Brno MotoGP: Zarco takes shock pole for Avintia Ducati
Johann Zarco took a shock MotoGP pole position for Avintia Ducati at the Czech Grand Prix after a late crash for Fabio Quartararo, while Andrea Dovizioso was only 18th.
Zarco put the KTM on the front row at Brno one year ago in wet conditions, but a week later had quit the Austrian marque amidst a miserable season on the RC16.
Signed by Ducati to ride for the underfunded Avintia squad on a year-old Ducati, Zarco stunned with his first pole since his Tech 3 days in 2018.
The early part of the session was topped by KTM’s Pol Espargaro with a 1m56.142s, though this was quickly beaten by Quartararo with the best lap of the weekend so far of a 1m55.990s.
Following the Petronas Yamaha rider on that lap, Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro pulled out a surprise lap just 0.084s adrift of Quartararo’s to go second provisionally with eight minutes remaining.
As the clock clicked into the final moment, the timing screen was ablaze with fastest sectors, with Zarco tucked in behind KTM’s Brad Binder.
Continuing to find time as the lap wore on, Zarco produced a 1m55.687s to steal pole away from Quartararo by 0.303 seconds.
Quartararo tried to take the position back, but crashed at the penultimate corner on his final effort and had to settle for second – a position he was promoted to after KTM’s Espargaro had his best lap scrubbed having set it under yellow flags.
It also promoted Franco Morbidelli – who crashed in FP4 – up to the front row on the sister Petronas Yamaha, while Aleix Espargaro scored Aprilia’s best-ever MotoGP qualifying result in fourth.
Maverick Vinales will start from fifth, but was sent out for his final lap too late by Yamaha and couldn’t set another effort.
Pol Espargaro brings up the rear of the second row, with teammate Binder, the next-best Ducati of Danilo Petrucci and Suzuki’s Joan Mir making up row three.
Valentino Rossi was 10th on the second works team Yamaha ahead of Q1 graduate Alex Rins (Suzuki) and LCR’s Cal Crutchlow, who crashed at Turn 9 late on.
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