Esteve Rabat returned to something like his best form with a dominant pole position for the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno. The championship leader endured a difficult weekend in Indianapolis as his advantage was whittled down to seven points but as he impressed, it was Mika Kallio’s turn to struggle with sixth the best he could manage.
Thomas Luthi was another rider to suffer on his spell in the United States and the Interwetten rider also showed signs of a fightback by topping the session early on, setting a 2:02.443, but Rabat had stamped his authority on the session by the halfway mark. Esteve initially pulled out a tenth on his rivals but a sensational lap seven minutes from time extended his lead to half a second, putting pole well out of Luthi’s reach.
A largely quiet session sprung to life in the dying seconds as Rabat, Luthi and Kallio all started setting fastest sectors with Sam Lowes also emerging as a threat. The danger posed by Kallio would disappear with a crash at turn twelve but Rabat would make no such mistake, going faster still on a 2:01.911. Luthi also saved his best for last to regain second, a place which had previously been snatched by Sandro Cortese. The German maintained his place on the front row though with Lowes’ late burst enough to lift him up to fourth.
The consistent Simone Corsi qualified fifth on the Forward Racing Kalex with Kallio nailed in sixth following his accident. The Finn will have Dominique Aegerter close behind in seventh with Marcel Schrotter, Jonas Folger and Franco Morbidelli rounding out the top ten. The in-form Maverick Vinales never troubled the leaders though and will have to come through from seventeenth tomorrow.