Zarco takes shock Brno pole as Quartararo crashes - The Race

Zarco takes shock Brno pole as Quartararo crashes

Aug 8 2020
By Matt Beer

Johann Zarco achieved an extraordinary upset to take Brno MotoGP pole for Ducati’s third-tier Avintia team on a year-old bike, as championship leader Fabio Quartararo crashed.

Quartararo will still start second, and was not on course to depose fellow Frenchman Zarco even before he fell.

Zarco’s pole completes an incredible turnaround from his dramatic and ill-tempered split with the works KTM team last summer.

He moved via a Honda stint to Avintia – a team he had previously heavily criticised – in the hope of working his way up the Ducati pecking order in the future.

Rapid throughout practice, Zarco took pole by a comfortable three tenths of a second on a day when some of MotoGP’s biggest teams faced back of the grid embarrassment.

The SRT Petronas Yamaha team completes the front row, with practice pacesetters Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli alongside Zarco.

In another underdog upset, Aleix Espargaro showed what Aprilia is capable of after its Jerez disappointments by qualifying fourth – helped by following Quartararo on his best lap.

The works Yamahas will start fifth and 10th with Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi, split by the factory KTMs of Pol Espagaro and Brad Binder, leading works Ducati man Danilo Petrucci and the Suzuki of Joan Mir.

Pol Espargaro was on course for the front row had he not had a lap deleted due to a yellow-flag infringement.

That yellow was for a crash by Cal Crutchlow, who was lighting up the timing screens on the lap when he fell. He is still the highest Honda on the grid in 12th, behind Alex Rins’s Suzuki.

While the shock stars celebrated their results, qualifying was miserable for two teams that expected to be fighting for the title.

At a track where he won in 2018 and finished second last year, Andrea Dovizioso’s problems worsened as he struggled to eighth place in Q1 – leaving him 18th on the grid.

He lost one lap to yellow flags for a crash by Bradley Smith, but that would’ve made no difference to his position.

Ducati at least fared very slightly better than the works Honda team. In the absence of Marc Marquez, the Repsol bikes were slowest of all for the first time in their history.

Marquez’s stand-in Stefan Bradl will start 20th, with Alex Marquez – who crashed in practice four just ahead of qualifying – 21st.

Honda had started the weekend brightly with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami continuing his Jerez promise to set the pace on Friday morning, but Nakagami lost a lap that should’ve got him into Q2 to a track limits infringement so ended up 17th on the grid.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Group 1 Group 2
1 Johann Zarco Avintia Racing Ducati 1m55.687s
2 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m55.99s
3 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1m55.998s
4 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m56.074s
5 Maverick Viñales Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1m56.131s
6 Pol Espargaró Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m56.142s
7 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m56.291s 1m56.299s
8 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Team Ducati 1m56.454s
9 Joan Mir Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 1m56.512s
10 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1m56.515s
11 Alex Rins Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 1m56.23s 1m56.571s
12 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1m56.797s
13 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1m56.328s
14 Jack Miller Pramac Racing Ducati 1m56.352s
15 Tito Rabat Avintia Racing Ducati 1m56.695s
16 Iker Lecuona Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1m56.764s
17 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1m56.822s
18 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati 1m57.034s
19 Bradley Smith Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1m57.438s
20 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m57.573s
21 Alex Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 1m57.606s

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