Dani Pedrosa won the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic on Sunday, preventing his Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez from breaking the all-time record for consecutive wins to start a season.
Last week at The Grand Prix of the Americas in Indianapolis, Marquez tied Giacomo Agostini’s 1971 record of 10 wins to open a season, but his fourth place finish at Brno left him one short of being the lone possessor of the record. It also came as his first premier class event without a podium finish. Marquez finished ten seconds behind Pedrosa.
Pedrosa’s win on the 3.3-mile circuit came as his first grand prix win since Sepang of 2013 and his 26th premier class grand prix win aboard the No. 26 Repsol Honda.
Marquez started from the pole, but dropped back to sixth at the start. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone led early, until Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo passed both for the lead in one corner.
Marquez dropped to sixth place early, but chipped away at positions up to third, passing Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Iannone, respectively, in the opening laps.
On Lap five, Iannone and Marquez swapped positions multiple times, including two instances of contact between the riders on consecutive corners, ending in Marquez holding the spot.
While fans have grown accustomed to watching Marquez either dominate early or cut intervals until gaining the lead this season, it grew apparent well before the halfway point of the race that he was consistently losing the leader’s time.
On Lap 6, Pedrosa passed Lorenzo for the lead, and built a safe lead of about 1.5 seconds, which he maintained for much of the remainder of the race. Lorenzo’s soft compound front tire may have contributed to his falling off the lead as the track warmed.
With 10 laps to go, Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi made his move under Marquez, and the podium would hold that order at the end of the race, with Marquez left on the outside looking in from fourth place.
While Pedrosa held a safe lead through the closing laps, on the final lap Lorenzo gained ground on the Honda rider, cutting the lead to a half-second, but never posed a threat to pass.
Marquez still maintains a command of the standings, with a 77 point lead.
Rossi made his 245th premier class race appearance, tying Alex Barros for the all-time record.
It was the first grand prix since 2002 with no American riders, as Nicky Hayden is still out with an injury and Colin Edwards is retiring.
1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Marc Marquez
5. Andrea Iannone
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Stefan Bradl
8. Aleix Espargaro
9. Bradley Smith
11. Scott Redding
12. Michele Pirro
13. Hiroshi Aoyama
14. Karel Abraham
15. Leon Camier
16. Aleix DeAngelis
17. Hector Barbera
18. Mike Di Meglio
19. Broc Parkes
DNF- Danilo Petrucci
DNF- Cal Crutchlow
DNF- Pol Espargaro
DNF- Michael Laverty
DNF- Yonny Hernandez