|Rabat in Action Photo:Marc VDS|
The weather was a mixed bag of clear skies and showers at the windy Brno circuit for qualifying for Round eleven of the championship as the paddock arrived in the Czech Republic.
Moto3 got the worst of the weather as the showers affected the progress of the session repeatedly, though a crash for Philipp Oettl leaving the safety barrier in need of repair gave everyone a chance to regroup for a final assault on pole.
Alex Marquez took advantage and pole for the second time this season, but only after the weather had seen him seem momentarily lose concentration, leaving John McPhee in his path leading to a trip into the gravel for the Estrella Galicia rider.
Joining him on the front row are Isaac Vinales; a best for the Calvo rider; and unusually given his crash record this season Niccolo Antonelli, who’s solid lapping was helped by being in the same group as Vinales and Marquez who timed their laps perfectly dragging each other around.
A solo run moved Alex Rins’ Estrella Galicia bike into fourth. He is joined on row two by the Mahindra of Miguel Oliveira and a frustrated Jack Miller in sixth, who at one point lashed out hitting Francesco Bagnaia as he struggled with slow bikes sitting on the track.
Row three is filled by early qualifying leader Alexis Masbou for Ongetta-Rivacold, who looked set for pole when the rain was in control, and Efren Vazquez, winner last weekend in Indianapolis,who held eighth despite a late spill.
Enea Bastianini took ninth for Junior Team Go&Fun while Romano Fenati, who worked hard to improve position in the wet completes the grid top ten for Sky Racing Team VR46.
British riders John McPhee and Danny Kent both just missed out on the top ten in eleventh and twelfth respectively.
Jakub Kornfeil was the best of the home riders 13th, Karel Hanika starts 17th.
Moto2 was a hotly contested affair in the dry with Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat out at the close despite leading to maintain a lead as he pushed home for pole in Moto2.
The front row also sees a return to the front row for Interwetten’s Tom Luthi in second and Dynavolt Intact GP rider Sandro Cortese in third.
Sam Lowes had been around the Brno circuit before in Supersport and it showed as he worked a little extra out of his bike to be the top Speed Up rider with ease in fourth.
A solid Simone Corsi will sit in fifth on the grid for NGM Forward Racing, with Marc VDS man Mika Kallio sixth as he fell in a last gasp push for pole.
Row three is headed up by Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter in seventh. He is joined by the German pair of Marcel Schrotter in eighth for Tech 3 and AGR Team rider Jonas Folger in ninth. Franco Morbidelli completes the top ten for Italtrans.
Top rookie Maverick Vinales, currently third in the championship standings, seemed at a loss and spent much time shaking his head for 17th on the grid.
Brit Gino Rea will line up in 27th on the grid.