Mar­quez beats Rossi to Czech Mo­toGP pole

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

BRNO: World cham­pi­onship leader Marc Mar­quez claimed his fourth pole po­si­tion of the sea­son af­ter beat­ing Valentino Rossi in yes­ter­day’s qual­i­fy­ing for the Czech Mo­toGP in Brno. The reign­ing world Mo­toGP cham­pion clocked 1min 54.981sec on his Honda to fin­ish 0.92sec ahead of Ital­ian vet­eran Rossi, of Yamaha, with Spa­niard Dani Pe­drosa at 0.138 for Honda.

The 24-year-old Mar­quez’s 41st pole po­si­tion in Mo­toGP, and 69th across the three classes, gives him a fan­tas­tic chance of ex­tend­ing his cham­pi­onship ad­van­tage. “To­mor­row we’ll see what weather con­di­tions we have, as it looks a bit un­sta­ble and not as warm,” said Mar­quez. “It will be a long, hard race but we should be able to fight for the podium in ei­ther the dry or the wet, so we’re look­ing for­ward to it and to en­joy­ing the race.”

Con­sid­er­ing his dom­i­na­tion of the last four sea­sons that have de­liv­ered three top-class ti­tles, Mar­quez does not have a very good record around the Brno cir­cuit and is with­out a win since 2013. But he was in fine fet­tle in qual­i­fy­ing, and his ri­vals will have to find some ex­tra speed to beat him in to­day’s race. “I’m very happy with to­day be­cause I knew that mak­ing the pole would be tough, as I nor­mally strug­gle at this track, but I tried for it any­way,” he added.

The world cham­pion’s com­pa­triot Mav­er­ick Vi­nales strug­gled though, and qual­i­fied down in sev­enth place as he looks to cut the five-point gap to Mar­quez at the top of the rid­ers’ stand­ings. In the tight­est ti­tle bat­tle since the points sys­tem was changed in 1993, the 38-year-old Rossi is still in the hunt for a tenth world ti­tle. The le­gendary Ital­ian has only won once this sea­son, but has re­mained con­sis­tent and is only ten points adrift of Mar­quez in fourth.

He pro­duced an im­pres­sive sec­ond lap in qual­i­fy­ing to take sec­ond place, af­ter go­ing third-fastest in both the third and fourth prac­tice ses­sions ear­lier in the day. “It’s a shame for the pole, be­cause we were close, but the sec­ond place is a very good re­sult and front row is a good place to start the race from to­mor­row,” said Rossi.

“I knew I had a good po­ten­tial and on the sec­ond run I was in the right po­si­tion, with clear track in front, and I rode well. I was able to push with­out mak­ing any mis­takes.” The other world ti­tle con­tender, Du­cati’s An­drea Dovizioso, showed rea­son­able speed yes­ter­day and will start the race from fourth place.

Bri­ton Cal Crutchlow and for­mer world cham­pion Jorge Lorenzo com­plete the sec­ond row.

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