CzechGP: Johann Zarco stuns with Brno pole

Published on August 8, 2020
By Short Shift News

Johann Zarco has claimed his first MotoGP pole since the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2018, with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli on the front row.

The first 15-minute session was nothing short of dramatic, with Alex Rins and Brad Binder promoting themselves into the pole shootout. Takaaki Nakagami was to join Rins, but exceeded track limits at turn 12, losing his fastest lap of the session.

As the sun continued to beat down in the Czech hills which saw the track temperature rocket to 49 degrees, MotoGP bikes roared to life for the final 15-minute qualifying session of the day.

Aleix immediately ran into issues, breaking down at the end of pit-lane, but got going with the aid of his Aprilia mechanics.

The favourite tyre choice across the field was the hard front and soft rear, with the exception of the Monster Energy Yamaha duo with Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi running the medium front tyre.

Viñales was the first rider to start a flying lap, followed by Franco Morbidelli and Rossi.

Viñales set the pace with team-mate Rossi slotting into second, but Red Bull KTM rider Pol Espargaro stormed to the top of the timesheets as he laid the gauntlet early on.

With the pole time estimated to be a 1:55, Quartararo rocketed to the top of the timesheet with a 1:55.990 and dragged the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro onto the front row.

Rossi continued on for a second lap, but failed to improve his lap as he hung onto his protege. Morbidelli jumped up to fifth, ahead of Rossi.

Eyes were then back on Quartararo and Espargaro, both of which who were on for provisional poles. Quartararo lost time in the final two sectors, while Aleix found time in sector four to go second fastest.

Alex Rins was the final rider to set a lap time. The Q1 runner left the pit-lane with just over seven minutes on the clock as he continues to recover from his damaged shoulder.

Viñales was the only rider to continue on in his first run, setting the fastest first sector. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider backed up his strong first sector with a red second sector as he looked to topple Quartararo and deny the Frenchman from his fifth pole in a row.

The 2013 Moto3 World Champion lost a fraction of time in sector three and jumped up from the front row, demoting Pol Espargaro’s KTM.

Meanwhile, Alex Rins came to the end of his first flying lap, setting the sixth quickest time, moving up ahead of Valentino Rossi.

Alex Rins on the Suzuki in Brno (credit:

As we entered the final minutes of qualifying, Quartararo once again found Aleix Espargaro glued to the rear wheel of his Yamaha M1, but eventually gave the Spaniard track position.

Red sectors were flying in, with Morbidelli and Johann Zarco both two tenths under Quartararo’s provisional top time.

Cal Crutchlow crashed out at turn nine, bringing out a yellow flag and ruining some riders’ laps.

Morbidelli crossed the line and went second fastest, but it was Avintia Ducati’s Johann Zarco who stormed to the top of the timesheets.

Pol Espargaro then shocked the field to go third fastest as Quartararo began his final flying lap in Brno. However, the KTM rider had his lap time cancelled and dropped to sixth.

Eyes were on Quartararo as we waited to see whether the Frenchman could topple his compatriot, but slid off his M1 Yamaha, meaning Zarco will start from pole. The Frenchman started on the front row last year.

Zarco will start on pole position ahead of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli.

Aleix Espargaro heads row two with Viñales and Pol Espargaro alongside.

Brad Binder heads row three ahead of factory Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and Suzuki Team ECSTAR’s Joan Mir.

Valentino Rossi heads the fourth row ahead of Alex Rins and late crasher Cal Crutchlow.

Other talking points from qualifying is that Andrea Dovizioso will line up in 18th.


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