Reigning MotoGP champion and 2017 title leader Marc Marquez will start the second half of the season from pole position at Brno in the Czech Republic.

The Repsol Honda star pipped Valentino Rossi by 0.092s around the 5.4km circuit, courtesy of a 1m 54.981s time on his penultimate lap of Qualifying 2.

Marquez's team-mate Dani Pedrosa held provisional pole at the end of the opening run, which began with yet another on-the-limit save by Marquez. Pedrosa couldn't quite defend his position but will start from the outside of the front row, just 0.138s from pole.

Andrea Dovizioso led the Ducati challenge in fourth (+0.460s) followed by LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow, who dug deep in the face of back pain to be the quickest satellite rider.

The Englishman left the track straight after qualifying to undergo more detailed scans on a 'suspected' cracked vertebra at Brno hospital. Initial scans at the circuit this morning were reportedly inconclusive.

Dovizioso's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was stripped of a P3 time after his opening qualifying attack, having exceeding track limits by the smallest of margins at the final turn. The Spaniard, the only rider using the new Ducati fairing this afternoon, went on to claim sixth on the grid and complete row two.

Row three will consist of Movistar Yamaha's Maverick Vinales (+0.682s), Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci and Aspar Ducati's Alvaro Bautista. Title contender Vinales could only gain one place on his final lap after losing time in sector two.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Johann Zarco, Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro (who fell) and Avintia Ducati's Loris Baz completed the twelve Q2 participants. Petrucci and Bautista progressed through Qualifying 1.

Marquez will start Sunday's race with a five-point lead over Vinales, six over Dovizioso and ten over Rossi.

 

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