HJC Helmets Grand Prix of the Czech Republic 2016
Posted on Aug 16, 2016 by Nick Harris
ROUND ELEVEN 2016 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – SUNDAY 21ST AUGUST
Brits looking for a change of fortune in Brno
After a tough weekend in Austria last week the British riders making the short trip across the border for the HJC Helmets Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Brno will be seeking a considerable change of fortune on Sunday.
Irishman Eugene Laverty in particular will be looking for a black cat after being knocked off by Danilo Petrucci on the final bend at the Red Bull Ring while lying in 11th place. He remounted to finish 18th, the first time the Pull and Bear Aspar rider has finished out of the points this season. As a result of his actions Petrucci will start three places back on the grid on Sunday and also received a penalty point.
Isle of Man based midlander Cal Crutchlow, fresh from his second place at the previous round in Germany, jumped the start on the LCR Honda in Austria. He suffered a pit lane ride through penalty and eventually finished 15th. Some better news came from Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding who fought off the challenge of Bradley Smith’s Monster Tech3 Yamaha to finish eighth. The result has given Smith some confidence after a dreadful first half of the season with major grip problems.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes crashed twice in the Austrian Moto2™ race to really dent his championship chances. The Federal Oil Gresini rider trails championship leader Johann Zarco by 55 points and needs to get at least a podium on Sunday around the superb undulating 3.357 miles Brno circuit to challenge Alex Rins for second and fight off the challenge of Tom Luthi in fourth. Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent picked up some useful Moto2 points finishing 12th in Austria. It was his best result after his sixth place at the opening round in Qatar.
Scotsman John McPhee was a disappointing 24th in Austria after such an encouraging sixth at the previous Moto3™ round in Germany. Last year he was tenth in Brno and a repeat result would be just what the doctor ordered.
Did you know?
This year’s Czech Grand Prix will be the 47th to be held at Brno
• The only venue that has hosted more grand prix events than Brno is Assen in The Netherlands, which has hosted the Dutch TT in each of the 68 years of the motorcycling world championship.
• The first Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was held at Brno in 1965. The 500cc race held over thirteen laps of the original 13.94 km long road circuit was won by Mike Hailwood (MV Agusta) in a time of 1hr 11 min 23.2 sec.
• The circuit was shortened to 10.92 km in 1975 in an effort to improve safety.
• The last premier-class race held on the road circuit at Brno was in 1977 and was won by Johnny Cecotto riding a Yamaha. The circuit was subsequently considered too dangerous for the large capacity machines.
• The smaller capacity machines continued to compete in grand prix races on the Brno road circuit until 1982 before it was removed from the grand prix calendar for safety reasons.
• The current circuit was first used for grand prix racing in 1987 and hosted the Czechoslovakian GP through until 1991. Brno did not appear on the calendar for 1992, but the event was revived in 1993 as the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic and has taken place every year since.
• This will be the 29th time that the current circuit has hosted a grand prix event, during which time the circuit has remained virtually unchanged; minor modifications were made to the circuit in 1996 which extended the length from 5.394 km to the current 5.403 km.
• Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP class in 2002, both Honda and Yamaha have had six victories at Brno, and Ducati two.
• Jorge Lorenzo’s win last year at Brno was the first win at the circuit for Yamaha since Lorenzo’s victory there in 2010.
• The two riders with most grand prix wins at the current Brno circuit, each with seven wins, are Max Biaggi (4 x 250cc, 2 x 500cc, 1 x MotoGP) and Valentino Rossi (1x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 4 x MotoGP).
• The Czech Grand Prix last year was the only GP event in 2015 where all three riders starting from pole position went on to win the race.
Ducati arrive in Brno on a high
Fresh from their historic Austrian one-two the Italian Ducati factory Team arrive at Brno for the HJC Helmets Grand Prix of the Czech Republic on a high. Both Austrian MotoGP™ race winner Andrea Iannone and second placed Andrea Dovizioso feel the power of the GP16 Ducati will suit the fast undulations of the magnificent 3.357 miles Brno circuit as they chase the Italian factory’s second win in the space of seven days.
They are also aware it will not be as easy as it was at the Red Bull Ring with the Movistar Yamaha of World Champion Jorge Lorenzo looking for a repeat of last year’s win following his third place in Austria. He trails championship leader Marc Marquez by 43 points after the Repsol Honda rider bravely fought off the challenge of Maverick Vinales to finish fifth just a day after dislocating his left shoulder in a crash in practice. The Spaniard should certainly be fitter before practice gets underway on Friday for the 22 lap race. Valentino Rossi retained third place in the championship after finishing fourth from a front row start in Austria. The 37 year old Italian secured his first ever grand prix win at Brno in the 1996 125 cc race and has a good record in the premier-class. He’s won five times but that last win came back in 2009.
Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa has a couple of MotoGP wins at Brno but despite his fourth place in the Championship must improve his qualifying to run with the leaders at the start if he has any chance of closing the 19 point gap on Rossi. Another rider hoping to improve his fitness is Aleix Espargaro who was forced to retire in Austria in considerable pain from a fractured finger after a crash from the Ecstar Suzuki on Saturday. His team-mate Vinales maintained fifth place after finishing sixth in Austria while Iannone moved up to sixth after his maiden MotoGP win.
Assen winner Australian Jack Miller missed the Austrian race after damaging his back and wrist in a warm-up crash – he hopes to be back on Sunday.
French World Champion Johann Zarco is running away with the Moto2™ World Championship before he joins MotoGP next year. The Ajo Kalex rider has finished on the podium at the last five races including four wins to build up a 34 point lead in the Championship as he chases his second successive Brno victory. Alex Rins held onto second place after finishing third in Austria while Sam Lowes, despite two crashes, remains in third place.
South African Brad Binder is in a similar position in the Moto3™ Championship after finishing second in Austria behind Spanish teenager Joan Mir who won his first grand prix. Binder leads Jorge Navarro by a massive 67 points after the Spanish Honda rider crashed in Austria. The disgraced Romano Fenati remains in third despite being suspended by the Sky Italia VR46 team before the Austrian race.
BT Sport 2
Friday 19th August 08.00pm – 15.00pm (practice)
Saturday 20th August 08.00am – 15.15pm (practice & qualifying)
Sunday 21st August 07.30am – 15.00pm (warm-up and races)
ITV 4 Highlights
Monday 22nd August 20.00pm – 21.00pm