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Johnny Cecotto on Yamaha's first win at Brno

Johnny Cecotto on Yamaha's first win at Brno

Johnny Cecotto on Yamaha's first win at Brno

Whilst the current Brno circuit has hosted almost two decades of memorable races since opening its gates to the World Championship in 1987, tales of local legend more often refer to the historic encounters on the old road circuit, which still winds its way through the forests and local villages surrounding the modern venue. The track was removed from the calendar for safety reasons in 1977, when 21-year-old Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto wrote the final chapter of its colourful history with Yamaha's first victory there in twelve years of Grand Prix racing.

"The thing I most remember about the race is that my fuel cap came open on the starting grid and I had to close it myself before push-starting", recalls Cecotto, who had lapped an incredible four seconds quicker than his nearest challenger, Pat Hennen, in qualifying. "It meant that I got a really bad start and I had to fight my way back from last place. Brno was very fast and very long and to be honest I preferred tracks like Daytona, Imola or Paul Ricard, but for some reason I just flew around that circuit. One minute you were surrounded by trees and the next by small houses – there were some amazing corners with steep drops and it was always a lot of fun to race there."

Cecotto's pole position, lap record and race victory, by a massive 25 seconds over Yamaha colleague Giacomo Agostini, was made even more remarkable by the fact that he had already completed an identical clean sweep in the 350cc event that morning. It also came just seven days after his debut 500 win at Imatra, despite having missed the majority of the season with a broken left arm, sustained in the second round at Salzburgring. Those two victories, coupled with a second place at Anderstorp, saw him end the season in fourth place and still leave his army of fans pondering over what might have been.

"To win on the 500 was very special because it was always the premier class, but in those days it was actually tougher in 350cc – there was a much bigger battle," reflects Cecotto, who had already become the youngest ever World Champion when he won the title in the smaller category for Yamaha two years previously. "In 500 there were some fast riders but it wasn't as hard to win and I think I would have had a big chance to win the title in 1977 if I hadn't crashed at Salzburgring. It's a shame because it could have been a great year for me, but nevertheless I have fond memories of my victory at Brno."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2005, GAULOISES GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY

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