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Aug 16, 2014 - 05:21 PM
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Qualifying Czech Grand Prix, Brno
Posted by: newsla on Aug 16, 2014 - 05:14 PM
Qualifying Czech Grand Prix, Brno

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) continued his astonishing run of form this afternoon at Brno, securing his ninth pole position of the year and Honda’s tenth. His success was made all the sweeter by the fact that younger brother Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) had earlier taken pole position in Moto3. The siblings have already won races on the same day but this is the first time they’ve scored pole position on the same day.


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Marquez, who goes for his 11th consecutive victory tomorrow, was a close second fastest to team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) in the first three practice sessions, then knocked off more than seventh tenths of a second in qualifying to secure pole. However, it wasn’t an easy run for the 21-year-old Spaniard who had Andrea Iannone (Ducati) shadowing him on his fastest laps, to the extent that Iannone went fastest for a couple of minutes, using his super soft ‘Open’ rear tyre. The Italian eventually ended up a very close third, just a fraction behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati).

Having led free practice with a strong race pace, Pedrosa was hopeful of securing his seventh front-row start of the year. The Spaniard was only 0.227 seconds slower than Marquez in qualifying, but the times here are so close that his best lap puts him on the middle of the second row in fifth place, between Bradley Smith (Yamaha) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). Nevertheless he is hopeful of fighting for a podium finish tomorrow, if he can get away well at the start.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) struggled in free practice, ending the first three sessions 11th fastest, which forced him to take part in the QP1 qualifying session. After returning to a proven set-up he topped that outing to promote himself to QP2, which he acquitted superbly, moving up to eighth overall for a third-row start, less than three tenths off pole.

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) has also had a challenging time here, haunted by the same rear-grip issues that troubled him at Indianapolis last week. After making improvements to his number one bike he crashed in FP4 and had to qualify on his second bike, so he ended up 14th on the grid.

Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) was once again top qualifier on Honda’s Open production machine, in 15th, just over a tenth slower than Bautista, even though he too suffered with grip issues and sustained a crash.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was four tenths behind Redding in 16th and just in front of local hero Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R). Leon Camier (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R), deputising for the injured Nicky Hayden, was one place behind Aoyama in 18th.

Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) scored his first pole position in the Honda-powered Moto2 series since June’s Catalan Grand Prix. The World Championship leader has lost ground to team-mate Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) in recent races but today’s form suggests he is in no mood to let his advantage slip further. Meanwhile Kallio, last year’s Brno winner, could only manage sixth fastest today.

Joining Rabat on the front row will be former 125 World Champion Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock, Suter) and former Moto3 World Champion Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP, Kalex). Luthi was just two tenths behind Kallio and feels confident of running with the Spaniard, as does Cortese.

Reigning World Supersport Sam Lowes (Speed Up, Speed Up) leads the second row, four tenths down on Rabat, with Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing, Forward Kalex) and Kallio alongside him. German GP winner Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter) leads the third row with seventh-best time.

Alex Marquez rode to a brilliant pole position in Moto3, using the impressive horsepower of his single-cylinder Honda NSF250RW to better second-quickest Isaac Vinales by more than two tenths of a second, despite a tumble and earlier rainfall. It was the first pole since June’s Catalan Grand Prix for the 18-year-old younger brother of Marc and Honda’s fifth pole of the Moto3 season.

The youngster’s team-mate Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) also performed well today to secure a place at the top of the second row, after lapping a mere 0.045 seconds slower than third-fastest Niccolo Antonelli (KTM). Both Rins and Marquez need strong results tomorrow after missing out on the podium at last Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Last weekend’s winner Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250RW) qualified eighth today, which puts him alongside seventh-quickest Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) on the third row of the grid. The pair are five and six tenths off pole and know they will need lightning-fast starts and a strong first few laps if they are to race with the lead pack.

Vazquez’s team-mate John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250RW) was 11th best today, just eight tenths off Marquez.

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 55.585s
“I’m happy about pole position today. I had Iannone behind me so the only solution was to push, because I had to set a hot lap. As for tomorrow’s race, we have pole but the toughest rivals will start from the second row, especially Dani. We will see what condition Valentino is in and hopefully he can ride well, because he has also been strong this weekend and I hope Jorge can be in the fight too. I’m expecting a tough battle from start to finish for the win.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m 55.812s
“Today was positive as it didn't rain and we were able to try out tyres in the dry. We are pretty clear now about which direction we will go for the race. It was a pity that we couldn’t get a spot on the front row in qualifying, but it was difficult because the times were extremely close. I hope I can make a good start tomorrow and have a good race.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th – 1m 55.871s
“Actually we have learned a lot today going through Q1 because we realised what went wrong in this morning’s third session which I finished only 11th. We took the wrong direction with the bike setting and some other components, losing a lot of time on the brakes, so I was not able to do a proper fast lap. But finally in the afternoon we went back to our normal setting improving in both Q1 and Q2. I know that taking part in both qualifying sessions makes everybody nervous but we made a very good job. We are 0.2s off pole position so it’s going to be a tough race tomorrow but the most important thing is to preserve the life of the rear tyre till the end.”

Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 14th – 1m 57.428s
“Today I crashed in FP4, just before Q1 session. When I started to brake I lost the front immediately. I don’t know if there was something strange on the track surface, but I saw that Rossi crashed in front of me in the same way. Luckily I haven’t sustained big injuries. Before the crash we tried a different chassis geometry on my first bike, which helped me to get more rear grip, but then after the crash I had to make Q1 with the second bike, with the old set-up, so I couldn’t improve a lot my lap times. The qualifying was not good, but with the new set-up we were a little bit more competitive during FP4, so I’m confident ahead of tomorrow’s race: we will try to make a good start and then to keep our pace, that is not too bad.”

Scott Redding, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 15th – 1m 57.557s
“Today was difficult, because I don’t have a good feeling with the bike; I’m struggling with edge grip and also rear traction, so it was quite difficult for me to feel comfortable. I also had a crash in FP4, therefore I didn’t have a great feeling going into qualifying; we still did not a bad job, anyway, but I need to be more consistent for the race tomorrow. We need to find something which can give me more feeling under braking and corner entry and also to find more rear grip”.

Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 16th – 1m 57.984s
“The times are very close here so we expect a big fight with the other open bikes in the race. As always I will try my best. We hope that I can feel comfortable on the bike tomorrow because conditions here have changed a lot.”

Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing: 17th – 1m – 58.100s
“The 17th position definitely isn’t what we dreamt about, but the good news is that we improved our lap time compared to free practice. I’m close to Aoyama and not so far from Redding. We did good job on set-up, but we still have something to do. We must be sure that the solution we find can work during the whole race. We have partly solved the problems with rear wheel grip, but unfortunately it affected the stability of the front. So we must work on that tomorrow. I hope to solve it and to make good race here in Brno.”

Leon Camier, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 18th – 1m 58.635s
“It’s not gone so bad here. I still have a lot to learn. It’s about me changing the bike and changing my style to suit the bike, that’s the hardest part. The main thing is the tyres and the brakes; the tyres are the biggest thing. You have so much more front that it takes a while to get your head around. Anyway, I will learn more in the race and again in testing on Monday.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Tito Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team: pole position – 2m 01.911s
“We didn’t make such a good job at the last three races, so it’s very important for the championship that we are making a good job here, with pole position and also a good race pace. I am not thinking about my team-mate or anything else, I’m just focusing on my own job. All I can do is give my 100 per cent in every situation – that is all I can do!”

Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock: 2nd – 2m 02.143s
“The times are so tight here, so I’m very happy to be on the front row for the first time this season. Indy was difficult for us so we have worked very hard to come back from that. We have made a good step forward with the bike and I am really looking forward to the race. I hope to be able to stay in the front group and fight for victory.”

Sandro Cortese, Dynavolt Intact GP: 3rd – 2m 02.307s
“I’m really, really happy, especially with my last few laps which were really fast. Everyone is so close on times here that your starting position is very, very important. I’m really looking forward to the race. We have worked hard all weekend to stay in the top five and my rhythm is good. I think the race will be between a big group, but I’m quite calm because I know I have a good race pace.”

Honda Moto3 rider quotes

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0: pole position, 2m 07.691s
“I’m happy because it was a tough session due to the weather, my crash and the traffic on track. It was all a little strange. After my crash, the mechanics worked very hard and I want to apologise to all the team, because it was my mistake. Luckily we salvaged the situation in the best way. For tomorrow we have a good pace but we must continue to work in the warm-up to get everything clear for the race. On the final laps we will need to be aggressive and focused.”

Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 4th – 2m 08.051s
“I'm happy with the result – even more so because I set my time riding alone. I am satisfied because we have improved a lot; if we compare the work done in this Grand Prix so far on the Friday and Saturday with other rounds, we can see that if you are focused on going fast from the beginning, things go differently. I think we have a good race pace, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see how things develop when the tyres get used up. I think it will be a group race and a tough one because of it, so we will have to ride intelligently.”

Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 7th – 2m 08.210s
“I didn’t get the best of qualifying because there was a lot of traffic out there. I started behind one group and tried to make use of the slipstream but it was too difficult, so in the end I tried to push alone. Then I found a slower rider in front of me and that lost me some time on a good lap. I feel not so bad on the bike. We have worked a lot on the front because there’s not much grip and it feels very bumpy, bumpier than before. I think we have a good setting and if I can get away with the fast group we can have a good race.”

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