BRNO: A week after dislocating his shoulder in a crash, Marc Marquez will seek to extend his overall world championship lead as the MotoGP heads to Brno, one of his least favourite tracks.
The Spanish Honda rider crashed in practice last weekend as the MotoGP resumed with the Austrian Grand Prix after a three-week summer break.
With the injury, the 2013 and 2014 MotoGP champion came in fifth at the Red Bull Ring circuit, following four straight podium finishes topped up with a win in Germany.
The Austrian honours went to Italy’s Andrea Iannone ahead of Ducati teammate and compatriot Andrea Dovizioso, followed by the Yamaha duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
After ten of the season’s 18 races, Marquez leads the standings on 181 points, 43 ahead of Lorenzo and Rossi with 124.
“It was a little bit painful but when you’re there on the bike, it was not a big problem,” the 23-year-old Marquez, whose only Brno victory in the MotoGP class dates back to his rookie season in 2013, told the MotoGP website after Spielberg.
“Now we’ll try to work with the physio to be 100 percent but it will not be a problem.”
“Brno isn’t one of my favourite tracks but we’ve been able to get some good results there in the past,” Marquez added ahead of the Czech GP.
“We must be really focused and work well in order to be able to fight for the podium again.”
Winner at Brno last year, defending world champion Lorenzo will be his top rival after taking the third spot in Austria to put an end to a three-race podium drought.
“I like the Brno circuit a lot because it has plenty of high-speed corners and I have good memories there,” the 29-year-old, who will join Ducati next season, said.
“Last year we dominated the race and I hope to have good feelings there again this time round.”
His Yamaha teammate Rossi will want to extend his collection of five top-class wins at Brno, with the last one coming in 2009.
Brno was the circuit on which the 37-year-old Italian won his first-ever Grand Prix exactly 20 years ago, in the 125cc class.
“Brno is a great track where I won for the first time, but the last few years I wasn’t strong enough so I’m very curious to understand if this year I can be more competitive,” said the nine-time world champion.
“Last year Jorge was much faster than me and I’m curious to see if this year I will do better.”
Rossi added everyone should beware of the powerful Ducati duo that took the Austrian GP by storm after a lacklustre first half of the season, with Iannone claiming the Italian outfit’s first win since 2010.
“I think they will also be very strong in Brno because they are always fast and the track also has a lot of straights and it’s so fast, so I think we have to keep an eye on them.”-- AFP