.”

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