After qualifying second between Jorge Lorenzo on pole position and Danny Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow held on to finish third, ahead of his team mate Andrea Dovisioso, and behind the two Spaniards, with Pedrosa edging an exciting win after a nail-biting final lap.
Crutchlow's podium placing was the first by a British rider in Moto GP, since Jeremy McWilliams at Donnington in 2000. "To end a 12-year drought for a British rider to get on a MotoGP podium is a great feeling," said the Coventry rider.
Tech 3 team manager Herve Poncheral was justifiably jubilant, since he has just signed up Crutchlow again for the 2013 season along with Moto 2 rider Bradley Smith, so there will be an all British partnership next season for the French outfit Tech 3 Yamaha.
The race line-up had been heavily depleted before the start after injuries to Nikki Hayden and Casey Stoner, both victims of the infamous Indianapolis track last weekend. Ben Spies provided added drama during lap eight when he slid off whilst recovering from a bad start.
Valentino Rossi, having just signed for Yamaha in 2013, made the best of a bad job. His Ducati bellowed smoke in the early laps and, although it cleared later, it was visibly off the pace and Rossi struggled manfully on to finish a creditable seventh to maintain his place in the overall championship.
Randy De Puniet continued to punch above his weight on the Aspar CRT which is the best part of 20kph down on the Moto GP bikes, and a stunning finish of eighth in front of at least two Moto GP runners keeps him at the top of the CRT standings.
Germany's Stephan Bradl, son of motorcycle champion Helmut, started well on his LCR Honda gaining places off the grid and taking Rossi for fifth spot on lap eight. Holding this position to the end, despite immense pressure from Alvaro Bautista on the Gresini Honda, he enhanced his billing as "Rookie of the Year" this season.
The race came dramatically alive with four laps remaining when Lorenzo snatched the lead from Pedrosa. The Spanish duo began a wheel to wheel tussle, culminating on the final lap with frequent pass and re-pass manoeuvres. Lorenzo ran wide on the last corner, which allowed Pedrosa to nip through for a narrow win. Pedrosa closed the championship gap to thirteen points behind 2010 world champion Lorenzo.
It is still all to ride for in the final six rounds of the championship, starting at Misano on Sept 16th.
Czech Republic Grand Prix results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Repsol Honda 42:51.570
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 42:51.748
3. Cal Crutchlow (GB) Tech 3 Yamaha 43:03.913
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Tech 3 Yamaha 43:10.161
5. Stefan Bradl (Ger) LCR Honda 43:17.152
6. Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Gresini Honda 43:21.021
7. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati 42:26.084
8. Randy de Puniet (Fra) ART 43:55.855
9. Karel Abraham (Cze) Cardion Ducati 43:59.848
10. Aleix Espargaro (Spa) ART 44:01.542