Marc Marquez has secured his 4th pole position of 2017 ahead of the Czech Grand Prix in Brno.
It wasn’t the smoothest of sessions for the World Champion, but that normally marks it out as a fast one with Marquez having to save two near-crashes in his first few laps.
It was his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa that led the session early on, with Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow rounding out the top 3 before Marquez moved to second on his second lap despite one of his “moments” coming at turn 11.
Lorenzo’s time near the top was short-lived with the Ducati rider having his lap time cancelled due to exceeding the track limits at turn 14. The replay showed the Spaniard just running onto the green paint at the end of the kerb and while it may seem slightly harsh for such a small mistake, rules are rules. That left Lorenzo with no lap time on the board with 6 minutes left of the session.
After a quick stop for some fresh rubber, the riders were back out for their final time attack. Lorenzo put in another good lap (he was allowed to keep this one) that put him 3rd, before first Crutchlow and then Pedrosa took over the position.
On his 6th lap, Marc Marquez put in a brilliant time of 1’54.981 that was ultimately enough to secure him his 69th Grand Prix pole position.
Valentino Rossi then joined him on the front row in second with a time just 0.09 seconds behind, with Pedrosa rounding out the top 3 shortly after.
There was a crash for Aleix Espargaro, a shame considering the good pace he’s once again shown so far this weekend. The Aprilia rider will start from 11th in tomorrow’s race.
Andrea Dovizioso starts the second row in 4th, with Crutchlow and Lorenzo joining him. Cal Crutchlow was involved in a crash in the morning session and is having a possible back injury looked at this evening which hopefully won’t stop him from racing.
Row 3 is made up of Maverick Vinales who, despite running the new Yamaha chassis on both of his bikes, is finding some difficulties, particularly in turning, with Danilo Petrucci and Alvaro Bautista, who both made it through Q1, joining him.
And rounding out the top 12 on row 4 are Johann Zarco, Aleix Espargaro and Loris Baz.
Speaking after qualifying Pedrosa said he expects Marquez to be the favourite for tomorrow’s race, while Marc was a little more coy saying “I feel ready to fight minimum for the podium” although he is happy to be performing well at a track he’s struggled at previously.
For second-placed Rossi, the front row is a good place to start tomorrow’s race and while he said it was a shame to miss out on pole so closely, he’s still happy. He also shared the secret to a good qualifying lap, joking “try to brake later and open throttle earlier”.
The Czech Grand Prix will see 22 laps of the usual MotoGP magic; Honda, Yamaha and Ducati can all be strong and the weather could throw a few curveballs their way as well.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be a race you don’t want to miss.