Round 10 Czech Republic

  • Marquez to Celebrate His Century From Brno Front Row

    World Championship leader Marc Marquez will start his 100th premier-class Grand Prix from the front row of the grid at Brno, after being denied a 49th class pole position only in the closing moments of a hectic qualifying session.

Report

Marquez to Celebrate His Century From Brno Front Row

AUTOMOTODROM BRNO, Czech Republic, August 4, 2018

World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) will start his 100th premier-class Grand Prix tomorrow from the front row of the grid at Brno. He was denied a 49th class pole position only in the closing moments of a hectic qualifying session, run in blazing heat in front of a packed house of sun-baked fans at the sprawling Czech circuit.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

The 25-year-old Spaniard has taken 40 race wins in his previous 99 starts, giving him a win percentage of 40.4 percent. This is far and away the highest in the MotoGP era, with the closest rival being Honda’s 2011 World Champion Casey Stoner on 33.04 percent. Current rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo lag on 28.3 and 25.1 percent respectively.

Marquez is going for his fifth MotoGP title in six years, and returned from the summer break with already a significant lead of 46 points over his closest rival Rossi. Marquez has already won five of the first nine races, and now starts the second part of the 19-race season planning a sustained attack to stretch his advantage still further.

The former 125cc and Moto2 champ took his fourth MotoGP crown last season and his current form is largely thanks to the tireless work of HRC engineers who have made the latest version of the awesomely powerful RC213V into what Marquez believes to be the best-balanced MotoGP bike he’s ridden. But the competition has been fierce, with Marquez having to fight for every single point after some of the closest racing in the championship’s 70-year history. For example, a sustained multi-bike brawl two races ago at the Dutch TT broke all records, with the top 15 points scorers covered by just 16 seconds.

Marquez, who has twice won the premier-class race at Brno, has been working carefully on race pace over two days of practice. He showed his hand with fastest time in the fourth free practice session, then led the Q2 qualifying session until Andrea Dovizioso and Rossi nosed narrowly ahead. The three-rider front row is covered by less than quarter of a second, with Rossi seven thousandths faster than Marquez, with all three within touching distance of Marquez’s best-ever Brno lap, set in 2016.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) is also a double Brno winner in the MotoGP class and he topped the time-sheets yesterday. The 32-year-old former 125cc 250cc World Champion, who announced at the last race that he will retire at the end of this season, has won at least one race every year since 2002, always on Honda machinery, and is anxious to maintain the record in his final year.

But the task will be challenging tomorrow. Pedrosa will start from the fourth row of the grid after qualifying 10th, albeit barely four tenths off the front row.

Independent-team rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) is closer to the sharp end, at a circuit where in the past he has claimed his first pole position and his first MotoGP victory. Crutchlow, who took his first win of this season at the second round in Argentina, came back from a minor crash this morning to challenge for another front-row start. Like Marquez, he was displaced by the last-minute charge of the front two riders, and will start from fifth, in the middle of the second row.

Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) was significantly the best of Honda’s three ex-Moto2 class rookies. The 23-year-old Italian was less than two tenths away from getting through into the Q2 session and placed a close third in Q1. The reigning Moto2 king has adapted well to the much more powerful MotoGP class, and made it straight through to Q1 at his home GP in June. But he has missed the last two races, after suffering a hand injury during practice at Assen.

Former Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (HRC Honda Team RC213V) was just three tenths slower and qualified 18th, on the sixth row of the grid. The German, currently Honda’s official MotoGP tester, was entered as a wild card for his first GP this year, but had a practice run in Germany three weeks ago when he took over Morbidelli’s bikes halfway through the weekend.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) qualified 20th, the Japanese rider still recovering from the grueling experience of last weekend’s Suzuka 8-Hours race, where he and his team-mates Takumi Takahashi and PJ Jacobsen finished a close second, a tantalizing 30 seconds away from victory.

2017’s Moto2 runner-up Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS  RC213V) is still working at his conversion to the premier class, and will start from 22nd on the grid.

In the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 class, the last session of the afternoon was the most afflicted by the increasing heat. Almost all of the top-20 laps were set on each rider’s second or third laps.

A career first pole went to Italian Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who had been on the front row for the first time in his career for the previous two rounds as well. The half-brother of Rossi, Marini took his first top-three podium at the last race in Germany; but injury earlier in the year means he is only 11th in the championship standings.

Second-fastest qualifier Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), younger brother of Marc, is still a title contender, although he has yet to take a win this year to back up his five top-three finishes.

Veteran Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) completes the front row for the fourth time this year, including pole at the last round. But a crash early in that German GP not only spoiled his race, but also put points leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) off the track and at the back. Bagnaia struggled from there through to 12th, a result that cut his lead back to just seven points over Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who will start tomorrow’s race from fourth, leading the second row. He has Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) beside him, and Bagnaia at the far end.

German GP Moto2 winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) qualified seventh, heading row three from Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) and Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing KTM). Spanish GP winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex) completes the top ten.

Honda’s hopes of a fourth Moto3 Riders World Championship in five years took a blow when championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was injured in a crash in Friday’s first free practice session. The Spaniard suffered a fractured radius bone in his left forearm, and flew home for surgery, in the hope of being fit to contest next weekend’s Austrian GP.

Honda still has a strong line-up for tomorrow’s race, although long-time session leader Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) lost his chance of a career-first pole start when he was bumped off the front row by just 0.047 of a second in a final flurry of action. The Italian’s top slot was snatched away when he was fractionally too late to put in a final fast lap of his own.

He qualified fifth, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) alongside to complete the second row. Canet lies third in the championship standings, one point ahead of fourth-placed Di Giannantonio.

The next-best Honda rider in the championship is Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who qualified tenth to lead row four, with all times very close. Two more Honda riders will be ahead of him on row three. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) was eighth, less than two hundredths of a second faster than Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).

Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) qualified 16th and 17th.

Eighteen-year-old Japanese rider Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) was 20th. His compatriots 17-year-old Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW), from Yokosuka, and 20-year-old Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) both suffered early tumbles before setting a qualifying time, condemning them to the back row of the grid, pending potential penalties to other riders.

Following tomorrow’s tenth of 19 MotoGP rounds, riders and teams will head immediately to Austria, for next weekend’s races at the Red Bull Ring.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 3rd, 1m 54.961s

“We had realized this morning that with the set-up we chose we’re missing a little bit in a single lap with the new tire, but I feel more comfortable when the tires 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 tire choice and management will be very important. It will be tough to make the podium, but we’ll try and go for it.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 5th, 1m 55.055s

“We’re happy enough with the second row of the grid, because we have a bit of trouble managing the front tire in the hot conditions this weekend. We know that if the other rival manufacturers are using the hard tire then 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.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team:10th, 1m 55.474s

“Today we were able to have two positive free sessions and to work well enough on our race set-up, but qualifying was difficult. It’s a shame because tenth is not what we were hoping for. I tried to improve with the soft tire, 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.”

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 13th, 1m 56.029s

“This was a good day and we improved a lot compared to yesterday. I was feeling more comfortable with the bike after missing the last race in Germany. I’m satisfied with qualifying even though we were missing some speed and I have a decent pace so I’m looking for a strong run in what will be a tough race in the hot weather.”

Stefan Bradl, HRC Honda Team: 18th, 1m 56.330s

“Today we concentrated on one setting only, and that was helpful for me to get some more speed. Honestly, I also improved my riding style a little, adapting it a bit more to the RC213V. This morning I started to feel a little bit more at ease in letting the bike roll, getting some more corner speed but I’m not there yet, as I’m still missing a bit of front feeling. I’m not yet satisfied with my qualifying time, but I think that with the race pace we’re able to keep, we have a chance to gain some positions tomorrow.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 20th, 1m 56.512s

“From yesterday we have struggled with the general feeling with the bike, it is hard to get the bike stopped and also the rear grip isn’t great. We have been checking the data of the other Honda riders like Cal (Crutchlow), Marc (Marquez) and Dani (Pedrosa) and I can see that I’m losing in the first part of the turn-in. We are improving little by little, but there is still a big gap. At this race I wasn’t as confident with the soft tire in the rear during qualifying. The hard tire is better, and that means my race pace is actually a lot better than it might look. In the FP4 we were in the top 11 and that is positive for the race. I’m disappointed with the qualifying position, but we will push on in the race and I hope to get our best result yet.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 22nd, 1m 57.208s

“In qualifying on my first run I had a lot of wheelspin but the second tire was much better, a huge difference. I improved my time but I was still not fast enough to get a better position which was my goal. In FP4 I had some troubles with the front and even before the crash the front was tucking and I was really fighting with it.”

Moto2

Luca Marini, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1st, 2m 2.244s

“It’s amazing to be on the front row another time. I am really fast and strong in this part of the season … it is just small things that come together. I feel better physically, and I was able to rest well in the break. Also my feeling with the bike has improved a lot, and we brought some new things that have made the bike better. Finally also the feeling with my team, and with my team-mate Pecco Bagnaia. They have all helped me a lot.”

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 2nd, 2m 2.359s

“In these conditions I knew how important it would be to get a good starting position; there is always some pressure get on the front row. In the race it will be interesting to see how everyone handles the conditions, both the weather and the tires, which drop a lot after five laps. But I feel confident with a good race rhythm so I’m aiming to gain some points on my rivals in the championship.”

Mattia Pasini, Italtrans Racing Team: 3rd, 2m 2.417s

“The end of the session was so strange, because I started to have a big vibration on the right side, so it was impossible to improve my time or even ride fast. Before that I tried to find some feeling and a good race pace, and I am happy. The bike is working well, but I made two or three mistakes on my best lap, so I couldn’t get pole.”

Moto3

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 5th, 2m 8.473s

“It’s been a strange qualifying session and I truly thought we all took the checkered flag, but we were upset in the end. Too bad, because we were working well during the weekend and pole position was within reach. In any case, we are super-ready for tomorrow, even though it would have been better to start at the very front as due to my body I tend to lose a bit in the uphill sections.”

Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 6th, 2m 8.556s

“It was a positive day, because we are strong in terms of our pace for the race tomorrow. It's going to be a tough race, as there is probably going to be a big group and it's hard to overtake at some points of this circuit, but I think we can fight to be up at the front. The session was somewhat strange, as we were in second and, with two minutes remaining, I went back out at the same time as ten other riders. It’s a shame because I wasn't able to take the opportunity to lower my time.”

Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, Honda Team Asia: 8th, 2m 8.885s

“At the end of qualifying, I found a good reference to follow, which enabled me to set a perfect lap. Thanks to my team, I have a good feel with my bike, and its behavior is very stable. Now I gained my confidence today because I was able to get concentrated and ride very smoothly. For tomorrow’s race, I will try as hard as I can to get a good result.” 

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Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 10: Czech Republic Qualifying

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
2 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
3 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
6 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
7 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
9 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
10 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
11 Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)
12 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
13 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
14 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
15 Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
16 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
17 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
18 Stefan BRADL(HRC Honda Team)
19 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
20 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
21 Sylvain GUINTOLI(Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
22 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
23 Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)
24 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
25 Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
26 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
3 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
4 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
5 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
6 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
7 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
8 Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
9 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
10 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
11 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
12 Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
13 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
14 Fabio QUARTARARO (Boost - Speed Up Racing)
15 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
16 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
17 Romano FENATI (Marinelli Snipers Team)
18 Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
19 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
20 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
21 Augusto Fernandez(Pons HP40)
22 Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
23 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
24 Danny KENT (Boost - Speed Up Racing)
25 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
26 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
27 Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)
28 Niki TUULI(Petronas Sprinta Racing)
29 Sheridan MORAIS(Willi Race Racing Team)
30 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)
31 Xavi CARDELUS(Team Stylobike)
32 Alejandro Medina (SAG Team)
RT Eric GRANADO (Forward Racing Team)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
2 John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)
3 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
4 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
6 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
7 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
8 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT (Honda Team Asia)
9 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
10 Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
11 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
12 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
13 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
14 Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
15 Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
16 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
17 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
18 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
19 Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
20 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
21 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
22 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
23 Stefano Nepa(CIP - Green Power)
24 Vicente Perez(Reale Avintia Academy 77)
25 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
26 Filip Salac(Cuna de Campeones Czech Talent)
RT Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RT Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)

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