It’s just seven points that separate Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) at the top of the Moto2™ standings, although the stories that have taken the two men to the top have been very different. Bagnaia has four wins from nine despite some struggles with fitness, whereas Oliveira has a single victory and some incredible fights back after more difficult qualifying sessions. After the summer break, however, it’s reset for both.
Bagnaia will use the break to recharge back to full strength and bounce back from some bad luck, and Oliveira’s key target for the second half as action restarts will be qualifying form. Teammate Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) showed the value of grid position last time out at the Sachsenring as the South African took a stunning first intermediate class win from much higher on the grid. Despite Oliveira’s charges from further back, he could only manage fourth in Germany.
Binder will be an interesting quantity now he’s taken that first victory, as we wait to see how the 2016 Moto3™ World Champion goes with that landmark out the way. And it’s a landmark his successor to the lightweight class crown, Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), will want to hit soon – taking another podium as a rookie last time out.
Mir’s teammate Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will likely be a big force to be reckoned with in Brno, however. The 2014 Moto3™ World Champion has a fantastic record at the track and will be recovered from the pain suffered in a crash at the Sachsenring – and isn’t out of title contention by any stretch, 35 points off the top.
How will experience vs the eagerness of youth play out in the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky? Will Bagnaia and Oliveira retain their hold on the top or can Marquez, Mir and the likes of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40) in fifth strike back? Find out in Brno from the 3rd to 5th August.