Pol Espargaro took his third Moto2 pole position in succession after comfortably seeing off Thomas Luthi and Scott Redding at Brno. The Pons rider is in need of a victory if he’s to keep pace with championship leader Marc Marquez and with his rival down in fourth, Espargaro may see tomorrow as a golden opportunity.

It looked to be business as normal for Marquez who held pole early on with a 2:02.505 but the session was halted by a series of crashes at turn three. Elena Rosell highsided her QMMF Speed Up at turn three and was soon joined on the sidelines by Andrea Iannone at the same corner. Axel Pons was also reported to have gone off and race control suspended the action while a suspected oil spillage was checked out.

Once the track went green again, Thomas Luthi came alive and lowered the target time to a 2:02.418, only to see that target hit by Marquez, but both would be usurped by Espargaro who completed the first ever sub-2:02 lap of Brno. Scott Redding was also on the move and jumped up to second but Luthi would fight back four minutes from time to regain second.

With the chequered flag out, Espargaro was assured of pole position but preceded to rub everyone’s nose in it with a 2:01.953 to extend his advantage to 0.282s. Luthi was the nearest challenger after his late effort with Redding third while Marquez was unable to improve on his earlier pole time, slipping off the front row as a result. Simone Corsi will join him in fifth while Andrea Iannone recovered to take sixth despite looking in serious discomfort after his crash in the opening minutes.

Takaaki Nakagami heads the third row on the Italtrans Kalex with Nicolas Terol alongside in eighth, his highest ever Moto2 grid position. Dominique Aegerter is ninth with Johann Zarco completing the top ten for the JIR team.

Bradley Smith, fresh from the confirmation of his upcoming MotoGP debut, qualified quickest of the Tech 3 machines in fifteenth but Gino Rea couldn’t keep up his impressive form, crashing at the start of the session. As a result, the Gresini rider only had the last ten minutes to salvage a grid position and 26th would be the final result.