PH2: BRNO MOTOGP AND MOSCOW WSB
PH2 catches up on the two-wheeled racing action over the bank holiday weekend
A new contract with Yamaha seems to have put fire in Cal's belly (future ex-teammate Dovi snapped the Ducati ride) and although unable to stay with the leaders he looked good for a maiden podium with Dovi behind.
A pretty dull race threatened some excitement with 10 laps to go when Dani slipped past Lorenzo, but then the procession continued until Lorenzo fought back in the closing few laps. Power versus handling - Honda versus Yamaha and at Brno handling nearly won as Lorenzo stuck it under Pedrosa on the last lap only to be out dragged to the line by Dani. A top last lap and a podium for Cal made one of the least exciting MotoGPs of the year worth watching. The championship is now wide open, but you just get the feeling 'nearly man' Pedrosa will be blighted by bad luck or injury before the end of the season. Anyway, there is a Brit on the GP podium for the first time in 11 years! Nice one Cal, maybe stick another litre of fuel in it next time...
Good and bad news for the Brits in Moto2 - Scott Redding crashed out on the first lap and Gino Rea took a trip into the gravel but Bradders saw a bit of a turn in his form to finish eighth. The race was won by Marquez from Luthi and Pol Espargaro.
A wet track saw Moto3 riders facing the usual gamble with tyres and most took the last minute decision to swap to drys - well there as a foot wide dry line appearing... Starting from back on the third row, Danny Kent led the second group of riders chasing down a pack of eight while wildcard John McPhee showed his class charging through the field to fourth. After toughing it out with the cream of the Moto3 crop for several laps, McPhee finished 15th while a late charge saw Kent finish seventh. The race was won by Folger from Salom and Cortese. Highlight of the race was Popov's crash (check it out on YouTube) - surf that bike son!
Superbikes in Moscow
Over in Moscow for WSB the rain was also falling but like in Moto3 the majority of the grid opted for slicks. After his Silverstone heroics Baz must have been rubbing his hands with glee...
Race one and predictably Sykes led the charge with Haslam, Laverty and Checa behind. The Spaniard's Ducati, not to mention his title chances, took another dent when he tagged Rea and hit the Russian tarmac. The Irishman followed a few laps later while Checa's team mate also fell. With Sykes well ahead the podium battle was an all-Brit affair between Laverty, Davies and Haslam before the diminutive Italian Marco Melandri joined the party. A clash between Haslam and Davies saw the pair drop out of contention (how the hell did Haslam's cartwheeled BMW re-start?) giving Marco an easy second spot and Biaggi, who nipped past Laverty on the last lap, third after Davis crashed having rode like a demon to regain lost ground.
Race two and on a dry track again Sykes stormed the start with Haslam, Rea and Laverty behind. The title looks likely to go to either Biaggi or Melandri and sure enough the battling Italians soon caught the chasing group, a few seconds behind Sykes but as it turned out too close to Haslam. The poor Brit got T-boned by an out of control Biaggi who looked to clip Rea in the build-up to the accident. Despite the loss of Haslam from the race the day finished with smiles in the BMW garage as Melandri caught Sykes and took the win and championship lead. Second went to Sykes with Davies third after Rea and Laverty collided on the last lap.
1 Melandri 308.5
2 Biaggi 290
3 Sykes 267.5
4 Checa 233.5
5 Rea 212.5
Brit watch (Race one, Race two):
Jonathan Rea: (DNF, 7)
Leon Haslam: (6, DNF)
Eugene Laverty: (4,DNF)
Ton Sykes: (1, 2)
Leon Camier: (14,5)
Chaz Davies (DNF, 3)