|Marquez celebrates with a wheelie|
A perfectly timed switch to slicks and a masterful ride aboard the RC213V saw Marquez run away with pole position for the Czech GP and equal Doohan’s premier class pole record.
Torrential morning rain ceased just ahead of Free Practice 3 for the MotoGP World Championship but left the Brno circuit soaking wet. Although conditions improved throughout the morning session, the rain returned during the lunch break to ensure every Saturday session at the Czech GP was wet.
Able to immediately achieve a good feeling with his Repsol Honda Team RC213V in the wet, Marc Marquez continued to challenge for the top spots as he had done throughout the weekend. Second in FP3 had the reigning World Champion confident of a strong result in the wet or dry. Even with the rain, the grid would be decided on slicks and Marquez was the first to head out as the dry line appeared. Expertly navigating the treacherous conditions of the Automotodrom Brno, Marquez claimed pole by a staggering 2.5 seconds.
This is the 86th pole of Marc Marquez’s career and his 58th in the premier class. He and five-time World Champion Mick Doohan now share the record for most pole positions in the premier class with 58 each.
As the riders were still out on the wet tires, Marquez and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) clashed. Rins stuck it up the inside of a slightly slower number 93 around Turn 8 and the two had slight contact, Marquez nearly crashing on the exit. The latter then went up the inside of Rins at Turn 14 and as both headed down pitlane, Rins overtook Marquez as the two were again close to coming into contact, with Marquez then gently pushing Rins away. Words and gestures were exchanged – was the beast awoken?
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Then, a massive gamble. With rain in the air, Marquez and his team took the decision to go for slick tires, but was it the correct choice? At first, it seemed no. Marquez was 2.4 off Zarco’s lap time on his first dry tire run and at the same time, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) jumped from P10 to P2 on the wet tires. But Marquez was on it on his second flying lap on the slicks, going a tenth under the pole lap in the first sector but then, drama. With two minutes to go there was rain in pitlane. The last sector seemed to be getting the brunt of the weather and it was a section Marquez was yet to get to, but the reigning Champion had 1.3 seconds in his pocket. Coming through the rain on slicks, Marquez somehow lost just a couple of tenths to stick in on provisional pole – a phenomenal effort.
Meanwhile, Miller was also out on slicks and having seen Marquez’ sector times, others were out there on the dry tires too. However, no one else – baring Miller – could get the slicks to work. The Australian put his Ducati in P2 but he was over a second down on Marquez and the latter was going even quicker. The beast had well and truly been poked and Marquez was going for it. Up by 1.4 seconds, the 26-year-old was about to enter the last sector where the rain was teeming down and at this point, it was an unnecessary risk – only Miller was anywhere near Marquez’ time. But Marquez wasn’t to know and coming though the rain-soaked final sector, the seven-time World Champion proved just how good he really is: slick tires, in the rain, maximum push, no trouble. A little wobble on the exit was followed by a relieved head nod as Marquez improved again to take pole by 2.524 seconds – astonishing.
Miller crashed going through the rain-drenched final corner but he kept his second place on the grid, that’s his best Saturday afternoon result since the 2018 San Marino GP. Zarco’s early benchmark lap earns the Frenchman his best qualifying result since taking pole in Malaysia last year, with this being KTM’s first MotoGP™ front row start. Dovizioso managed to take fourth to put himself in a decent position for the race, Espargaro lines up alongside the Italian in fifth for the second time this season, Rins will launch from sixth.
Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) slammed in a late personal best time on the wet tires to spearhead the third row of the grid in Brno, ‘The Doctor’ leads Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) and teammate Maverick ViÃ±ales in eighth and ninth respectively. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completed the Q2 results.
The Czech Adrenaline Factory certainly lived up to his name in that one. Marquez’ gamble paid off and it’s he who will line up on his 58th MotoGP™ pole for Sunday’s race – his biggest pole position margin in the premier class. Rain isn’t forecast for Sunday, so can anyone stop Marquez from extending his title standings lead? Miller, Dovizioso and Rins will be doing their best from the first two rows, and what can the KTM’s do from third and fifth? We’re in for a Czech cracker on Sunday so tune in for it at 14:00 local time (GMT+2).
Marc Marquez 93 1ST 2'02.753
“At the start I believed in the slick tires with how the conditions were changing. In the end when the rain came back and the track got wetter it was difficult! Maybe in hindsight I took a little too much risk, but in the end we finished in a good way and I am happy. Tomorrow it looks like it will be a sunny day, so a normal race. With the conditions we have had, it is hard to know where everyone is but the target is the podium."
Watch his crews reaction
|2||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||Ducati||2.524s|
|10||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha||Yamaha||3.895s|
|11||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Honda||4.370s|
|12||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||Yamaha||6.651s|
|13||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||Honda||2.512s|
|14||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Ducati||Ducati||2.533s|
|16||Miguel Oliveira||Tech3 KTM||KTM||3.010s|
|20||Karel Abraham||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||4.145s|
|21||Hafizh Syahrin||Tech3 KTM||KTM||4.402s|
|22||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||Ducati||4.562s|