BRNO, Czech Republic: Championship leader Marc Marquez’s dominance of this year’s MotoGP season continued yesterday as he claimed his ninth pole position for today’s Czech Republic MotoGP in Brno.
The 21-year-old Spanish Honda rider, who has won all 10 MotoGP races this year, will be accompanied by the Italian Ducati duo Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone on the front row.
Dovizioso trailed Marquez, who won this race last year, by 0.129sec in the qualifying and Iannone was a further 0.012sec behind.
“In free practice four we tried some things and I did not like it,” said Marquez. “So in qualifying we came back to the normal setup like this morning and I felt much better.”
Dovizioso, who earned his third front-row start of the season, said he had felt much better at Brno than a week ago at Indy, where he also took the second spot in qualifying.
“I’m really happy about this weekend because every practice we were really fast and really competitive compared to Indy,” he said.
“The race tomorrow will be really interesting.”
Iannone took the season’s second front-row position after clinging to Marquez’s bike for a whole lap. “Marc helped me a little bit for this lap. I’m happy because I pushed very hard and I tried my best in this session,” he said.
Britain’s Yamaha rider Bradley Smith took the fourth spot and will start from row two together with two Spaniards, Dani Pedrosa on a Honda and Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha.
Lorenzo’s Italian team-mate Valentino Rossi came in seventh struggling with pain following a heavy crash in the last free practice earlier yesterday that required an x-ray on his left hand.
The track was dry after two mild showers earlier in the day that had disrupted the Moto3 qualifying session, and forecasters predict better weather for Sunday.
Marquez is looking to become the first premier class rider ever to win the 11 opening races of a season. Italian legend Giacomo Agostini won the opening 10 races of the premier class season in 1968, 1969 and 1970 at a time when he dominated the sport.
However, no one has ever won the first eleven -- in part because Agostini’s perfect season in 1968 comprised only 10 events.
“Honestly the most important tomorrow is to finish on the podium. I expect a tough race,” said Marquez.
“I’m confident, but I expect that Dani will be strong and also Valentino -- we’ll see how is his finger but I think he will be strong too -- and then Jorge,” he added.
After 10 of 18 MotoGP races this year, Marquez leads the championship standings with a perfect 250 points, 89 ahead of fellow Catalan Pedrosa and 93 ahead of Rossi.
Marquez’s younger brother Alex took the Moto3 pole position while fellow Spaniard Esteve Rabat topped the Moto2 qualifying.