Alex Rins extended his streak of pole positions with another dominant performance at Brno. The Spaniard, unquestionably the form rider in the class, topped his third qualifying session on the bounce with this the most comfortable of all, half a second quicker than Maverick Vinales in second place.
Championship leader Luis Salom was the fastest man in morning practice but for whatever reason, his challenge never materialised in the afternoon as the two title rivals disputed pole position. Vinales made the early running with a 2:08.439 giving him the lead but once Rins got up to speed, there was only going to be one winner in their private battle.
With just over ten minutes gone, Alex moved to the top of the leaderboard with a lap record 2:08.016 and the only man who looked capable of troubling that time was Rins himself. With four minutes remaining, the bar was raised still further with the Estrella Galicia rider breaking into the 2:07s, giving him a sizeable lead over Vinales.
The session came to a rather messy conclusion as several riders crashed out in a desperate attempt to improve their grid positions. The yellow flags were particularly bad news for Salom who was languishing down in eighth but once the circuit was clear, Luis managed to gain four places with a 2:08.639.
Salom’s difficulties looked set to give Jack Miller his first ever front row start but a stunning late burst from Alexis Masbou saw him leap up to third, equalling his career best qualifying result. As a result, Salom was knocked back down to fifth with Alex Marquez sixth. Jonas Folger, winner here last year, was seventh ahead of Arthur Sissis with the Mahindras of Efren Vazquez and Miguel Oliveira rounding out the top ten.
After his Indianapolis weekend was ruined by illness, a fully fit John McPhee too the opportunity to show everyone what he could do, climbing to fifth early on. Although he didn’t make the kind of improvements others made late on, the Briton will still start eleventh, his best in Grand Prix racing.