Dani Pedrosa scored a landmark win over arch rival Jorge Lorenzo to win the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Brno and cut Lorenzo's MotoGP points lead to just 13 with 6 races remaining.
In one of the best rides of his career Pedrosa did everything perfectly, except for the start. Unusually he was beaten off the line by pole man Lorenzo and had to settle in behind his fellow Spaniard. There was no one else in the race from the 1st lap, the pack quickly dropped behind as the two championship rivals settled to an unmatchable pace for the 22 laps.
Lorenzo reeled off lap after lap on the factory Yamaha and Pedrosa shadowed with the Honda. 3rd and 4th lay Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso on the Tech 3 Yamahas. Initially Valentino Rossi had been chasing that pair on the Ducati but he could not maintain the pace and with 14 laps to go he was caught and passed by Stefan Bradl.
The 7 times World Champion re-passed the MotoGP Rookie but Bradl would not be denied. Bradl was chased by Bautista who was next to relegate Rossi. Behind them there was a long gap to Randy de Puniet in 8th.
Ben Spies had already crashed out after early clutch problems with his factory Yamaha as his awful year continued.
With 11 laps to go Pedrosa slid inside Lorenzo into the last section and led across the line. The question was, did Lorenzo let him through?
At 8 to go Pedrosa opened a 0.2 second gap over Lorenzo. Immediately Lorenzo responded. At 4 to go, Pedrosa pushed again, opened up some space, Lorenzo came back, trying different lines behind his great rival.
It was clear that Pedrosa's best section was the run up the hill to the start and finish, an ominous warning to Lorenzo.
It all came down to the final Lorenzo barged his way through in the stadium section. Pedrosa dived in behind. Down to the bottom of the circuit Lorenzo held the advantage, knowing that Pedrosa was stronger on the climb back to the finish.
Pedrosa charged up the hill and got the Honda alongside the Yamaha as they braked for the the last left and right. Pedrosa had the inside line, Lorenzo ran deep to get back in front but had to drift wide exiting the left.
Pedrosa had by far the better line into the final left and flew across the line, nothing Lorenzo could do in response. Cal Crutchlow took 3rd, 12 seconds behind.
“It was a difficult last lap,” said Pedrosa. “I knew Jorge was there, I could hear him and I knew that with the smallest opening he would be there. In that left corner in the stadium I opened that door juts a little more than normal and, boom, he was there, I could see his fairing just there beside my face. So he was in front, there was half a lap to go, I was a little more nervous than before but I knew I also had some strong points coming to the end of the track so I pressed on and made sure I got my best drive up the hill.”
“Into the last corner I got alongside him, he released the brakes and we were head to head into the corner but I held my line and managed to win the race. I am so happy to win this, it is great for the championship and thanks to the team who did such a fantastic job.”
With reigning World Champion Casey Stoner forced to return to Australia for a likely operation on the ankle he injured in Indianapolis it seems certain that the title race is a head to head battle between Lorenzo and Pedrosa. The later just scored his 2nd victory in a row and his 3rd this season.