It was all change at the Automotodrom of Brno on Saturday as wet weather was the order of the day. Full wet tyres suited Sylvain Guintoli as the Frenchman flew into 3rd place in FP3 – a position he held until the chequered flag.
With most riders unable to improve, Friday’s FP2 times stood; this meant direct passage to Q2 for Alex Rins, but not for Guintoli or Mir, despite a big step made by the rookie.
FP4 was a crucial session for finalising set-up in the difficult conditions, and Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders made the most of the half hour on track.
Mir and Guintoli had an uphill battle in a competitive Q1 session, and both riders tried hard to promote themselves into final qualifying. While Sylvain will start 15th on the grid, Joan found himself down in 19th after struggling to recapture his FP3 feeling.
Q2’s mixed wet and dry conditions made for a tense and tricky 15 minutes in which decisions had to be made between rain tyres and slick tyres: Rins went straight into 2nd place on his first flying lap on wets but opted for slicks for his final run as the track began to dry. With time running out, Rins couldn’t get a comfortable feeling as rain poured down once again, but the Spaniard will nevertheless start from a strong 6th position.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“The conditions weren’t easy today, but Alex managed the situation quite well and was able to stay on the second row – that’s important for tomorrow’s race and we’re happy with it. Joan wasn’t able to show his potential in the mixed conditions, it was difficult for him, but we’ll continue to work, and he will try hard for a good start. Sylvain showed some very good pace in the wet, and that’s positive to see. We’re hoping for a dry race, because everything will be more straight-forward.”
“This sixth place on the grid is positive, I feel that my pace can be good in the dry or the wet, so I’m ready to enjoy tomorrow’s race. The Q2 session was difficult because tyre choice was crucial, it wasn’t a clear decision between the wet and the slick. In the end I tried the gamble of slicks and it didn’t work out because the conditions were half and half, but I’m not really disappointed because my position and pace are good anyway.”
“It’s been another great day for the test team. Things started well this morning and I took 3rd place in the wet! Then, this afternoon, I got really close to Q2 and I was disappointed not to make it. But overall, everything is going well and I’m really enjoying riding the bike and helping out the team. I feel so good, and I’ve picked up the rhythm quickly, so I’m very happy about that.”
“In the wet my feeling was actually really good, and with each setting change I could feel my performance getting better. But in qualifying I lost out because for some reason I couldn’t replicate those earlier lap times, it was strange, and we’ll work tonight to try to understand it and find the solution. Warm-up tomorrow will be important for finding tomorrow’s dry race pace.”
GP of the Czech Republic – Qualifying Classification:
1. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 2’02.753
2. Jack MILLER Pramac Racing 2’05.277 2.524 / 2.524
3. Johann ZARCO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2’05.351 2.598 / 0.074
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 2’05.590 2.837 / 0.239
5. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2’05.710 2.957 / 0.120
6. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2’06.172 3.419 / 0.462
7. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 2’06.233 3.480 / 0.061
8. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati Team 2’06.457 3.704 / 0.224
9. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 2’06.626 3.873 / 0.169
10. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT 2’06.648 3.895 / 0.022
11. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 2’07.123 4.370 / 0.475
12. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT 2’09.404 6.651 / 2.281
13. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 2’05.265 Q1
14. Francesco BAGNAIA Pramac Racing 2’05.286 Q1
15. Sylvain GUINTOLI Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2’05.551 Q1
16. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 2’05.763 Q1
17. Stefan BRADL Repsol Honda Team 2’05.974 Q1
18. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2’06.284 Q1
19. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2’06.554 Q1
20. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing 2’06.898 Q1
21. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 2’07.155 Q1
22. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing 2’07.315 Q1
23. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2’07.923 Q1