MotoGP 2018 – Round Ten – Brno Qualifying
Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky
In sweltering conditions at Brno everything went down to the wire in Q2 and on the first run it was advantage Marquez.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) then hit back to pull out an incredible half-a-second. Surely that was it, job done….
But no, the story was far from over, as Marquez then out-did #99 to drop in the first 1m54s of the weekend.
The time looked as though it would be unbeatable, but then a final run for Dovizioso and Rossi saw the two leapfrog the Spaniards in the final seconds of the session to make it an Italian 1-2.
Dovizioso dropping in a stunning 1’54.689, with Rossi 0.267s back but just edging Marquez from second.
Andrea Dovizioso – P1
“Until now it’s been an almost perfect weekend! We immediately started off quickly and this allowed us to work calmly for the race and arrive competitive in qualifying. More than the pole position, which is in any case important, I’m pleased with the time that we did. I didn’t expect to set this lap time, but when the others began to push hard I realised that my bike was so quick and I could push really hard as well. The Desmosedici responded well and I set an extraordinary time. For the race it’s not easy to understand who’s going to be in a good position, but my feeling is very good.”
Valentino Rossi – P2
“It’s true that it was very difficult with these hot temperatures. I knew I could be quite competitive with a new tyre, because already this morning I did a good lap. This afternoon I was able to improve. I pushed that bit more and rode very much on the limit on braking and entry. A 1’54.9s is a great lap time. I’m very happy, especially with this temperature! For tomorrow’s race it’s very important to start from the front row. My race pace isn’t fantastic, after some laps I will suffer, but for sure we will try.”
Marc Marquez – P3
“We had realized this morning that with the setup we chose, we’re missing a little bit in a single lap with the new tyre, but I feel more comfortable when the tyres start to drop. Anyway, a front-row start is a very positive result at this track. So far we’re having a solid weekend, and I decided to not try a final time attack at the end of qualifying, as it would’ve been a bit too risky. I’m especially happy with my race pace, because step-by-step, we’ve been able to improve over the weekend. Dovi and Lorenzo have a great pace too, actually the best, but we’re close enough, so it will be interesting to see where we can finish tomorrow. I think Valentino will also be there, so it will be a nice race. It will also be a very long one, so it will be very important to be focused and consistent, and of course tyre choice and management will be very important. It will be tough to make the podium, but we’ll try and go for it.”
Lorenzo heads up the second row after just missing out on that front row, and the number 99 will surely be a threat from there as he remains the man to watch when the lights go out.
Jorge Lorenzo – P4
“Today I’m very pleased because we were able to overturn the situation we found ourselves in yesterday. The modifications we made to the bike gave good results this morning, I found the bike easier to ride and I could lap with more confidence, using the new fairings which help in this sense. What is more important however is the step forward we’ve made: we came very close to the front row and we will start from fourth, which is in any case a good position. For tomorrow it’ll be very important to choose the correct rear tyre to get an idea of where we can arrive in the race.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) takes fifth and is top Independent Team rider at the venue that hosted his first ever GP win, with Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) taking sixth and bouncing back well despite a technical problem with one of his machines at the end of FP4.
Cal Crutchlow – P5
“We’re happy enough with the second row of the grid, because we have a bit of trouble managing the front tyre in the hot conditions this weekend, and we know that if the other rival manufacturers are using the hard tyre we know we are up against it. We did the best job we could, and I enjoyed the qualifying session. Fifth place was the best we could do today. The LCR Honda CASTROL team and HRC are doing a fantastic job, and we are doing our very best to be competitive. I feel we have the pace for the podium, but let’s wait and see what happens weather-wise.”
Danilo Petrucci – P6
“We have worked a lot on the set up today. The problem with the FP4 has created some problems but I am still very happy with the second row. My goal is to be in the Top 5 even though it will be very difficult with this heat. We will try”.
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took P7 and leads the charge on Row 3, with the Frenchman joined by both Team Suzuki Ecstar machines.
Johann Zarco – P7
“Today has been good, I got a decent feeling on the bike and I think it’s always great to work well with the team. I’m also happy that I was able to get into Q2 directly as with the hot weather it’s always useful to save some energy. In Qualifying I found improvements from the first to the second exit, but everyone is just so fast. In the end, it was simply not enough to find myself fin the first two rows. The competition is high, it’s MotoGP and I want to enjoy that because it pushes myself to the limit.”
Andrea Iannone leads teammate and Q1 graduate Alex Rins as they followed up their frontrunning FP4 pace in P8 and P9 respectively in Q2, with Friday’s fastest and 11-time Brno podium finisher Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) completing the top ten.
Andrea Iannone – P8
“Qualifying was really difficult because the lap times were unbelievable and everybody was very fast and close on times. But in any case, I think we’ve worked in a good direction this weekend. In FP4 we rode really well with good pace and a good feeling with the bike. We just need to improve the rear grip a little for the race. But in terms of consistency I think we’re going in a good way. I hope tomorrow we can improve, but I’m happy and I will try my best. I think the race will be very close.”
Alex Rins – P9
“It looks like our race pace is quite good. In FP4 we did a great job with the hard rear tyre, and I will race with this one. We definitely can’t race with the soft tyre. I feel confident with the bike, and I was able to make it to Q2 which was good news. Third row for tomorrow is quite good, we need to start well, manage the early laps, and try to overtake some riders. If I’m with the front group I can go with them, I will try to do an intelligent race.”
Dani Pedrosa – P10
“Today we were able to have two positive free sessions and to work well enough on our race setup, but qualifying was difficult. It’s a shame because 10th is not what we were hoping for. I tried to improve with the soft tyre, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a bigger step forward than I did. It’s not the best situation for tomorrow, but I hope I’ll be able to get a good start and especially to be fast in the first couple of laps, as it will crucial to move up.”
Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) will line up eleventh, with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) down in P12 after coming through Q1 and then proving unable to replicate his laptime from that session.
Tito Rabat – P11
“I am very happy because we went directly to Q2 today and this is an amazing achievement. I rode a great lap in qualifying, but the guys in front also pushed very hard. Now we will have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. It will be a very tough race, in which you have to be fully concentrated because the smallest details can be crucial. The key will be to manage tyre wear with throttle control. Physically, we are all very strong, so the heat won’t be a problem. But you have to be smooth with the throttle and you also have to avoid sliding under brakes. This is the only way to keep the tyres in good condition until the end and to score a strong result”.
Maverick Vinales – P12
“I tried to focus on the here and now and give the maximum. There’s still a lot of points up for grabs. We’re going to try to keep doing our best. I used the medium tyre in Q1, thinking the hard was going to be better for Q2, but finally it turned out to be the opposite, with the medium I felt much better. It didn’t leave me with any questions: the medium was much better, with the hard it was difficult to push. There’s still a lot of room for improvement. This weekend our setting isn’t perfect, so we need to keep working. I don’t think I will use the harder tyre tomorrow. I will see if I can make the soft last, and if it gives me something extra on the first laps. Let’s see tomorrow, I will try my best as always.”
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) is top rookie in P13 after just missing out on Q2, ahead of Alvaro Baustista (Angel Nieto Team) – a Q1 crasher – and Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who completed the top 15 for the Austrian factory.
“I felt good this morning and it was interesting to see that a few people struggled or slowed down in the afternoon while I was able to go a bit faster it shows good potential for tomorrow. FP4 was tricky because I didn’t get many laps in and I’m not too sure on the tyre choice for tomorrow. The hard would be a safe option but it is not working so well on our bike at the moment. The soft would be a risk. We will have to wait and see.”
Jack Miller has been strugging to find a good one-lap pace in the hot conditions but is hopeful that his race pace is good enough to secure good points.
“I saw a yellow flag during the second time attack and probably made a mistake. I am sorry for this qualifying because the race pace is very good. It won’t be easy to start from 17th but I am sure I can do well”.
MotoGP 2018 – Round Ten – Brno
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 1’54.689
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha 0.267
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 0.272
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team 0.349
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 0.366
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing 0.514
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 0.532
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.581
- RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.742
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 0.785
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 0.997
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha 1.134
- MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA EG Marc VDS 1’56.029
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Angel Nieto Team 0.493
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM 0.680
- SYAHRIN Hafizh 55 MAL Monster Yamaha Tech3 0.747
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing 0.778
- BRADL Stefan 6 GER Team HRC 0.792
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM 0.815
- NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda 0.974
- GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA Suzuki Ecstar 1.499
- LUTHI Tom 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1.670
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Angel Nieto Team 1.679
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing 1.712
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR Aprilia Racing 1.900
- SIMEON Xavier 10 BEL Reale Avintia 2.510
After taking his first Moto2 front row and podium at the German GP, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) continued his fine form at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky by securing his maiden Grand Prix pole position, beating Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) by less than two tenths.
It was another intermediate class qualifying session where the early times set proved to be most vital, with Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and pole man Marini going out in tandem – the latter setting his 2:02.244 on his third flying lap behind the Championship leader, 0.115 ahead of Marquez’ fastest time and 0.173 quicker than Pasini.
After a more difficult Friday on board his KTM, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) equaled his best qualifying result of the season in P4 after a fast opening run in the session. After setting the pace on the opening day, Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) will launch from the middle of the second row in fifth, just 0.003 behind the Portuguese rider. Championship leader Bagnaia played a leading role for Marini, and his own time is good enough for sixth on the grid as the second row is split by just 0.005 seconds.
After finishing FP3 down in 19th, Sachsenring winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) lines up seventh for Sunday’s race, 0.012 ahead of Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) in eighth – the Spaniard was 17th after FP3.
Dominque Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) came from outside the top 20 in the morning to ride to an impressive P9 in qualifying – the Swiss’ best grid slot of the season. After a crash at Turn 6, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) had to settle for P10 as he aims to bounce back from his Sachsenring crash.
Remy Gardner lowered his personal best by 2.756-seconds in the last minutes of FP3 and repeated this performance in Qualifying, which lead to a 19th place start for tomorrows’ tenth round of the 2018 Moto2 World Championship.
Remy Gardner – P19
“It has been a difficult Qualifying. On my fastest lap I got held up by some slower riders who were on the line, which was pretty disappointing. We had some struggles with the setup, especially from the moment when the tyre had three laps on, so we need to find a solution for tomorrow, if we want to have a good race. We will go on to solve this.”
Moto2 Qualifying Results
- Luca Marini (ITA) KALEX 2:02.244
- Alex Marquez (SPA) KALEX +0.115
- Mattia Pasini (ITA) KALEX +0.173
Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP) claimed a first Czech pole in any class since Misano 2007 and was the first Czech rider to take pole in Brno at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky after timing his lap to perfection to delight the home crowd, as John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) set the second quickest time of the session with the two leading the one-lap charge at the end of qualifying.
In a Moto3 session where a whole host of riders missed the chance to set a hot lap time at the end, Kornfeil and McPhee took full advantage as they soared to P1 and P2, the Scot 0.419 behind. Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) secured third place on the grid after a stellar final lap, with Friday’s quickest man Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) spearheading the second row of the grid in fourth after also timing it just right to get quick lap in as the clocked ticked down.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was P1 with two minutes of the session to go, but the Italian left pit lane too late and took the checkered flag before he could set a final lap – meaning ‘Diggia’ had to settle for fifth. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) had the same problem and will start from sixth after looking set for a front row start, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) suffering the same fate – it’s seventh for FP3’s quickest man.
Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia) did manage to set a time right at the end and propelled himself into eighth place – his best qualifying result of the season. Two more riders who failed to get their timing right were Nicolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing), and the two Italians round out the top ten in ninth and tenth respectively.
With Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) sidelined with a left radius fracture, Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) has a chance to take the lead in Championship again this weekend. However, the Italian was another rider to miss out on the chance to improve on his eighth position before the final run and dropped to P14.
Moto3 Qualifying Results
- Jakub Kornfeil (CZE) KTM 1’26.434
- John McPhee (GBR) KTM +0.419
- Marcos Ramirez (SPA) KTM +0.445