Brno MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa beats Jorge Lorenzo in thrilling duel

Dani Pedrosa defeated MotoGP title rival Jorge Lorenzo in a fantastic last-lap duel at Brno

Brno MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa beats Jorge Lorenzo in thrilling duel

The pair spent the entire 22 laps separated by less than four tenths of a second, and then swapped positions four times on the final lap before Pedrosa finally pulled ahead through the final corner, closing to within 13 points of the championship lead.

Cal Crutchlow meanwhile ended his wait for a maiden podium in the series by finishing third, becoming the first Briton in 12 years to take a premier class podium in the process.

The Tech 3 rider was not quite able to live with the pace of Lorenzo and Pedrosa, who stretched out into the distance - Lorenzo initially ahead until Pedrosa dived down the inside at the penultimate corner at mid-distance.

Lorenzo opted to tuck in behind Pedrosa until the final lap, when he attacked and stole ahead in the stadium complex.

Down into the penultimate turn Pedrosa inched back in front, but Lorenzo stuck with the outside line and once again forged ahead, only to run wide and compromise his line into the final turn, allowing Pedrosa to come back through and claim the win.

The dice was all the more significant in the championship after Casey Stoner's decision to leave Brno and return home for ankle surgery.

The battle behind was never as close, with Andrea Dovizioso trailing stablemate Crutchlow by around two seconds for much of the race.

He was nevertheless close enough to pounce if Crutchlow made an error in the final laps, but with none coming had to settle for fourth. Crutchlow's podium is the first for a Briton since Jeremy McWilliams finished third at Donington Park 12 years ago, and comes just days after he announced a contract extension with Tech 3.

After his best qualifying performance of the season, there were early signs that Ducati's Valentino Rossi might feature in the podium fight when he passed Dovizioso and Ben Spies on the opening lap.

As the race progressed however his pace did the opposite, and he eventually fell to seventh behind the satellite Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista.

Spies meanwhile endured another torrid race. He fell back to 13th over the opening two laps with a slipping clutch, charged back to eighth when the problem eased but then crashed out in the stadium section with 14 laps to run.

Results - 22 laps:

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike                Time/Gap
 1.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                  42m51.570s
 2.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                   + 0.178s
 3.  Cal Crutchlow     Tech 3 Yamaha           + 12.343s
 4.  Andrea Dovizioso  Tech 3 Yamaha           + 18.591s
 5.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda               + 25.582s
 6.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda           + 29.451s
 7.  Valentino Rossi   Ducati                  + 34.514s
 8.  Randy de Puniet   Aspar Aprilia         + 1m04.285s
 9.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Ducati        + 1m08.278s
10.  Aleix Espargaro   Aspar Aprilia         + 1m09.972s
11.  Toni Elias        Pramac Ducati         + 1m10.003s
12.  Yonny Hernandez   Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  + 1m24.040s
13.  Colin Edwards     Forward Suter-BMW     + 1m27.898s
14.  Michele Pirro     Gresini FTR-Honda     + 1m36.165s
15.  James Ellison     Paul Bird Aprilia     + 1m40.565s
16.  Mattia Pasini     Speed Master Aprilia  + 1m41.226s
17.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda-Aprilia              + 1 Lap

Retirements:

     Ivan Silva        Avintia FTR-Kawasaki       9 laps
     Ben Spies         Yamaha                     8 laps
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Jorge Lorenzo claims record Brno pole as Dani Pedrosa falls
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Brno MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa had faith he could win even when passed by Jorge Lorenzo

Brno MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa had faith he could win even when passed by Jorge Lorenzo
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