2020 Czech Republic MotoGP - Qualifying Results

Johann Zarco has taken a shock pole position for the Czech Republic MotoGP in Brno for the privateer Avintia Racing team, ahead of Fabio Quartararo who crashed while attempting to respond to his countryman’s extraordinary effort

On a weekend that has seen the current-generation Ducati struggle – with Andrea Dovizioso well down in 18th position after failing to make it through Q1 – Zarco on the machine that took two podiums at Brno in 2019 was on fine form.

A fifth career MotoGP pole position for Zarco – having achieved four with Tech 3 Yamaha in 2017 and 2018 – it is nonetheless a huge result for what is considered the only true privateer team on the grid, Avintia Racing.

 

 

Completing a French 1-2, championship leader Quartararo might have performed better had he not been trailed by a frisky looking Aleix Espargaro ahead of his second run, the Petronas SRT Yamaha rider instead hanging back before a time attack, the loss of momentum leaving him adrift of Zarco.

He attempted to push again for a second lap on the same tyres but was trailing Zarco in the splits when he slipped off coming into the final corner complex.


Nonetheless, he remains well placed for the race in second, with team-mate Franco Morbidelli shrugging off a crash in FP4 to join him on the front row.

In what will be an unusual-looking grid order for Sunday, Aleix Espargaro starred to put his Aprilia fourth on the second row in fourth, the Spaniard making good use of trailing Quartararo early on to land the manufacturer’s best ever starting position.

Maverick Vinales will start in fifth position but Yamaha will be concerned to see the Spaniard suffer more technical gremlins in the closing stages of the session.

Pol Espargaro had his best time deleted to deny him a spot on the front row, but he still gets underway from sixth, just ahead of impressive KTM team-mate Brad Binder, who made it through Q1 to place his RC16 seventh.

Danilo Petrucci spared some blushes for Ducati to place the factory machine in eighth, ahead of top Suzuki rider Joan Mir in ninth, Valentino Rossi tenth, Alex Rins in 11th and Cal Crutchlow in 12th.

Outside the front four rows, Dovizioso’s dismal weekend continued as he not only failed to make it through Q1 but could only place the factory Ducati 18th on the grid. The manufacturer’s disappointment was compounded by Jack Miller, who could only manage 14th himself.

Elsewhere, Miguel Oliveira could repeat his Q1 to Q2 feat from Jerez to leave the Portuguese rider in 13th, ahead of the disappointed Miller and Tito Rabat on the Avintia Racing Ducati.

Iker Lecuona made a step forward to secure his best starting position of the season in 16th, ahead of an unfortunate Takaaki Nakagami, who had originally squeezed into Q2 with a time just 0.001s quicker than Binder, only for stewards to cancel his time when it transpired he’d run slightly wide onto the green run-off on the exit of Turn 12.

Bradley Smith bounced back from a crash to land 19th on the grid, leaving the two title defending Repsol Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Alex Marquez at the back. It is the second race in succession Moto2 champion Marquez has qualified last of all.