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Aug 24, 2013

Crutchlow Breaks Lap Record, Earns MotoGP Pole Position At Brno (Updated)

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Cal Crutchlow (35).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Brno, Czech Republic
August 24, 2013

Qualifying Session One Results (top two advance to QP2, all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 1:58.134
2. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:58.169
3. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (ART-Aprilia), 1:58.378
4. Michele PIRRO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:58.812
5. Randy DE PUNIET, France (ART-Aprilia), 1:58.953
6. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (ART-Aprilia), 1:58.983
7. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:59.057
8. Claudio CORTI, Italy (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:59.062
9. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:59.128
10. Lukas PESEK, Czech Republic (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 2:00.522
11. Michael LAVERTY, UK (PBM-Aprilia), 2:00.584
12. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (FTR-Kawasaki), 2:00.653
13. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (ART-Aprilia), 2:00.792
14. Bryan STARING, Australia (FTR-Honda), 2:00.827
15. Martin BAUER, Austria (SUTER-BMW), 2:01.135

Qualifying Session Two Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:55.527
2. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:55.754
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:55.863
4. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:55.868
5. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:55.949
6. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 1:56.014
7. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:56.186
8. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:56.477
9. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:56.825
10. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:56.979
11. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 1:57.455
12. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:58.392

Combined Qualifying Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:55.527
2. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:55.754
3. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:55.863
4. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:55.868
5. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:55.949
6. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 1:56.014
7. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:56.186
8. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:56.477
9. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:56.825
10. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:56.979
11. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 1:57.455
12. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:58.392
13. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (ART-Aprilia), 1:58.378
14. Michele PIRRO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:58.812
15. Randy DE PUNIET, France (ART-Aprilia), 1:58.953
16. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (ART-Aprilia), 1:58.983
17. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:59.057
18. Claudio CORTI, Italy (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:59.062
19. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:59.128
20. Lukas PESEK, Czech Republic (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 2:00.522
21. Michael LAVERTY, UK (PBM-Aprilia), 2:00.584
22. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (FTR-Kawasaki), 2:00.653
23. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (ART-Aprilia), 2:00.792
24. Bryan STARING, Australia (FTR-Honda), 2:00.827
25. Martin BAUER, Austria (SUTER-BMW), 2:01.135

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Records tumble as Crutchlow claims pole position at Brno

Round 11: Czech Republic MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Brno, Saturday 24 August 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 22-23°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 24-24°C; Track 30-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow claimed his second pole position of the season after the British rider recorded a new Circuit Best Lap time of 1'55.527 in qualifying at the Czech Republic Grand Prix.

Crutchlow set the pole-winning time on his penultimate lap to finish 0.227 seconds ahead of GO&FUN Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista who qualified in second place. Bautista’s personal best lap time was also under the existing qualifying lap record, the Spaniard narrowly beating compatriot Marc Marquez who will line up on the grid in P3 after the Repsol Honda rider set a qualifying time of 1’55.863. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards was the top CRT qualifier for the second race in a row, the American rider qualifying for QP2 and finishing twelfth overall with a time of 1’58.392. All riders in QP2 set their best lap time on the combination of the softer rear and harder front slicks.

Today’s weather conditions were fine but slightly cooler than yesterday with track temperatures peaking at 34°C. Riders took advantage of the good conditions to perform race simulations in FP4, with both the softer and harder rear slick options tested in the final practice session. Rear tyre choice for the race could be influenced by tomorrow’s weather as some riders may use the harder rear slicks if warmer conditions are present for the race, although the majority of riders seem to favour the softer rear slick at this stage. Front tyre choice for the race is likely to be largely in favour of the hard compound front slick.

Current weather forecasts indicate a chance of rain tomorrow afternoon so there is a possibility of a wet race. The next scheduled MotoGP™ session is Morning Warm Up at 930 local time (GMT +2) with the race set to start at 1300.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“That was a great qualifying session and I am pleased that we have had a new qualifying record set in two consecutive races! We had fine weather again today so there was plenty of time for teams to find a good setup for the race, with some riders trying the harder rear slicks in FP4. Although the harder rear performed well, I think this option will only be considered for the race if track temperatures are higher tomorrow. The softer rear slicks also exhibited strong performance as well as good durability, so if the same cool conditions as today occur tomorrow, I think this option will be widely used for the race. Front tyre choice was similar to yesterday’s practice sessions with the hard compound being preferred by the majority of riders. There is a chance of rain tomorrow and although personally I hope we have a dry race, we are prepared for whatever the weather brings!”

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Front row start for Marquez in 3rd with Pedrosa in 4th

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez will start tomorrow's Czech Republic GP from 3rd position, his fifth consecutive front row and eighth of the season. Teammate Dani Pedrosa was just 0.005 off Marc and will start from 4th position for the 22 lap race.

As usual, it was a hectic qualifying session and Marc was unable to improve on his second exit with a fresh rear tyre. His time of 1'55.863 recorded on lap three on his first run placing him on the front row. On the other hand Dani, who has been struggling to find the right set up all weekend, was able to find a setting he was happy with and improve with his final flying lap and log a time of 1'55.868 on lap seven.

Marc Marquez 3rd 1'55.863
"I'm not entirely happy because I had the confidence and determination to fight for pole! I could not take advantage of the second tyre because there was a lot of traffic and some riders were waiting for a tow. But it is what it is - one day I will look to follow them, another day it will be the opposite! With regards to the race, I feel confident as I'm comfortable on the bike and have a good foundation and good pace. If the race is dry, then I feel ready to challenge for the win"

Dani Pedrosa 4th 1'55.868
"The sessions were pretty difficult today, because we had trouble finding a setup that I was happy with. In the last minute we were able to improve the setup, coming up with something that is more suited to my riding and which allowed me to ride more comfortably. Still, the times for everyone have been very close throughout the weekend, so we will have to fight hard. The important thing will be holding up physically, getting a good start and having a good race -whatever the conditions"

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team:

Challenging Brno Qualifying for Lorenzo and Rossi

Brno (Czech Republic), 24th August 2013

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi delivered fifth and seventh respectively today in qualifying for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Czech Republic.

Lorenzo has been on dominant form since the first free practice session yesterday morning and a constant presence in the top two positions as one of the fastest riders on track with a highly competitive race pace. This afternoon however the reigning world champion was unable to replicate that form in the 15 minute qualifying heat with too much spinning on the rear tyre holding him back. Despite a promising last lap with initial red splits the Mallorcan had to settle for fifth on the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s race after being unable to retain the momentum up the hill to the finish line.

Teammate Rossi shared a similar qualifying experience to Lorenzo. Having been quick to get onto a very competitive race pace early in the weekend practice the Italian was unable to make best use of the qualifying tyres in the quick fire session. Excessive tyre spin prevented Rossi from closing on the front row so he will start from the third row in seventh for tomorrow’s race.

Jorge Lorenzo
5th / 1'55.949 / 7 laps
“I waited for much more because I wanted to improve seven tenths or a second from the pace to make a fast lap but I couldn't take profit from the power of the new tyre. We had so much spinning and we went slow. The pace from all the top riders is quite similar so it’s going to be important to get a good start and try to overtake some riders at the beginning of the race and then we will see how we are.”

Valentino Rossi
7th / 1'56.186 / 7 laps

“At the end I’m not so happy because seventh position is my worst position of the weekend and it was qualifying. I improved my lap time but the other guys were faster. My target was to start in the first five but unfortunately I have to start from seventh on the third row. Anyway, I have a good pace and was always with the front guys in the free practices. Now we have to make some changes to the bike, we have been competitive all weekend so I think and I hope we can be competitive during the race. Yesterday the harder tyre we used was good but today it was no good, maybe because it was ten degrees less, so I think we will use the soft tomorrow.”

Yamaha Factory Racing Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager
“A very tight qualifying but of course not the result we wanted to see. A lack of grip on the rear was causing a lot of issues; it looked to be better in free practice this morning as we did have a very good pace. We will try to make the best package possible for tomorrow and go for it.”

Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli
Team Director
“The qualifying didn't go quite as we wanted, but we have a good package and the race pace is very competitive for both Jorge and Vale. Of course we will continue working tonight to make it even better and then we are ready for the race. Unfortunately the weather forecast is not good for tomorrow so maybe the work we have done so far will have to change direction to give us a good rain set up. Let’s see what we can put together tonight, we will be ready whatever the circumstances.”

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

At the end of a challenging qualifying day at the Brno circuit, site of the eleventh round of the MotoGP World Championship, the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team sat in eleventh place.

During the morning’s FP3 session, which serves as the last chance for riders to bypass Q1, Andrea Iannone was more determined than ever to further lower his best time from yesterday, but with about eight minutes remaining, he lost the front and crashed in turn five. Fortunately, the Italian was uninjured, but he lost out on the chance to transfer directly into Q2, which would have given his painful shoulder a short break.

Following a satisfying final free-practice session, in which Iannone improved his best time by .414 seconds, he began Q1, only to enter turn one too quickly due to cold brakes and run into the gravel. Undaunted, he returned to the track three minutes from the end and jumped to the top of the time sheets, putting him into the final qualifying session.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“This morning I tried to push a bit harder, and I can accept the fact that I fell. In Q1, on the other hand, I was honestly a bit stupid, as I didn’t heat the brakes enough on the first lap. When I tried to brake for turn one, I went straight and ended up in the gravel. I tried to slow down as much as possible, but finally I had to lay it down to avoid hitting the air fence. I tried to get going again, but I wasn’t able. Fortunately, I got to the garage in time to go out with the second bike, and I managed to get into Q2. My shoulder still hurts, and it certainly didn’t help that I fell on it again today. Anyway, I improved my time again, and given my current physical condition, I’m pleased with the work we’re doing. I hope I can have a good race tomorrow, because I think it’s possible. As always, a huge thank-you to Ducati and the team, who really help me a lot.”

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Record lap fires Crutchlow to stunning pole position in Brno

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow claimed the second pole position of his career this afternoon with a stunning qualifying performance that made the British rider the fastest man ever on two wheels at the Brno track.

A stunning lap of 1.55.527 beat reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo’s 2012 pole position record of 1.55.799 to secure Crutchlow top spot in qualifying by well over 0.2s.

Crutchlow started QP2 brimming with confidence after a best lap of 1.56.156 saw him set the fastest time in free practice. He was immediately on a blisteringly fast pace in QP2 and his first flying lap of 1.56.081 sent him soaring to the top of the leaderboard.

Crutchlow’s sixth lap of the 15-minute session though was a record-breaking stunner, the 27-year-old improving by over 0.6s to secure him a second premier class pole position after he claimed top spot in qualifying at the historic Dutch TT in Assen back in June.

Brno was the scene of Crutchlow’s maiden MotoGP podium one year ago and he will start tomorrow’s 22-lap race with optimism that he can register a fifth podium in the 2013 World Championship.
Crutchlow’s record-breaking exploits showed once again the high level of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team package and today saw another fantastic performance from teammate Bradley Smith.

The rookie equalled his best ever qualifying result by taking a richly deserved sixth position, his best lap of 1.56.014 less than 0.5s behind Crutchlow’s scintillating pace and just over 0.1s from securing the 22-year-old a phenomenal first front row.

Smith has been lapping comfortably inside the top 10 all weekend and his best time in QP2 perfectly illustrated the major progress he is making, as he was almost two seconds faster compared to the pace he set in first practice.

Smith has now qualified inside the top 10 for the last five races and he is looking forward to a strong race tomorrow to help him strengthen his challenge for a top 10 position in the World Championship standings.

Cal Crutchlow 1st 1.55.527 – 7 laps :
“I am really happy to be on pole position again and I have to say a massive thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It has not been an easy weekend while we have been working on improving the bike, but in every session we have progressed and got faster. I felt really good on that lap and to set the circuit best lap is a great achievement for the whole team to be proud of. I just pushed as hard as I could and it is nice to take another pole position because I feel this is more of a true pole after Assen. Jorge wasn’t in Assen but this time it feels great to be fastest with everybody on track. I am looking forward to the race and the objective is to finish on the podium like last year. It would be great to have a strong result tomorrow so I can go to my home race in Silverstone with some big confidence.”

Bradley Smith 6th 1.56.014 – 7 laps :
“Today was another great day for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It is very exciting to have Cal on pole position again and from my side of the garage it is a brilliant achievement to be in the top six. The atmosphere in the team is great and both of us are really looking forward to the race tomorrow. I am less than 0.5s away from pole position and very close to the top three and it shows the progress I am making. We’ve made some changes to the front-end of the bike and it is really working. Now my main focus will be to remain smooth at the start of the race and not make mistakes like I did in Indianapolis. It is going to be a hard race over 22 laps because this track is very physical and it is very important to keep on a good line. I will try and get a good rest tonight and be ready for tomorrow. Getting a good start like in Indianapolis will be important and then I will try and learn as much as possible.”

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Brno, 24 August: as announced yesterday by LCR racer Stefan Bradl (who led the first day of practices), today’s second outing at Brno race track has been extremely tough for the German and his squad. Bradl was warily happy with his good result on day one and he was completely right because he could only get a third row spot (1’56.477) ahead tomorrow’s 22-lap race.

Stefan Bradl

“Definitely it’s a frustrating day for me and the Team. I am not happy with the bike; actually I am missing edge grip and can not carry the corner speed I would like. Our qualifying session was very tough because I was not able to take advantage of a new rear tyre because I was pushing the front too much into the corner trying to make the lap time. As I opened the throttle I could not use the rear tyre because we had too much spinning. I am not able to make a good exit out of the corners and for this reason we are losing too much time. We are working hard to find a solution but, so far, we are struggling to find a good setting”.

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Edwards qualifies as best CRT at Brno

The NGM Mobile Forward Racing team gets to participate in Q2 at the Brno circuit. For the second time this season Colin Edwards qualifies as best CRT this season. The American rider seems to have found the right feeling with his FTR – Kawasaki bike, allowing him to start tomorrow’s race from the 4th row of the grid at Brno in 12th place.

Teammate Claudio Corti will start the race from the 18th position after a series of problems suffered during the afternoon session, making it impossible for him to repeat the morning lap times. After making a series of modifications that did not work out as expected the Italian is now focusing on going over today’s data in order to solve these problems before tomorrows qualifying.

Marco Curioni, Managing Director

“I am very happy because we have been able to be the best CRT in qualifying for the second time in little less than a week after Indy. This means that we are constantly progressing, the work we are doing is good and that we are on the right track. A special thank to Colin for proving how good of a rider he is and I would also like to thank every single one of our team members for the work done.”

Colin Edwards

“Honestly when we rolled out yesterday we knew the bike had potential, we just had to play around with it, work with what we more or less found at Laguna and Indy. Today was a couple of tweaks here and couple clicks there and we made the bike work better. I could string 1´58.7s and 1´58.8s together so went out there, put my head down, new tires, did the first lap and honestly thought that I could maybe do 1´58.4s and when I saw 1´58.1 I thought that was pretty quick. Its over half a second quicker than I’ve gone all weekend. My team has been doing an awesome job, we have been understanding this bike better specially in terms of the electronics and its all coming together, being a little patience and we finally got this bike working, I am happy about it.”

Claudio Corti

“The morning session went really well today but during the afternoon session I struggled a lot, unable to replicate the morning lap times. During FP4 we tried new modifications that did not end up being useful and the change in temperature of the track has probably prevented me from being any faster. I am aware that in turn one is where I lose all my time compared to Colin: I have to find the right line in order to try to improve my lap times. I don’t know if I should be either sad or happy given that if I had been a two point five tenth faster I could have finished in 14th place. We will shave to wait to see what happens tomorrow, they say that it might rain tomorrow. I would like to congratulate Colin for today’s good performance and for taking the team back to parc fermé as best CRT. Lets see what happens tomorrow.”

Sergio Verbena, MotoGP Technical Director

“After yesterday’s difficulties we are very happy of today’s result. We have improved a lot and we were able to take part for the second time this season in Q2 with Colin. It was a great performance on his part, good lap times, and amazing job and has show a consistency in the progress we have been making in this second half of the season. On the other hand Claudio had several problems during qualifying and was unable to repeat the morning lap times. He could have qualified further up the grid; we will analyze the data and keep working towards being in the best possible conditions for the race. Colin has a good starting grid position and a good pace, we have all our chances to be in the fight for best CRT tomorrow.”

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Abraham will start to the home race from twenty-third position

Karel Abraham reached only twenty-third position during qualifying practice in Brno Circuit. Therefor he will start to the race from eighth row on the grid. The rider was force to ride under local anesthetics of injured shoulder. The race will start tomorrow at 1 pm.

Karel Abraham
„It was a true disaster today, even if I got so much of anesthetics I really have to push hard to stay on the bike for fifteen minutes. So I’m very curious how I will be able to stay on the bike during the race. We are struggling little bit with the bike well the front either or rear. We have the warm up and I believe that it will be better. In the evening I’m going to see the doctor again, I will try to rest more and I believe I won’t feel worst. If it had not been home race we would consider to race, but in Brno I want to stay on the grid.“

Marco Grana, chief mechanic of team Cardion AB Motoracing
„It is difficult to want be under twentieth position if Karel is in this condition. We made a lot of changes on the bike to make the bike better and calmer for Karel, but we cannot change the circuit that is extremely tough for acceleration on the exit from the corner. Karel will try the warm up without anesthetics and he will take them for the race. I know that we will do the best. What will be after is the question. I think we will need at least one month to get back to good results.“

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

The search for the feeling with the Desmosedici GP13 continues for Michele Pirro, who is back in the Ignite Pramac Racing Team pits in place of the injured Ben Spies. The Italian is still struggling to find the right bike setup, and he ended the second day of the bwin Grand Prix Ceske Republiky with a spot on the fifth row of tomorrow’s grid.

Although the Italian sat in second place for most of Q1, his time of 1:58.812, which was a little more than six tenths of a second from that of fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone, is still far from his and the team’s objectives, and it wasn’t enough to put him into Q2 for this eleventh round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Work continues in the garage in an effort to find an improved setup for tomorrow’s race.

Michele Pirro – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“It didn’t go as expected. I’m still struggling to find the feeling with the front of the bike, and I’m a little bit disappointed. I was hoping to do something better, but as I said yesterday, I only rode this bike once before this weekend, and I have to adapt and get used to it. The bike I usually ride, the ‘lab,’ has a different chassis and behaves differently. I hope I can get a good result tomorrow, and I’ll try to do my best, of course. Tomorrow night I’ll go to Misano for a scheduled test, and then I’ll fly to Silverstone, where I’ll compete again with this bike. It won’t certainly be easy to jump from one to the other, but it’s my job, and I’ll do everything possible to achieve a good result.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Czech Republic GP: Dovizioso ninth, Hayden tenth in Brno qualifying

Following qualifying for the Czech Republic GP, Andrea Dovizioso’s and Nicky Hayden’s positions were the same as yesterday—ninth and tenth, respectively—but the Italian in particular was happier with his performance than he had been at the end of day one.

Conditions were cooler in the Q2 session than they had been on Friday afternoon, with the air temperature measuring 21º C and the track surface registering 30º (70º and 86º F), and Dovizioso’s Desmosedici GP13 gave him a good enough feeling that his final lap put him onto the third row for tomorrow. Hayden, meanwhile, is still unsatisfied with his bike’s setup, and he and his team will try to make a positive step in tomorrow morning's warm-up session to better prepare him for the race.

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:56.825)
“We knew it would be tough, but it went better than we could’ve expected before today's sessions. I thought it would be difficult to get under 1’57”, but I was able to do it. There was a bit of traffic on the track, so I was waiting to get a free lap, and I managed to do a good time on the last lap. I’m happy because we were able to improve over yesterday, when it was warmer and it was hard for all the Ducati riders. Things went better today, both in the morning and in the afternoon. The weather conditions for tomorrow are somewhat uncertain, but with this temperature we can have a decent pace.”

Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:56.979)
“If I’m honest, today hasn’t been as good as we’d wished. We worked extremely hard and tried a lot of stuff to get a better feeling and improve the bike over the bumps and in the turns, but we haven’t been able to make any big steps. Maybe I confused myself a little bit too. It’s certainly frustrating for the gap to be so big, not just to the front, but also to the group ahead of me. In the morning warm-up, we’ll see what kind of a setup we can find for the race.”

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Cal Crutchlow has stormed to his second MotoGP™ pole position for the bwin Grand Prix Ceské republiky. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider will start alongside GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez, while Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo round out the top five.

Following Friday’s opening pair of practice sessions, Crutchlow had been unhappy with the new fuel tank fitted to his bike, but appeared to rectify this by setting the pace in third free practice on Saturday morning. He would go on to claim his second MotoGP pole in five race weekends, following that of Assen at the end of June.

However, a second career pole looked to be heading the way of Bautista after the Gresini rider intelligently picked up Marquez’s slipstream to dip underneath Lorenzo’s 2012 qualifying record. Following a stop in the pit lane, Crutchlow would go on to beat this by over two tenths of a second thanks to his rapid time of 1’55.527.

With Bautista on the front row for the second time in three races, championship leader - and winner of the last three Grands Prix - Marquez crucially starts ahead of his closest two title contenders, with teammate and last year’s Brno winner Pedrosa only five thousandths of a second in arrears and Lorenzo a further 81 thousandths behind. The reigning World Champion expected more, though, not least after testing at Brno in the mid-season break as well as beginning the weekend as fastest rider.

Tech3’s Bradley Smith equalled his qualifying best by beating the second Yamaha Factory Racing rider Valentino Rossi to sixth place, as LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati Team duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden completed the first group of ten. Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone made it to the shootout for 11th place - despite a collision with an air fence early in Q1 - whereas NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards was encouraged to feature in Q2 for the second time within the space of a week, equipped with the standard MotoGP ECU software package. This left usual CRT pace-setter Aleix Espargaro third in Q1 and therefore 13th on the grid, hindered by a crash in fourth free practice which immediately preceded the qualifying session.

Returning to action to cover for the injured Ben Spies at Ignite Pramac Racing, Michele Pirro will line up 14th, as wildcard Martin Bauer backs up the grid in 25th position on an S&B Suter. Incidentally, Bauer’s Remus Racing Team makes history this weekend by becoming the first Austrian-entered outfit to compete in the premier class of Grand Prix racing.

Taking place after the Moto2™ race but before that of Moto3™, Sunday’s MotoGP battle commences at 1pm local time (GMT +2).


Japan’s Takaaki Nakagami has claimed his second Moto2™ pole position ahead of Sunday’s bwin Grand Prix Ceské republiky. The Italtrans Racing Team rider beat Tuenti HP 40 pair Pol Espargaro and Tito Rabat, who posted identical lap times. Championship leader Scott Redding could manage no more than 13th position.

Nakagami’s qualifying-topping result is his first since Le Mans, where he started on pole but threw away the lead of the race courtesy of an unforced error. In second place, Espargaro – who starts ahead of time-matching teammate Rabat, as he registered the lap first – will set off some 11 positions ahead of title rival Redding, making for a critical Sunday afternoon for both riders.

Behind Rabat - who won at Indianapolis last weekend and earlier on Saturday was confirmed as joining the Marc VDS Racing Team for the next two Moto2 seasons - the top five is completed by Redding’s Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio and Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese, as the reigning Moto3™ World Champion achieves his best qualifying result so far since stepping up to the intermediate class.

Sachsenring victor Jordi Torres will line up sixth for Aspar Team Moto2, ahead of Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco and Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi, with the top ten completed by Aspar’s Nico Terol and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter. Further back, on Row 5, Redding will start ahead of Nakagami’s teammate Julian Simon and NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi.

Two riders hit trouble in qualifying, as both Tuenti HP 40’s Axel Pons and Technomag carXpert’s Randy Krummenacher suffered crashes. Sunday’s Moto2 race will be the first of the day, starting at 11:20am local time (GMT +2).


Alex Rins, winner of the last two Moto3™ races, has claimed a third consecutive pole position for this weekend’s bwin Grand Prix Ceské republiky. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider will start alongside Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou, with championship leader Luis Salom in fifth place.

Qualifying in the Czech Republic marked the first time this weekend that Rins had topped a session, as title rivals Viñales and Salom had led the way in practice. The magic number for the Barcelona rider was 2’07.622, impressively over half a second quicker than nearest challenger and compatriot Viñales as France’s Masbou claimed his first front row starting position since Silverstone last year. Jack Miller’s fourth place was arguably just as notable, as the Australian Caretta Technology – RTG rider had undergone surgery for a broken collarbone earlier this week.

Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who leads the championship from Viñales and Rins by nine and 16 points respectively, will start from the middle of Row 2, having been a second slower than Rins who is on pole for the fifth time this year; incidentally, Salom is also riding injured after sustaining damage to a foot in a highside crash at Indianapolis a week ago, leaving him temporarily on crutches.

There was an incident this afternoon for Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez, who will start sixth, whereas the top ten is rounded out by Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3), Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo, who also crashed in qualifying) plus Mahindra Racing’s Efren Vazquez and Miguel Oliveira.

Other crashes came for GO&FUN Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli (16th on the grid, jumping up one spot due to a six-place penalty for CIP Moto3’s Alan Techer) and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Eric Granado (15th). Wildcard riders Andrea Migno (GMT Racing) and Jules Danilo (Marc VDS Racing Team) will set off from 32nd and 34th spots, while the 35-rider grid is completed by Luca Amato, who has replaced Danny Webb at Ambrogio Racing.

Sunday’s Moto3 race commences at 2:30pm local time (GMT +2); in a change to the usual schedule, it will follow the races of Moto2 and MotoGP.