Brno, Czech Republic – The roller-coaster Autodromo Brno in South Moravia lived up to its reputation for drama as Dani Pedrosa broke works Honda team-mate Marc Marquez’ 10-race winning streak and South African Brad Binder missed out on fifth by less than a tenth of a second in a Moto3 thriller that saw the top 16 finish within less than two seconds of each other.
Pedrosa returned to his best form, in front of more than 138 000 fans, blasting through the pack from fifth on the grid to take the win by 0.410sec from Yamaha team-mates Jorge Lorenzo, who put in a cracking ride from sixth at the start for his third consecutive podium result, and Valentino Rossi, who notched up his seventh rostrum result of 2014.
It was Rossi’s 245th premier-class race, equalling Brazilian Alex Barros’ all-time record.
Marquez came home fourth after a difficult ride; it was the first time in 2014 that he hadn’t won and the first time he’d ever finished a MotoGP race off the podium – although he retained a commanding lead in the championship with 263 points to Pedrosa’s 186.
The defending world champion got into a serious ding-dong with Ducati privateer Andrea Iannone that saw them banging elbows in the early stages, until Marquez moved up to challenge Rossi for third, leaving Iannone to dispute fifth (successfully, as it turned out) with Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso in the final stages.
Stefan Bradl (Honda), Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha), Bradley Smith (Yamaha Tech3) and Alvaro Bautista (Honda) made up the top 10.
Local hero Karel Abraham (Honda) scored points in 14th, with substitute rider Leon Camier (Honda) scoring his first MotoGP point for 15th.
Championship leader Tito Rabat romped home to win by a dominant 3.274 seconds from Mika Kallio and Sandro Cortese for an all-Kalex podium.
Rabat stormed away from pole (his seventh of the season) to lead from start to finish, increasing his championship lead over team-mate Kallio to 12 points.
Cortese took his first Moto2 podium finish by two seconds from Swiss riders Thomas Luthi and Dominique Aegerter (each on a Suter) with Maverick Viñales (Kalex) sixth.
The rest of the top 10 was made up of Julian Simon (Kalex), Franco Morbidelli (Kalex), Johann Zarco (Caterham Suter) and Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3).
Alexis Masbou (Honda) took a hard-fought and well-deserved maiden Grand Prix win in his 133rd start by just 0.157sec from Enea Bastianini (KTM) (who was riding with a broken heel) and Danny Kent (Husqvarna) – making him the most experienced rookie in Grand Prix history!
Alex Marquez (Honda) led for several laps but just missed the podium in fourth, while team-mate Alex Rins finished ninth, having celebrated a lap early, thinking he’d won
Fifth for Jack Miller (KTM) was enough to increase his championship advantage to 23 points, after he’d blitzed South African teen Brad Binder, who ran as high as third for several laps in mid-race, on the final lap.
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra), Efren Vazquez (Honda), Rins and Isaac Viñales (KTM) rounded out the top 10, with local rider Karel Hanika (KTM) finishing 15th, just 1.838 seconds behind Masbou, making this the closest top 15 in the history of the motorcycle World Championship.