Andrea Dovizioso took his second win of the 2018 MotoGP campaign in an intriguing race characterised by its gentle opening pace as the riders attempted to preserve tyre life at a hot Brno circuit at the Czech Grand Prix.
In contrast to the usual cut and thrust of a typical MotoGP race, Dovizioso shot to the front from pole position and settled into a relatively sedate pace as he looked to minimise rear tyre wear for the 21 lap race.
Unusually there was little in the way of aggressive passing, as his rivals followed suit in keeping their powder dry for the closing laps and the first three quarters of the race proved to be interesting rather than exciting.
Dovizioso finally put the hammer down with three laps to go, taking Ducati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and world champion Marc Marquez with him. Lorenzo and Marquez tangled on the last lap, allowing the Italian to make a small break, but although Lorenzo was able to catch and briefly pass at the final corner, the 2017 championship runner-up was able to get better drive onto the finish straight and take his first win since the opening ride of the season. Behind the top three, Yamaha legend Valentino Rossi passed Britain’’s Cal Crutchlow for fourth on the final corner.
“It was an incredible win,” exclaimed Dovizioso. “Before this weekend I was excited because I felt that we could do well, but I never expected such a spectacular victory. I was very quick right from the first session on Friday, yesterday I did an awesome qualifying, today in the race I had a perfect strategy, and so I’m very pleased with everything. I managed the race lap by lap, trying to interpret what was happening around me and see how the other guys were riding: I raced well without ever misusing the rear tyre and, even though I was having a bit of difficulty in the final stages, in any case I was able to fight off Jorge and Marc, who today were both really on top form.”
It was a difficult weekend for the other two Brits in MotoGP, with Scott Redding and Bradley Smith both failing to finish. Sam Lowes ended up ninth in Moto2, fighting through after a difficult qualifying, but Danny Kent crashed out, as did John McPhee in the Moto3 race.
Back in the UK, Leon Haslam secured his place in the British Superbike championship showdown with a win and a fourth place. Josh Brookes took the other win, with Peter Hickman overcoming a kidney infection to post impressive second and third place finishes in the two races.