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Andrea Dovizioso won the 2018 Brno Grand Prix after a spectacular battle on track with fellow teammate rival Jorge Lorenzo, Championship leader Marc Marquez and fellow riders Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci. The Ducati riders took it to Marquez on board his Honda machine and Dovi was ecstatic after crossing the finish line with the sweet taste of victory long overdue. You could see the sign of relief on the Italians face after he worked tirelessly across the weekend to bring his Ducati to the forefront of the grid. Qualifying on pole was one tick and the next came with the victory. If anyone needed a big boost of confidence it was the Ducati rider. The success at Brno will do wonders for his mindset and happiness levels. Dovi went from zero to hero at Ducati even when he was pressed from behind by teammate Lorenzo who literally tried everything to win. Dovi: “It was an incredible win! 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.” In a sport that is incredibly competitive, the ability to stay focused is an essential ingredient towards success. All three riders did exactly that even when they were dicing, darting and cutting each other off in a nice way. Dovi made it clear that he raced with composure and made no mistakes.

It was the 100th MotoGP start for Marquez and he took a back seat with two laps to go in order to bag some vital points for the World Championship. Marquez could have bit at the Ducati riders though was using his brain instead of adrenaline to make more calculated decisions. The best riders in the world are able to race fast and think logically at the same time. When you analyse Marquez, you see a rider that is confident within his own skin, happy with the bike he is riding and fully aware of what the limits are. He is a genius on two wheels and as the technological aspects improve, Marquez continues to showcase why he is so unique. He accelerates to 300km/h and then brakes at 80km/h pushing his back wheel off the tarmac and looking calm. Incredible is one way to describe his ability on a motorbike and breathtaking is another to describe watching him trackside.

Marquez: “Our target for the weekend was to extend our lead in the Championship, and we achieved that. We arrived here with a 46-point edge, and we leave with 49, which is very good. Already yesterday I was expecting that Lorenzo and Dovi would be the strongest opponents, maybe with Valentino, and they were all there today. I was ready to fight as well, but honestly it was difficult to fight against the two Ducatis as they had strong acceleration and braking stability. I tried but it wasn’t possible, so we took this positive third place. Today was my 100th race in MotoGP, and I used the experience that comes with that; if it had been my second or third MotoGP race, I probably would have tried for the win and either got it or crashed, but it was the 100th and I used wisdom. Third is my worst useable result this year, and I’m happy with it because we finished very close to the top at a track where we often struggle. I’m confident, as better tracks for us will come.”

We have to make note of the reception between Lorenzo and Dovi being a little icy at the beginning of the media debrief and podium celebrations at the Brno circuit. The teammates have not had the best relationship in 2018. In fact, the tensions escalated well before the commencement of the Czech Republic race and afterwards it was clear Dovi did not want to embrace Lorenzo until he realised he was on camera with team personnel around. Dovi has made comments about Lorenzo winning two races and that not solving a year’s worth of problems, the fact that Lorenzo’s approach was not working properly and that he is not a fan of the #99 rider. The inter team rivalry has ignited and will not go out! Lorenzo feels that Dovi is trying to undermine his ability and psych him out mentally whilst Dovi defends his actions. No doubt, Dovi would have found it hard to stomach Lorenzo winning twice on a Ducati. If anything, Lorenzo is showcasing his ability to ride for multiple manufacturers and enjoying the journey with the Italian factory. He is very talented. 

Lorenzo: “I’m very happy about my second place but also for the team’s 1-2 result and I’m very proud about the way we were able to overturn the situation from Friday, when we were in a bit of difficulty. Bit by bit we improved the bike to make it very competitive and we found a setting and a strategy for the race that worked well. Today I managed the situation calmly, because it was vital to look after the tyres and get to the end of the race in the best possible condition in order to try and attack and play my cards. I was feeling good and the bike was very stable, but I was struggling a bit in acceleration and it was a pity because I could have fought for the win, but my pass on Marquez two laps from the end allowed Dovizioso to gain a small advantage and it wasn’t possible to pass Andrea, who did a really great race.”

As you look at the top three podium finishes, you see different personalities, strategies, strengths and weaknesses and how accomplishing your goals can propel you further forward. The Ducati 1-2 will certainly assist Lorenzo and Dovi in the second half of the season as Marquez aims to stay ahead of Rossi with vital decisions on and off track. In terms of decision, Maverick Vinales is struggling mentally as he argues tirelessly with his chief engineer Ramon Forcada. The two are parting ways at the end of 2018, however, we have witnessed arguments take place on camera in the garage between the two. It has been tough to watch. During the press conference for Vinales after his crash at Brno, questions about Forcada were forbidden and dismissed immediately. The set up inside the garage is causing issues, the relationship broken down and Vinales frustrated beyond all belief. We feel for the Spaniard who wears his heart on his sleeve. The Spanish rider needs a coach by his side and feels Julian Simon is someone favourable whilst Esteban Garcia steps in as chief engineer in 2019. Hopefully time will allow Vinales to recover and smile once again.

Credit: Ducati Corse Press

Credit: Ducati Corse Press

Credit: Repsol Honda MotoGP Team

Credit: Movistar Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.