Two wheels, one passion: the second half kicks off at Brno

Marquez leads the way but we’re back on Yamaha and Lorenzo turf as the second half of the season gets in gear

It was an emphatic win at the Sachsenring for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) when the whistle blew for half time on the season, and the number 93 took a 46-point lead into the summer break – fittingly, a 46-point lead over Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). But that was a signature venue for the Spaniard and this is Brno: a legendary racetrack carved into the hillsides of the southern Czech Republic with one of the most spectacular stadium sections in the world. And here, it’s not Marquez who has reigned.

To give the grid some respite from the onslaught of Marquez’ glory, there almost couldn’t be a better track to attack next. The six-time World Champion has reigned in the rain but it’s his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa whose numbers stack up, as do those of Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and, you guessed it, Valentino Rossi.

For Pedrosa it’s good memories of winning that famous duel in 2012 against the same Lorenzo and bringing Marquez’ winning streak to an end in 2014. For Lorenzo, there was a stunning win in 2015 and one in 2010, and both men have frequented the podium at the Automotodrom Brno. Can Lorenzo do what he did at Mugello and Catalunya and smash the hammer back down for his third Ducati win? He’ll be a big threat, that much is sure – and teammate Andrea Dovizioso will want to stand in his way.

Meanwhile at Yamaha, the winless streak continues – and Brno is a good venue for the Iwata marque as well as a great venue for Rossi. It’s also the scene of the nine-time World Champion’s first ever win, taken in 1996 in the 125 World Championship, which was the first of seven victories at the track for the rider from Tavullia. Teammate Maverick Viñales has also been on strong form, and the two are only ten points apart in the title fight. Facing down the worst winless run for Yamaha since 2002, could that change in the Czech Republic?

What of the Independent Team riders? The leader in the standings remains Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) as the Frenchman sits in fifth, but he’ll be looking for some form after some more difficult races. And Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) is a man ON form, fresh from taking the spoils as top Independent in Germany and from a front row start. Former Brno winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), meanwhile, needs to bounce back – and many of the rookies will be looking to do the same.

Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) impressed on race day to take P11 and cross the line top rookie in Germany, leapfrogging the absent-through-injury Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in the fight for Rookie of the Year. Morbidelli should be back at Brno though – and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) will want to get back in that fight again. Through to Q2 for the second time but then crashing out on Sunday, luck wasn’t with the Japanese rider in the race.

This is where it starts to ramp up and just ten races remain on the road to the season finale as the whistle blows to begin the second half. Who will keep lady luck on their side and who will she desert? Find out from the 3rd to 5th August in the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky.