An Italian 1-2 locks out the top as Marquez is forced to settle for the front row in his 100th premier class start
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, 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.
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