Czech GP, Brno: Qualifying roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

 In MotoGP, News



Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has taken pole position in Brno, as the points leader in the title fight left it late to overcome an ominous-looking Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in the final minutes of Q2. Marquez, who topped Friday but had since been overshadowed by compatriot Lorenzo in FP3 and FP4, pulled out an incredible laptime in the session – including overtaking the provisional polesitter’s Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi into the final corner in a spectacular move up the inside. Poleman and winner last time out Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) completes the front row in P3.

Marquez had an orange first sector after Lorenzo’s second attempt saw him move further clear at the top, before the timing screens went red in sector 2 and 3 – with the final part of the track the decider. With two tenths to play with, Marquez came up behind the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 of Pol Espargaro and Movistar Yamaha of Valentino Rossi at the final corner – and slotted between the two through the final apex to take a stylishly record-breaking P1.

Jorge Lorenzo has shown sublime form all Saturday in Brno, including proving the first man to break the lap record in FP3, and also topped FP4 before just losing the pole position to compatriot and championship rival Marc Marquez. Lorenzo’s race pace looks ominous however, with memories of his domination in Brno in 2015 also sure to be high in rivals’ minds.

Andrea Iannone had an up and down Saturday before just pipping Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) to complete the front row, with a technical issue earlier in the day and a crash. Iannone was the last man to cross the line and had to wheel the bike back up pitlane to parc ferme after not having realized how far up the grid he had qualified, enjoying another front row start.

Behind Espargaro in P5 was Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing), who recovered from a difficult FP3 for a great qualifying result. The Spaniard beat 9-time world champion Valentino Rossi to the top 5, as the Italian completes row 2 in P6.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) had a number of issues in the session and got out of sync as he changed the front tyre and tried to make the best of the limited time, but managed a P7 result ahead of the second Team Suzuki Ecstar machine of Maverick Viñales. Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa completes the third row in P9 after moving up from Q1, ahead of LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow to round out the top ten.

Marquez’ pole takes the Spaniard equal on pole positions with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pairing Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, with the top 3 men in the title fight now – incredibly – tied on a record 63 pole positions each across all classes…sharing the honours, for once, at the top of the table.

The MotoGP™ grid take to the track for the race at 14:00 local time (GMT+2) on Sunday.



Intermediate class title defender Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) has taken pole position for the Moto2™ race in the Czech GP, as the Frenchman took the top spot on his final lap in a session interrupted by a red flag. Just behind the points leader in the middle of the front row will be Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), ahead of Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS), who put in a stunning session to take P3 and his first front row.

Ajo Motorsport rider Johann Zarco eventually topped the three-way duel for pole, as the Frenchman left it to a last dash over the line to steal the pole position from championship contender Lowes – seconds after the Brit had taken the honours from Alex Marquez. Zarco became the most successful French rider last time out in Austria, and looks set to contend for another piece of history in Brno.

Sam Lowes also took the provisional pole in the session on his final lap, and was just pipped to the post by Zarco – around a second after taking the position. Lowes, who has had a more difficult weekend than many expected, got right back on form in the session for another front row start as he chases Zarco and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) in the title fight.

Alex Marquez was the leader for the majority of the session, as the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider built on a fantastic weekend so far in Brno to look set for his first pole position. Marquez, who was more than a tenth clear at the top until the red flag paused the session, took his first trip to parc ferme in Moto2™ with his best ever qualifying: the best position the Spaniard has enjoyed since the Moto3™ race in Valencia 2014 – which was the day he won the Moto3™ world championship.

Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) was in P5 before becoming the faller ahead of the red flag, as the Swiss rider suffered a highside crash at Turn 9. Luthi was conscious and transported to hospital, where he remains for observation.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) just beat Luthi’s laptime to P4, with second Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli slotting into P6. Championship contender Alex Rins showed an incredible leap in pace in qualifying to move up from well down the field to a solid P7, with Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) just behind him in P8. Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and rookie Miguel Oliveira (Leopard Racing) completed the top ten, after a penalty for Oliveira’s teammate Danny Kent.

Moto2™ take to the track on Sunday at 12:20 local time (GMT+2) for another spectacular battle.



Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder has taken a last dash pole position at the Automotodrom Brno, topping the timesheets in the final few seconds. Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Andrea Migno qualified in P2, ahead of his Gresini Racing Moto3 compatriot Enea Bastianini.

Binder had an initial pole position lap at the Czech GP cancelled, as the South African Moto3™ championship leader exceeded track limits at Turn 9 – before heading back out on track in the final part of the session and topping the timesheets once more. One attempt saw the points leader run off briefly, before his final lap saw him in the red and taking back the pole position.

Andrea Migno was the man on provisional pole before Binder’s final attempt, and the Italian looked set to keep it as key rivals fell away. The Sky Racing Team VR46 rider eventually outshone rookie teammate Nicolo Bulega (P6) to take P2, but has a grid penalty for the race.

Gresini Racing Moto3 rider Enea Bastianini hit back to take provisional pole as the grid returned to the pits to prepare for their last assault, but by the end of the session was classified in P3 after making a small mistake and then a bigger one that saw the Italian lose the rear into Turn 5.

PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra rider Jorge Martin had topped much of the session as the Spaniard continues to impress after injury earlier in the season, and qualified in P4 ahead of Fabio DiGiannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3), Nicolo Bulega, Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Schedl Racing GP’s Philipp Oettl.

Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) outdid his veteran teammate for P9, with local rider Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) qualifying for his home round in the top ten. Compatriot wildcard Karel Hanika (Freundenberg Racing) overcame a crash to put in an impressive lap for P13, just behind the second EG 0,0 bike of title contender Jorge Navarro, whose difficult weekend in the Czech Republic continues.

There was drama in the final few minutes of the session with Bastianini crashing, as well as Francesco Bagnaia (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra), who lost out on an incredibly quick lap and qualified out of position in P17.

Penalties were applied after the session, with Migno and Antonelli both receiving 3-place grid penalties, Oettl and Albert Arenas (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) 4 place penalties, and Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) set to drop 7 places on the grid.

Moto3™ sees lights out for the race at 11:00 local time (GMT+2) on Sunday.



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