Marc Marquez produced a mixed weather masterclass to secure pole position by a country mile at Brno.
The reigning champion obliterated his rivals despite riding on slick tyres in the rain. Marquez put his safety on the line to ensure he secured pole. By the end of the session he was over 2.5 seconds clear of the field.
As a result, he claimed his 58th premier class pole, moving level with record-holder Mick Doohan. It’s extremely likely that he’ll claim this record by the end of the year.
Jack Miller starts second after pushing hard on the slick tyres. The Australian fell on his final lap, but he fortunately walked away unharmed.
The happiest rider of the day will be Johann Zarco. The Frenchman starts on the front-row for the first time with KTM, in third place. It’s also KTM’s first-ever front-row start in the premier class.
Andrea Dovizioso remained on wet tyres and will start the race from fourth. He is joined on the second-row by Pol Espargaro and Alex Rins.
Valentino Rossi was the quickest Yamaha in seventh, just ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Maverick Viñales. Fabio Quartararo, despite topping Friday’s sessions, had a relatively quiet session down in 10th. Cal Crutchlow and Franco Morbidelli complete the fourth row.
Qualifying 1 – KTM Success
Qualifying 1 was dominated by the KTM duo of Pol Espargaro and Zarco. Both riders held top spot throughout the session, with Zarco finishing on top. The Frenchman posted a 2:05.033 on his final lap. It’s the first time Zarco has made it into Qualifying 2 with KTM.
The only rider to challenge the KTM riders was Takaaki Nakagami. The Japanese rider hit the top with a few minutes to go, however he ended the session third. He’ll start the race from 13th.
Francesco Bagnaia also showed plenty of potential, however he ended the session in fourth. Suzuki wildcard Sylvain Guintoli was quick in the middle sectors, only to lose time in the final part of the circuit. He’ll start the race in 15th.
The other riders to miss the cut were: Miguel Oliveira, Stefan Bradl, Aleix Espargaro, Joan Mir, Karel Abraham, Hafizh Syahrin, Tito Rabat and Andrea Iannone.
Qualifying 2 – Marquez Masterclass
As the riders headed out onto the circuit a clear dry line was appearing. However, they all chose to remain on wet tyres for their first run.
After a few safe lap-times, Zarco went quickest with a 2:05.351. Meanwhile, Marquez and Rins had a little coming together on the circuit. Rins was forced to push Marquez out of the way when the latter blocked him whilst cruising. Marquez would return the favour with a little tug on Rins’ leathers coming into the pits.
Brave decisions were made moments later. A handful of riders, including Marquez and Miller, switched to dry tyres for their second runs.
After a slow first lap, Marquez began to push even harder and obliterated the field to go top. The rain began to fall once more, however Marquez continued to push. In theory, he should have hit the deck. He didn’t. In fact, the remarkable series leader went even quicker! His time of 2:02.753 was 2.524s quicker than Miller in second.
Miller was also living dangerously on the wets. He secured second before falling at the final corner on his last flying lap. Zarco went third in the dying seconds. If the rain had a fallen a little sooner, he just might have been on pole.
Tomorrow’s race starts at 13:00.