Marc Marquez claimed his ninth pole position of the 2014 season during qualifying at Brno. The Repsol Honda ace, who will be looking to extend his perfect season to 11 victories on Sunday, will start the Czech GP alongside two Ducatis, with factory rider Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac Racing's Andrea Iannone completing the front row.
Marquez bested his Ducati challengers by 0.129 and 0.141 respectively. The qualifying performances of the Ducati riders are noteworthy, as Dovizioso secures his second consecutive front-row start after qualifying second at Indianapolis. For Iannone, the third-place grid position is the first-ever Row 1 qualification of his MotoGP career.
The Ducatis were trailed by Bradley Smith, another rider exceeding expectation during Brno qualifying. The Tech 3 Yamaha pilot placed fourth ahead of Marquez teammate Dani Pedrosa, as well as the factory Yamaha duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
Pedrosa lapped 0.227 adrift of his pole position teammate. The second Repsol Honda set a virtually identical pace to Lorenzo and Rossi, who trailed by a scant 0.003 and 0.006 in the final timing.
Leading Row 3, Rossi suffered from a high-speed crash in Free Practice 4 prior to the Qualyfing session, which injured his little finger. The nine-time world champion had logged the fastest lap of the day in FP4 before the crash, but was able to participate in the qualifying though grimacing in pain as he put on his glove. He later reported in team PR that the finger is damaged, but not broken.
Stefan Bradl will line up next to Rossi on Row 3, alongside Tech 3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaro. The other Espargaro, Aleix rounds out the top 10 aboard the Forward Racing entry.
"I'm happy about the pole position today," said Marquez in a Repsol Honda team press release. "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".
2014 MotoGP Brno Qualifying Results:
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 1'55.585
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Factory Ducati) 1'55.714
3. Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) 1'55.726
4. Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) 1'55.730
5. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 1'55.812
6. Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha) 1'55.815
7. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) 1'55.821
8. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) 1'55.871
9. Pol Espargarò (Tech 3 Yamaha) 1'55.899
10. Aleix Espargaro (Forward Racing) 1'56.090
11. Cal Crutchlow (Factory Ducati) 1'56.129
12. Yonny Hernandez (Pramac Racing) 1'56.622
13. Michele Pirro (Factory Ducati) 1'57.093
14. Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda) 1'57.428
15. Scott Redding (Gresini Honda) 1'57.557
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar) 1'57.984
17. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) 1'58.100
18. Leon Camier (Drive M7 Aspar) 1'58.635
19. Danilo Petrucci (IodaRacing Team) 1'58.863
20. Alex De Angelis (Forward Racing) 1'58.948
21. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) 1'58.968
22. Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport) 1'58.968
23. Broc Parkes (Paul Bird Motorsport) 1'59.581
24. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing) 2'00.117