Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will be starting the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky from pole position – his first since 2016 – as he just edged out an equally incredible lap for compatriot Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) at the Automotodrom Brno, making it 1-2 for the veteran Italians. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – who is making his 100th premier class start – completes the front row as the last man able to get into the 1:54 bracket, setting up a tantalising prospect for race day in Czechia.
Everything went down to the wire and on the first run it was advantage Marquez, but Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) soon hit back to pull out exactly half a second. The story was far from over, however, as Marquez was then able to do a 1:54 – the first of the weekend. It looked like it could be a done deal, but a final run for Dovizioso and Rossi saw the two leapfrog the Spaniards in the final seconds of the session. For ‘DesmoDovi’ it’s a stunning 1’54.689, with Rossi 0.267 back but able to edge Marquez – by only 0.005.
Lorenzo heads up the second row after just missing out on that front row, and the number 99 will surely be a threat from there as he remains the man to watch when the lights go out. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) takes fifth and is top Independent Team rider at the venue that hosted his first ever GP win, with Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) taking sixth and bouncing back well despite a technical problem with one of his machines at the end of FP4.
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took P7 and leads the charge on Row 3, with the Frenchman joined by both Team Suzuki Ecstar machines. Andrea Iannone just leads teammate and Q1 graduate Alex Rins as they followed up their frontrunning FP4 pace in P8 and P9 respectively in Q2, with Friday’s fastest and 11-time Brno podium finisher Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) completing the top ten.
Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) will line up eleventh, with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) down in P12 after coming through Q1 and then proving unable to replicate his laptime from that session.
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) is top rookie in P13 after just missing out on Q2, ahead of Alvaro Baustista (Angel Nieto Team) – a Q1 crasher – and Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who completed the top 15 for the Austrian factory.
So that’s qualifying done and dusted and race day is set up to be a corker. Three manufacturers on the front row, a whole host of proven Czech GP winners with incredible pace and everything to play for…come back on Sunday at 14:00 (GMT +2) as the big show begins at Brno.
After taking his first Moto2™ front row and podium at the German GP, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) continued his fine form at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky by securing his maiden Grand Prix pole position, beating Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) by less than two tenths.
It was another intermediate class qualifying session where the early times set proved to be most vital, with Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and pole man Marini going out in tandem – the latter setting his 2:02.244 on his third flying lap behind the Championship leader, 0.115 ahead of Marquez’ fastest time and 0.173 quicker than Pasini.
After a more difficult Friday on board his KTM, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) equaled his best qualifying result of the season in P4 after a fast opening run in the session. After setting the pace on the opening day, Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) will launch from the middle of the second row in fifth, just 0.003 behind the Portuguese rider. Championship leader Bagnaia played a leading role for Marini, and his own time is good enough for sixth on the grid as the second row is split by just 0.005 seconds.
After finishing FP3 down in 19th, Sachsenring winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) lines up seventh for Sunday’s race, 0.012 ahead of Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) in eighth – the Spaniard was 17th after FP3.
Dominque Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) came from outside the top 20 in the morning to ride to an impressive P9 in qualifying – the Swiss’ best grid slot of the season. After a crash at Turn 6, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) had to settle for P10 as he aims to bounce back from his Sachsenring crash.
Super Luca spearheads the grid in the Moto2™ class for the first time in his career, but can he hold off the stiff competition on Sunday? Don’t miss the intermediate class race when lights go out in Brno at 11:20 local time (GMT +2).
Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP) claimed a first Czech pole in any class since Misano 2007 and was the first Czech rider to take pole in Brno at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky after timing his lap to perfection to delight the home crowd, as John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) set the second quickest time of the session with the two leading the one-lap charge at the end of qualifying.
In a Moto3™ session where a whole host of riders missed the chance to set a hot lap time at the end, Kornfeil and McPhee took full advantage as they soared to P1 and P2, the Scot 0.419 behind. Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) secured third place on the grid after a stellar final lap, with Friday’s quickest man Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) spearheading the second row of the grid in fourth after also timing it just right to get quick lap in as the clocked ticked down.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was P1 with two minutes of the session to go, but the Italian left pit lane too late and took the checkered flag before he could set a final lap – meaning ‘Diggia’ had to settle for fifth. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) had the same problem and will start from sixth after looking set for a front row start, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) suffering the same fate – it’s seventh for FP3’s quickest man.
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia) did manage to set a time right at the end and propelled himself into eighth place – his best qualifying result of the season. Two more riders who failed to get their timing right were Nicolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing), and the two Italians round out the top ten in ninth and tenth respectively.
With Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) sidelined with a left radius fracture, Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) has a chance to take the lead in Championship again this weekend. However, the Italian was another rider to miss out on the chance to improve on his eighth position before the final run and dropped to P14. Can he mount a podium challenge from there?
Can home hero Kornfeil covert pole into his maiden Grand Prix victory? Find out when the lightweight class go racing at 11:00 local time (GMT +2).
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