2020 MotoGP Round Three – Brno
Monster Energy Grand Prix České Republiky Qualifying
Many expected Brno may bring a shake up, but few could have expected the stunning and unpredictable qualifying sessions at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky. It’s Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) who will start from pole as the Frenchman pulled an incredible three tenths clear in Q2, with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) crashing out on his final lap and forced to settle for second. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completes the front row just eight thousandths off his teammate, with some serious headlines further down the field too…
2018 winner and last year’s second place finisher, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) starts 18th after his worst ever premier class qualifying. KTM are the only factory team with both riders on the first three rows. Repsol Honda are the two last bikes on the grid with Stefan Bradl and Alex Marquez. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) didn’t make it out of Q1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) makes it another Independent Team 1-2-3-4, as it was on Friday, as he equalled Aprilia’s best qualifying in MotoGP…
Johann Zarco – P1
“I still cannot believe that I’m on pole and I did it, it’s just fantastic. I was feeling good on Friday and Saturday on the new tyre, I was able to do a pretty fast first lap and that was already positive to go straight to Q2. Because I’m on the way back, learning many things. I need to improve because the others improved a lot in the last two years. But in qualifying, on the first tyre I wasn’t that fast and I was a bit worried because it was warm, sliding more than the morning, but I was keeping calm. I was following a group in front of me and that way I could control my lap. And then I w s surprised at this super good laptime. So let’s take the good from now and see tomorrow with a good start if we can stay with the top guys at the beginning, this will be really important to have a good race.”
Fabio Quartararo – P2
“Obviously the last lap I tried to do my best, but when the tyres have already done a flying lap on this track you know you’re likely to be slower. I gave it a go anyway and unfortunately I crashed in the second to last corner. I feel great though as we made a big step forward in FP4 and the bike is feeling really good. I think it’s a great moment for the team with both Franco and myself on the front row, and we can be confident that we can challenge for the podium tomorrow. The track conditions are really difficult, which makes it hard to understand the tyres properly and get them working well. It’s the same for everyone though so we just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow; we are ready for the third race of the season!”
Franco Morbidelli – P3
“It’s been a positive weekend so far: we had a good pace yesterday and today as well. I did have a small crash, but I was able to get back my rhythm and feeling very quickly. I was able to get a good lap time in and tomorrow we will start from the front row, which is very important for me. We will have to see where we are after the first lap to understand what kind of race we will and what we need to do. Our team is very strong at the moment and we have a lot of people working very hard to make it so. This helps to give us the best situation to do our job, as riders, and I have to thank them a lot for this. The job we are doing is also a reflection of the work they put into the bike.”
Aleix Espargaro – P4
“Besides the position, I am happy about the feeling with the bike. We changed the setup quite a bit and I was back to having the same, good sensations as I had at the beginning of the season. If I’m honest, I didn’t expect it, since here in Brno we have always struggled a lot. Starting from the second row will certainly help, but I am especially pleased with our race pace and the step forward that we have made. Now we need to confirm our potential in the race. That will be the real proof of our growth. I expect a very difficult race for everyone. Tyre wear will be the key, especially after the mid-race point.”
Maverick Vinales – P5
“I think we saved the day on qualifying, because we weren’t very fast, especially in FP4 with the hotter temperatures. But in qualifying I immediately felt really good and on the pace. The strategy was to do two exits, but when I came back from the second run, I felt fantastic. We improved the lap time quite a bit, so I decided to run that bike again, but too late. It was my mistake, the team did a good job, because they provided the bike and put everything together. Anyway, I think tomorrow we have a good opportunity to improve and understand many things on the bike, so I’m quite curious to see what we can do, and I have a positive mindset. The race will be very long, and it will be demanding for the tyres. We’re going to try to be at the front as early on in the race as we can. A positive point is that the first corner is quite far, so I think we can make up a few places at the start.”
Pol Espargaro – P6
“A good morning and a good FP3 to go to Q2 which was the target. I felt really good with the bike and I felt I could be faster. I was confident and I was pushing on the second tire. The yellow flag was in the middle of the corners was impossible to see from my position on the bike. I know we need to respect the flags but they must also do good job in making them visible. I’m frustrated but we showed our potential. The top six and the second row is always good but the lap being taken away was tough. We will reset for tomorrow and we are in a good spot for the race.”
Brad Binder – P7
“Going into FP4 we made a good step with the bike. It’s strange because we did not make any big changes, but it really helped with my feeling on the bike. With more confidence I was able to give it more of a push. I was really happy and did not expect to get 7th because I’d used all my tyres in Q1. I was really shocked at the lap-time I could do. It is awesome to make it to the Q2 for the second time in a row. In general, I feel good and I need to say thanks to the team because they did a great job. I’m looking forward to getting the race underway tomorrow.”
Danilo Petrucci – P8
“I am delighted with today because we have managed to achieve our main goals. Surely, the most important thing was trying to be fast in FP3 to access directly into Q2. I am also quite satisfied with the result of the qualification, but tomorrow it will be important to adopt a solid race strategy: the lack of grip makes the track conditions quite difficult, and we will also have to manage well the tyre to reduce their consumption. I will try to stay as close as possible to the front from the beginning to fight for the top positions.”
Joan Mir – P9
“I feel good today because we made some steps forward in regard to race pace and my set-up is nice. I know that qualifying is not exactly our strong point at the moment, but I think starting from ninth I can still manage a good race. The race will be hard tomorrow, and consistency and tyre preservation will be key. I’ll try to get a good start and recover positions.”
Valentino Rossi – P10
“Today was a day of mixed feelings for me. In the morning I was very fast, and I felt good with the bike and the tyres. FP3 was a very good practice session, but unfortunately the temperature rose a lot in the afternoon and the asphalt was also 10 degrees hotter than yesterday, and we suffered because of this. We wanted to continue with the medium front tyre, but it was too hot in the end and I also struggled in the qualifying. Unfortunately, I will have to start from P10. This is bad news for tomorrow’s race, because everybody is strong and starting from further down the grid will be very hard. But my pace is good, so I will have to start well and try to ride a good race and recover some positions.”
Alex Rins – P11
“I struggled a lot with my shoulder today. FP3 was good but I missed out on Q2 by a tiny amount, which was a pity because I really gave my all to get directly into Q2 to save myself one session and try to conserve my shoulder a bit. In FP4 I worked hard to forget about the pain and concentrate on my lap times and consistency. In Q1 I gave absolutely everything to make it into final qualifying, and despite the bad pain I managed some good lap times. Tyre life tends to drop at this track, so it will be important to be careful and manage it. I hope I can get a good result and I feel that 11th isn’t a bad place to start.”
Cal Crutchlow – P12
“Today was a good day, apart from the qualifying session when I crashed at turn nine. It was my own mistake when I leaned the bike over a little bit too much and then tried to turn back to get the best acceleration out of the corner, I had a little bit too much front brake on at that moment. It seemed to go really fast and unfortunately I didn’t make a great lap, but I feel confident with what we’ve done over the weekend. I feel better on the bike and I believe we can have a good race tomorrow.”
Miguel Oliveira – P13
“Overall, it was a positive day. We knew that going through Q1, it’s going to be difficult. Anyway, I gave my ‘all’ but it was not enough, very tight. I am very positive and confident for the race tomorrow. I feel like it’s going to be a lot different. We are in a good position, we worked well, so we should be relaxed and focused.”
Jack Miller – P14
“We had some problem to find the right feeling with the tyres. The feeling I have with the bike is good, my pace is good, but I cannot be aggressive as I want. It’s looking like we are having a complicate weekend, but I will try to do my best tomorrow, having a good start and then we will see.”
Tito Rabat – P15
“First of all I want to congratulate Johann and the team. We had a good day today and we’ve been setting times that are closer to ‘pole’ every time. I have a good feeling, we are getting closer and better session after session, trying new things. The positive thing is that we have seen that we can be on top and keep working to follow this upward line.”
Iker Lecuona – P16
“Today I’m really happy because this morning I managed to improve with the bike and also regarding my pace. I continued to improve. I knew it was possible to have a really good Qualifying and finally, I improved my lap time a lot and I ended up just around one second from the top. So, the gap is very small compared to yesterday and this morning. I’m really happy and want to thank my team for all the hard work. I’m curious to see what we can do in the race.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P17
“Of course I’m disappointed, because we did a quite good lap time and thought we would be able to go through to Q2, but unfortunately I touched the green and that was our best time. I got a penalty and had the lap time cancelled. I’m really disappointed about the starting grid and our position, tomorrow we will be in 17th so it’s going to be difficult for the race. But as you can see, everyone is so close on the lap times so we have to be positive about this and see what happens in the race. The tyre management will be difficult, but we must make a good start and then concentrate and make no mistakes. As a minimum we must finish the race, but we are still quite confident about getting a good position.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P18
“It was a strange day. Honestly, I don’t know what happened this afternoon in qualifying, so we will have to study well the data to figure out what the problem was. Of course, it would have been important to be able to start from the front positions: our pace is similar to that of the best riders, but in the race, the consumption of the rear tyre will put everyone to the test. Now we will do our best to be ready for tomorrow.”
Bradley Smith – P19
“I’m obviously a bit disappointed. At the beginning of Q1, I was in a good position to do a fast lap, but unfortunately, I went beyond the limit and I crashed. Looking at FP4, on the other hand, our race pace doesn’t seem to be too far off of our goals. We have a few ideas to improve, also in view of the upcoming races. The direction Aleix has identified seems to by paying off in terms of performance. Maybe for my characteristics, the bike becomes a bit more difficult to ride, but the times don’t lie, so we’ll try to explore that direction in terms of the setup. In any case, today was a great result for the team and for this project, which is confirming that it has great potential.”
Stefan Bradl – P20
“Today the feeling was coming better on the bike and still we are improving with each lap. We still are searching for some grip around the circuit, but I think many other riders are also working on this area. It’s been a busy day, trying settings and working with HRC so we have not been able to fully concentrate on our one lap speed for Qualifying. Tomorrow’s race will help us a lot and I think it will be the most beneficial time for me to learn and understand the bike more. Let’s see what happens, it will be a long race.”
Alex Marquez – P21
“It was a tough day today when we look at the final position. I still need to work on getting the most out of the new tyre. Quali was a negative, but in FP4, apart from the crash, it wasn’t such a bad session and all weekend our pace has been OK. I know starting from the back will make it difficult tomorrow but I am feeling positive and it will be long race so pace will be important. We still need to define our tyre choice, but I think with our race pace we can make up some positions and certainly we will learn a lot.”
It began in Q1 as we saw a host of big names from the front in Jerez fighting it out to even move through, setting the scene for the next shake up of the day. There was some late drama on the timing screens too as on the last lap for many, it looked like it would be a one shot wonder from Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) sending him through first, to be closely followed by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu)… but then the Japanese rider’s lap disappeared. Cancelled for exceeding track limits at Turn 12, that left him out the graduation zone and boosted Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) into second. No one could better the South African’s effort, and he moved through alongside Rins. Leaving Dovizioso, Miller, Nakagami and Friday’s third fastest man, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), out the fight for the top 12.
Come Q2, it was was Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) who crossed the line first with a 1:56.6, with teammate Valentino Rossi pretty much matching the Spaniard’s time to slot into P2, pipping Morbidelli. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro then blitzed the lot of them to go provisional P1 with a 1:56.1 as the Austrian factory continued to shine, but the KTM wouldn’t stay at the summit long as Quartararo hit next to set the first 1:55 of the weekend – a 1:55.990. He didn’t know it at the time, but that would remain his quickest effort.
Aleix Espargaro was giving the Championship leader some attention too, and the Spaniard had Quartararo a couple of bike lengths ahead, made the most of it and improved despite the Frenchman not quite managing to do so. Viñales then took a provisional front row before Rins went P6 on his opening fast lap, but a gaggle of riders were all setting red first sector times just ahead of the Suzuki. Morbidelli, Rossi, Binder and Zarco were all in close proximity, with the latter going faster than everyone. Halfway round, Morbidelli – spearheading the group – was under his teammates’ time by two tenths, but it was the Frenchman at the back of the group who had a stunning three tenths in his pocket. Would he hold onto it?
He would. Zarco flew to the top of the pile for an incredible provisional pole position, with Pol Espargaro going P2 with a stunning lap for the Spaniard as well. The number 44’s joy was shorter lived, however, as the KTM rider had set it when passing yellow flags for a crash for Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) at Turn 9. There was one man left to try and overcome Zarco’s incredible laptime, with Quartararo the last man over the line for his final push and only seconds to spare.
The number 20 was on a personal best lap but still down on Zarco by over a tenth half way round, needing to find something in the final quarter of the lap. He pushed and kept pushing but this time too far, sliding into the gravel at Turn 13 and kissing goodbye to a fifth pole in a row – rider ok and Zarco left to his stunning pole position for the Czech GP.
‘El Diablo’ is still starting second ahead of Morbidelli, with Aleix Espargaro heading up Row 2. Maverick Viñales is fifth and the first factory rider on the grid, with Pol Espargaro taking P6 and a second row start despite the heartbreak of seeing his earlier, faster lap cancelled.
Brad Binder impressed as ever with a P7 in Q2, the South African ensuring KTM are the only factory with both factory team riders on the first three rows. The rookie is joined on that third row by Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team), a direct entrant to Q2, and a quiet but solid day’s work from Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir in P9.
Rossi completes the top ten and lost out to Mir by only 0.003, although ‘The Doctor’ got the better of Alex Rins by half a tenth as the number 42 Suzuki took eleventh. Crutchlow, despite his heroics to move through on Saturday, was left in P12 after his crash. Oliveira, Miller and Rabat complete the fastest fifteen.
That’s it from a shaken, stirred and stunning Saturday of action at Brno. Can Dovizioso and Miller make their way through the field? What can Zarco do on Sunday? Will Quartararo make it three-in-a-row? With less race day drama, what can KTM achieve? And who has the race pace to go the distance?
MotoGP Qualifying Results
|13||Miguel OLIVEIRA||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.098|
|14||Jack MILLER||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 0.122|
|15||Tito RABAT||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 0.465|
|16||Iker LECUONA||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.534|
|17||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||HONDA||Q1||(*) 0.592|
|18||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 0.804|
|19||Bradley SMITH||APRILIA||Q1||(*) 1.208|
|20||Stefan BRADL||HONDA||Q1||(*) 1.343|
|21||Alex MARQUEZ||HONDA||Q1||(*) 1.376|
Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) repeated his Qatar GP qualifying heroics to earn a magnificent second Moto2 pole position of 2020 in the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky. After a tough couple of races in Jerez, the American was able to edge out Free Practice pacesetter Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with Andalucia GP winner Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) completing the front row in P3.
Roberts set his 2:01.692 and fastest effort on his third flying lap in Q2 to displace Bastianini from provisional pole, with almost the entirety of Q2 setting their best times on their first two laps as they scrambled for position. Lowes and teammate Augusto Fernandez took their time to get their first laps of qualifying in, but when they did, Lowes went straight to P2 behind Roberts, Fernandez into P8.
The gap between the top two sat at just over a tenth but with track conditions not getting any better, the riders – including Lowes – were struggling to find any personal best times. And sure enough, no one was able to trouble the pole time as Roberts’ stunning return to form secures him a second pole of the season. Lowes’ incredible pace all weekend rewards him with a second place start and a third consecutive front row, with Bastianini continuing the form that ultimately propelled him to victory in the Andalucia GP.
Fourth place went the way of Hafizh Syahrin (Openbank Aspar Team) and the Malaysian will launch his best grid slot of 2020, aiming to hold off Andalucia GP podium finisher Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) in P5. Jorge Martin was the sole Red Bull KTM Ajo rider in Q2 after Championship leader Tetsuta Nagashima failed to make it through Q1, and the Spaniard will be starting P6 as he aims to close the gap to his teammate in the title scrap.
Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) equals his best Saturday afternoon result of the season with a P7 finish, the German ending the session just 0.020 ahead of Fernandez. Q1’s fastest man Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up), who took his first intermediate class podium at Brno last year, completes Row 9 – his best qualifying of the year so far. Rounding out the top 10 is the man lying second in the Championship, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46). Eight-tenths off Roberts’ time isn’t where the Italian would have wanted to be, and he’s got work on his hands with Bastianini starting on the front row if the two are to duel it out for the win.
Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up), Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Forward Racing), Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and rookie Aron Canet (Openbank Aspar Team) complete the top fifteen.
Moto2 Qualifying Results
|4||Hafizh SYAHRIN||SPEED UP||Q2||+0.453|
|9||Fabio DI GIANNANTONI||SPEED UP||Q2||+0.684|
|11||Jorge NAVARRO||SPEED UP||Q2||+0.807|
|13||Stefano MANZI||MV AGUSTA||Q2||+0.823|
|15||Aron CANET||SPEED UP||Q2||+1.074|
|19||Nicolo BULEGA||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.248|
|20||Simone CORSI||MV AGUSTA||Q1||(*) 0.281|
|21||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.321|
|22||Remy GARDNER||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.328|
|23||Dominique AEGERTER||NTS||Q1||(*) 0.451|
|24||Hector GARZO||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.507|
|25||Somkiat CHANTRA||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.638|
|26||Thomas LUTHI||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.643|
|27||Edgar PONS||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.964|
|28||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||KALEX||Q1||(*) 0.969|
|29||Andi Farid IZDIHAR||KALEX||Q1||(*) 1.581|
|30||Kasma DANIEL||KALEX||Q1||(*) 1.684|
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez was the main man to benefit from some Moto3 drama at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky as the Spaniard’s only flying lap of the session proved good enough to clinch a debut pole position, as many others missed their chance. Fast all weekend and all season, he’ll now head the grid for the first time, joined on the front row by Kömmerling Gresini Moto3’s Gabriel Rodrigo and SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Tatsuki Suzuki, who lost his perfect pole record in 2020 on Saturday.
The 15-minute Q2 session ended in bizarre circumstances as the field tried to wait it out in pitlane, leaving themselves only two minutes on the clock – and no chance of putting in a final flying lap. That left Fernandez unthreatened at the top, and the grid almost set.
After a crash out of contention in the Andalucia GP, Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura bounces back to head up the second row of the grid, joined by Leopard Racing’s Dennis Foggia and Kömmerling Gresini Moto3’s Jeremy Alcoba. The top six riders were separated by just half a second, but World Championship leader Albert Arenas’ (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) frustration was clear at missing a final shot at pole position. He starts seventh instead.
Having ended Q1 fastest, Rivacold Snipers Team’s Tony Arbolino bagged eighth, just ahead of compatriot Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team). Rookie Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia) enjoyed his best qualifying of his young career by taking an impressive tenth, joined on row four by Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse).
Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), Stefano Nepa (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) and Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) locked out the fastest fifteen.
Where’s John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing)? The Brit suffered a crash and will be starting down in P18 at Brno, the venue of his first win.
Moto3 Qualifying Results
|19||Deniz Öncü||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.750|
|20||Filip Salac||HONDA||Q1||(*) 0.763|
|21||Barry Baltus||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.817|
|22||Carlos Tatay||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.853|
|23||Riccardo Rossi||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.875|
|24||Celestino Vietti||KTM||Q1||(*) 0.955|
|25||Alonso Lopez||HUSQVARNA||Q1||(*) 1.025|
|26||Maximilian Kofler||KTM||Q1||(*) 1.116|
|27||Sergio Garcia||HONDA||Q1||(*) 1.247|
|28||Ayumu Sasaki||KTM||Q1||(*) 1.300|
|29||Jason Dupasquier||KTM||Q1||(*) 1.906|
|30||Khairul Idham Pawi||HONDA||FP3||1.428|
Monster Energy Grand Prix České Republiky Schedule
MotoGP Championship Points Standings