Cal Crutchlow, take a bow – you are now the first British rider to win a premier class race in the world championship since Barry Sheene in 1981.
The drought-breaking ride came about in extrodinary circumstances at Brno after Crutchlow (LCR Honda) opted to run hard compound Michelin wet-weather tyres while most of the field went with softer versions – at least on the front of their MotoGP™ machines.
That decision proved to be a masterstroke, with Crutchlow struggling to find a solid pace early on before the situation began to turn around quickly on a drying track.
At the halfway mark – lap 11 – Crutchlow was fifth, but four laps later he was in the lead, a position he would not relinquish as he won the race ahead of fellow fast-finisher, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) by just over seven seconds, followed by championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda). Loris Baz and Hector Barbera made it a great day for Avintia Racing Ducati in fourth and fifth.
“This win means a lot to me. I thought the feeling might be different, but after having become a dad two weeks ago, nothing matches that," said Crutchlow. "Don’t get me wrong though, I haven’t won a race for many years, maybe six or seven, so it’s been a long time and it’s something really, really special.
“I’m pleased to be the British rider that’s broken the run, especially after some of the stick I’ve had. I’m also so pleased for my LCR Honda Team, because I wrecked a bike during practice yesterday and they were working until midnight to get it ready for me today. So to repay them with this win is great – they never give up.”
“Victory has been a long time coming and I was emotional on the cool-down lap. I was playing with them in the end though, I knew I had made the right tyre choice on the grid and pushed when I needed to push. I’m ecstatic.”
Crutchlow's maiden MotoGP™ win follows on from his great mate Jack Miller at Assen. Miller was at Brno to share the adulation with Crutchlow, but he didn't compete after injuring himself at the Red Bull Ring the week before.
Crutchlow has now hoisted himself into the championship top 10 after the long-overdue win, while Marquez increased his lead to 53pts (197 to 144) over new second place man, Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha, 138pts) has now dropped to third after yet another horror day in the wet – although he was coming on strong on a hard compound rear tyre when he inexplicably came into the pits and went out on his second slick-shod bike. That cooked his goose as far as a solid point-scoring result was concerned, and he came home last in 17th position.
Meanwhile, Eugene Laverty (Pull & Bear Aspaar Ducati) was sixth from Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich), Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team), Maverick Vinales (Ecstar Suzuki) and Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda).
Iannone led for the majority of the race but his front tyre was disintegrating at an alarming rate at the end, causing him to freefall through the pack.
Iannone's teammate Andréa Dovizioso retired with a mechanical problem while in the leading pack, and the other DNFs were Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Aleix Espargaro (Ecstar Suzuki).
- Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda 47m44.290s
- Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha, +7.298s
- Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda, +9.587s
DNS Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
Pole position: Marc Marquez, 1m54.596s = 169.7km/h
Fastest lap: Crutchlow 2m08.216s = 151.7km/h
Championship top 3
Marquez 197 • Rossi 144 • Lorenzo 138
Dynavolt Intact GP rider Jonas Folger took an incredible win in torrential conditions, his first for the year.
The German was in complete control from the start, with the podium completed by fellow 2017 MotoGP™-heading riders Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) and Sam Lowes (Gresini Racing Moto2™) – both taking a chunk out of Johann Zarco’s championship lead.
Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) crossed the line in just 11th position after starting from pole position.
There was drama on the final lap as Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) collided, with Cortese unable to collect his top five finish after an impressive ride through the field and Pasini crossing the line in fourth.
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was fifth from Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), Danny Kent (Leopard Racing), Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS), Miguel Oliveira (Leopard Racing) and Australia's wildcard Anthony West (Montaze Bros Racing Team) who was brilliant in the wet after starting from a lowly 28th on the grid.
The second Aussie, Remy Gardner (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2™), finished in 21st position.
- Johan Folger, Dynavolt Intact GP, 45m30.342s
- Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40, +5.175s
- Sam Lowes, Federal Oil Gresini, +9.021s
10. Anthony West, Montaze Broz Racing Team, +36.340
21. Remy Gardner, Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2, +1:16.694
Pole position: Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport , 2m01.581s = 159.9km/h
Fastest lap: Folger, 2m14.528s = 144.5km/h
Championship top 3
Zarco 181 • Rins 162 • Lowes 137
Peugeot MC Saxoprint rider John McPhee completed a calm, collected and almost faultless ride to the flag to take his first win in the category. Jorge Martin (Pull&Bear) Aspar Mahindra was second from the rookie star of the race, Fabio DiGiannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3™ Honda).
Championship leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed out of the lead with four laps to go, before Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) also ended up in the gravel in a dramatic change for the race in the final few laps.
Binder's main championship rivals, Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda and) Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Honda), were 10th and fourth respectively.
- John McPhee, Peugeot MC Saxoprint, 45m36.087s
- Jorge Martin, Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra, +8.806s
- Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing Honda, +9.777s
Pole position: Brad Binder, Red Bull TM Ajo, 2m07.785s = 152.2km/h
Fastest lap: Binder, 2m21.567s = 137.3km/h
Championship top 3
Binder 179 • Jorge Navarro 118 • Enea Bastianini 94
Next round: Silverstone, Great Britain, September 2-4