World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) will start his 100th premier-class Grand Prix tomorrow from the front row of the grid at Brno. He was denied a 49th class pole position only in the closing moments of a hectic qualifying session, run in blazing heat in front of a packed house of sun-baked fans at the sprawling Czech circuit.

The 25-year-old Spaniard has taken 40 race wins in his previous 99 starts, giving him a win percentage of 40.4 percent. This is far and away the highest in the MotoGP era, with the closest rival being Honda’s 2011 World Champion Casey Stoner on 33.04 percent. Current rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo lag on 28.3 and 25.1 percent respectively.

Marquez is going for his fifth MotoGP title in six years, and returned from the summer break with already a significant lead of 46 points over his closest rival Rossi. Marquez has already won five of the first nine races, and now starts the second part of the 19-race season planning a sustained attack to stretch his advantage still further.

The former 125cc and Moto2 champ took his fourth MotoGP crown last season and his current form is largely thanks to the tireless work of HRC engineers who have made the latest version of the awesomely powerful RC213V into what Marquez believes to be the best-balanced MotoGP bike he’s ridden. But the competition has been fierce, with Marquez having to fight for every single point after some of the closest racing in the championship’s 70-year history. For example, a sustained multi-bike brawl two races ago at the Dutch TT broke all records, with the top 15 points scorers covered by just 16 seconds.

Marquez, who has twice won the premier-class race at Brno, has been working carefully on race pace over two days of practice. He showed his hand with fastest time in the fourth free practice session, then led the Q2 qualifying session until Andrea Dovizioso and Rossi nosed narrowly ahead. The three-rider front row is covered by less than quarter of a second, with Rossi seven thousandths faster than Marquez, with all three within touching distance of Marquez’s best-ever Brno lap, set in 2016.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) is also a double Brno winner in the MotoGP class and he topped the time-sheets yesterday. The 32-year-old former 125cc 250cc World Champion, who announced at the last race that he will retire at the end of this season, has won at least one race every year since 2002, always on Honda machinery, and is anxious to maintain the record in his final year.

But the task will be challenging tomorrow. Pedrosa will start from the fourth row of the grid after qualifying 10th, albeit barely four tenths off the front row.

Independent-team rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) is closer to the sharp end, at a circuit where in the past he has claimed his first pole position and his first MotoGP victory. Crutchlow, who took his first win of this season at the second round in Argentina, came back from a minor crash this morning to challenge for another front-row start. Like Marquez, he was displaced by the last-minute charge of the front two riders, and will start from fifth, in the middle of the second row.

Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) was significantly the best of Honda’s three ex-Moto2 class rookies. The 23-year-old Italian was less than two tenths away from getting through into the Q2 session and placed a close third in Q1. The reigning Moto2 king has adapted well to the much more powerful MotoGP class, and made it straight through to Q1 at his home GP in June. But he has missed the last two races, after suffering a hand injury during practice at Assen.

Former Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (HRC Honda Team RC213V) was just three tenths slower and qualified 18th, on the sixth row of the grid. The German, currently Honda’s official MotoGP tester, was entered as a wild card for his first GP this year, but had a practice run in Germany three weeks ago when he took over Morbidelli’s bikes halfway through the weekend.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) qualified 20th, the Japanese rider still recovering from the gruelling experience of last weekend’s Suzuka 8-Hours race, where he and his team-mates Takumi Takahashi and PJ Jacobsen finished a close second, a tantalising 30 seconds away from victory.

2017’s Moto2 runner-up Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) is still working at his conversion to the premier class, and will start from 22nd on the grid.

In the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 class, the last session of the afternoon was the most afflicted by the increasing heat. Almost all of the top-20 laps were set on each rider’s second or third laps.

A career first pole went to Italian Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who had been on the front row for the first time in his career for the previous two rounds as well. The half-brother of Rossi, Marini took his first top-three podium at the last race in Germany; but injury earlier in the year means he is only 11th in the championship standings.

Second-fastest qualifier Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), younger brother of Marc, is still a title contender, although he has yet to take a win this year to back up his five top-three finishes.

Veteran Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) completes the front row for the fourth time this year, including pole at the last round. But a crash early in that German GP not only spoiled his race, but also put points leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) off the track and at the back. Bagnaia struggled from there through to 12th, a result that cut his lead back to just seven points over Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who will start tomorrow’s race from fourth, leading the second row. He has Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) beside him, and Bagnaia at the far end.

German GP Moto2 winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) qualified seventh, heading row three from Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) and Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing KTM). Spanish GP winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex) completes the top ten.

Honda’s hopes of a fourth Moto3 Riders World Championship in five years took a blow when championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was injured in a crash in Friday’s first free practice session. The Spaniard suffered a fractured radius bone in his left forearm, and flew home for surgery, in the hope of being fit to contest next weekend’s Austrian GP.

Honda still has a strong line-up for tomorrow’s race, although long-time session leader Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) lost his chance of a career-first pole start when he was bumped off the front row by just 0.047 of a second in a final flurry of action. The Italian’s top slot was snatched away when he was fractionally too late to put in a final fast lap of his own.

He qualified fifth, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) alongside to complete the second row. Canet lies third in the championship standings, one point ahead of fourth-placed Di Giannantonio.

The next-best Honda rider in the championship is Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who qualified tenth to lead row four, with all times very close. Two more Honda riders will be ahead of him on row three. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) was eighth, less than two hundredths of a second faster than Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).

Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) qualified 16th and 17th.

Eighteen-year-old Japanese rider Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) was 20th. His compatriots 17-year-old Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW), from Yokosuka, and 20-year-old Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) both suffered early tumbles before setting a qualifying time, condemning them to the back row of the grid, pending potential penalties to other riders.

Following tomorrow’s tenth of 19 MotoGP rounds, riders and teams will head immediately to Austria, for next weekend’s races at the Red Bull Ring.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez 93

3rd / 1m 54.961s

“We had realized this morning that with the set-up we chose we’re missing a little bit in a single lap with the new tyre, but I feel more comfortable when the tyres start to drop. Anyway, a front-row start is a very positive result at this track. So far we’re having a solid weekend, and I decided to not try a final time attack at the end of qualifying, as it would’ve been a bit too risky. I’m especially happy with my race pace, because step-by-step, we’ve been able to improve over the weekend. Dovi and Lorenzo have a great pace too, actually the best, but we’re close enough, so it will be interesting to see where we can finish tomorrow. I think Valentino will also be there, so it will be a nice race. It will also be a very long one, so it will be very important to be focused and consistent, and of course tyre choice and management will be very important. It will be tough to make the podium, but we’ll try and go for it.”

Repsol Honda Team
Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow 35

5th / 1m 55.055s

“We’re happy enough with the second row of the grid, because we have a bit of trouble managing the front tyre in the hot conditions this weekend. We know that if the other rival manufacturers are using the hard tyre then we are up against it. We did the best job we could, and I enjoyed the qualifying session. Fifth place was the best we could do today. The LCR Honda CASTROL team and HRC are doing a fantastic job, and we are doing our very best to be competitive. I feel we have the pace for the podium, but let’s wait and see what happens weather-wise.”

LCR Honda Castrol
Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa 26

10th / 1m 55.474s

“Today we were able to have two positive free sessions and to work well enough on our race set-up, but qualifying was difficult. It’s a shame because tenth is not what we were hoping for. I tried to improve with the soft tyre, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a bigger step forward than I did. It’s not the best situation for tomorrow, but I hope I’ll be able to get a good start and especially to be fast in the first couple of laps, as it will crucial to move up.”

Repsol Honda Team
Franco Morbidelli

Franco Morbidelli 21

13th / 1m 56.029s

“This was a good day and we improved a lot compared to yesterday. I was feeling more comfortable with the bike after missing the last race in Germany. I’m satisfied with qualifying even though we were missing some speed and I have a decent pace so I’m looking for a strong run in what will be a tough race in the hot weather.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Stefan Bradl

Stefan Bradl 6

20th / 1m 56.330s

“Today we concentrated on one setting only, and that was helpful for me to get some more speed. Honestly, I also improved my riding style a little, adapting it a bit more to the RC213V. This morning I started to feel a little bit more at ease in letting the bike roll, getting some more corner speed but I’m not there yet, as I’m still missing a bit of front feeling. I’m not yet satisfied with my qualifying time, but I think that with the race pace we’re able to keep, we have a chance to gain some positions tomorrow.”

Team HRC – MotoGP
Takaaki Nakagami

Takaaki Nakagami 30

20th / 1m 56.512s

“From yesterday we have struggled with the general feeling with the bike, it is hard to get the bike stopped and also the rear grip isn’t great. We have been checking the data of the other Honda riders like Cal (Crutchlow), Marc (Marquez) and Dani (Pedrosa) and I can see that I’m losing in the first part of the turn-in. We are improving little by little, but there is still a big gap. At this race I wasn’t as confident with the soft tyre in the rear during qualifying. The hard tyre is better, and that means my race pace is actually a lot better than it might look. In the FP4 we were in the top 11 and that is positive for the race. I’m disappointed with the qualifying position, but we will push on in the race and I hope to get our best result yet.”

LCR Honda Idemitsu
Thomas Luthi

Thomas Luthi 12

22nd / 1m 57.208s

“In qualifying on my first run I had a lot of wheelspin but the second tyre was much better, a huge difference. I improved my time but I was still not fast enough to get a better position which was my goal. In FP4 I had some troubles with the front and even before the crash the front was tucking and I was really fighting with it.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky

Automotodrom Brno, Czech Republic

MotoGP 2018, Round 10

Saturday 4 Aug 2018, 17:04 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1'54.689
2 Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'54.956
3 Marc Marquez 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +1'54.961
4 Jorge Lorenzo 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati +1'55.038
5 Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR LCR Honda Castrol Honda +1'55.055
6 Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +1'55.203
7 Johann Zarco 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'55.221
8 Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'55.270
9 Alex Rins 42 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'55.431
10 Dani Pedrosa 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +1'55.474
11 Tito Rabat 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'55.686
12 Maverick Viñales 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'55.823
13 Franco Morbidelli 21 ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'56.029
14 Alvaro Bautista 19 SPA Ángel Nieto Team Ducati +1'56.031
15 Bradley Smith 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'56.218
16 Hafizh Syahrin 55 THA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'56.285
17 Jack Miller 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +1'56.316
18 Stefan Bradl 6 GER Team HRC – MotoGP Honda +1'56.330
19 Pol Espargaro 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'56.353
20 Takaaki Nakagami 30 JPN LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda +1'56.512
21 Sylvain Guintoli 50 FRA Suzuki Test Team Suzuki +1'57.037
22 Thomas Luthi 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'57.208
23 Karel Abraham 17 CZE Ángel Nieto Team Ducati +1'57.217
24 Aleix Espargaro 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'57.250
25 Scott Redding 45 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'57.438
26 Xavier Simeon 10 BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'58.048
Friday 3 Aug 2018, 16:06 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Dani Pedrosa 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'55.976
2 Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +1'56.099
3 Alvaro Bautista 19 SPA Ángel Nieto Team Ducati +1'56.144
4 Hafizh Syahrin 55 THA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'56.200
5 Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati +1'56.218
6 Maverick Viñales 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'56.392
7 Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +1'56.480
8 Tito Rabat 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'56.521
9 Johann Zarco 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +1'56.535
10 Marc Marquez 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +1'56.635
11 Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'56.644
12 Alex Rins 42 SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1'56.661
13 Jack Miller 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +1'56.915
14 Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR LCR Honda Castrol Honda +1'57.014
15 Jorge Lorenzo 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati +1'57.205
16 Aleix Espargaro 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'57.417
17 Pol Espargaro 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'57.473
18 Stefan Bradl 6 GER Team HRC – MotoGP Honda +1'57.479
19 Franco Morbidelli 21 ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'57.498
20 Bradley Smith 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'57.506
21 Takaaki Nakagami 30 JPN LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda +1'57.647
22 Thomas Luthi 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +1'57.729
23 Scott Redding 45 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +1'57.941
24 Karel Abraham 17 CZE Ángel Nieto Team Ducati +1'58.127
25 Xavier Simeon 10 BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1'58.453
26 Sylvain Guintoli 50 FRA Suzuki Test Team Suzuki +1'58.617
Rider Standings
Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Marc MARQUEZ 93 SPA 165 Repsol Honda Team Honda
2 Valentino ROSSI 46 ITA 119 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
3 Maverick VIñALES 25 SPA 109 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
4 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA 88 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 4 ITA 88 Ducati Team Ducati
6 Jorge LORENZO 99 SPA 85 Ducati Team Ducati
7 Danilo PETRUCCI 9 ITA 84 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW 35 GBR 79 LCR Honda Castrol Honda
9 Andrea IANNONE 29 ITA 75 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
10 Jack MILLER 43 AUS 57 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
11 Alex RINS 42 SPA 53 Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki
12 Dani PEDROSA 26 SPA 49 Repsol Honda Team Honda
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA 19 SPA 44 Ángel Nieto Team Ducati
14 Pol ESPARGARO 44 SPA 32 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
15 Tito RABAT 53 SPA 30 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
16 Hafizh SYAHRIN 55 THA 22 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
17 Franco MORBIDELLI 21 ITA 19 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
18 Aleix ESPARGARO 41 SPA 16 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
19 Bradley SMITH 38 GBR 13 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
20 Scott REDDING 45 GBR 12 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
21 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 JPN 10 LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda
22 Mika KALLIO 36 FIN 6 KTM Test Team KTM
23 Karel ABRAHAM 17 CZE 4 Ángel Nieto Team Ducati