Marquez equals Doohan for pole record in Brno; Zarco, KTM on front row

Marc Marquez matches Mick Doohan for GP pole positions in style with savvy turn in Brno as Johann Zarco rediscovers his form with a maiden KTM front row

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda MotoGP

MARC MARQUEZ notched up his 58th career MotoGP pole position to join Mike Doohan at the head of the all-time ‘Saturday successes’ with a strategicaqlly savvy performance in qualifying for the Czech Republic MotoGP.

On a day hampered by inclement weather conditions, the track was only just beginning to reveal a dry line as Q2 got underway prompting a flurry of activity in the pit-lane as teams attempted to second-guess the changeable conditions.

And yet, despite inevitably leaning towards caution with his healthy 58 point lead, it was Marquez that took the risk first by heading out on slick tyres with just over five minutes remaining.

Giving him time to ‘wind up’ his momentum, it would prove a masterstroke with Marquez quickly taking chunks out of the top time to stop the clock at 2m 02.753s, putting him a full 2.5secs ahead of his nearest rival.

It was a stylish way to bring his total up to that of Doohan’s when it comes to single-lap prowess, the two-wheel legends toe-to-toe at the head of the leaderboard. It is position Doohan is almost certainly going to give up fairly soon…

With the evolving weather shaking things up a bit down the grid, Jack Miller scored his second front row start of the season for Pramac Ducati as the only other rider brave enough to fit slicks in the closing stages. However, despite the top time, Miller did blot his copybook with a tumble in the closing stages.

Johann Zarco - Red Bull KTM MotoGP

Johann Zarco turns first Q1 of 2019 into KTM's first MotoGP front row

In a year that has seen him barely break away from the back of the field, Johann Zarco was as surprised as anyone to land in third position. Though the Frenchman enjoyed two years of front-running form on a Yamaha in 2017 and 2018, he has struggled to find his comfort on the factory KTM RC16, so much so that he hadn’t even progressed beyond Q1 before this weekend.

Nevertheless, not only did he achieve that milestone but he’d go all the way to giving KTM its first ever MotoGP front row start, going against the trend of form that has largely seen Pol Espargaro dominate Zarco. Still, having joined Zarco in reaching Q2 via Q1, Espargaro added to the joy for KTM by putting his m machine fifth.

Yamaha on the back foot as Rossi leads M1 quartet

The Spaniard will have Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati and Alex Rins’ Suzuki starting either side of him on Sunday, while Valentine Rossi – despite being down in seventh place – was still the best of the Yamaha contingent, ahead of Maverick Vinales in ninth – split by Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci.

Fabio Quartararo, Cal Crutchlow and Franco Morbidelli round out the front four rows, with Takaaki Nakagami best of the riders that didn’t make it past Q1 in 13th, ahead of Pecco Bagnaia and the impressive Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman showing his experience to comfortably out-qualify young Suzuki factortregular Joan Mir.