Dovizioso on pole at Brno

Dovizioso on pole at Brno

Andrea Dovizioso
photo: Ducati

Andrea Dovizioso put in a superb lap at the Automotodrom circuit in Brno to clinch pole position for the Czech Grand Prix. The Ducati Team rider set a time of 1’54.689 on his second run in Q2 and will start from pole for the tenth round of the season, which gets underway on Sunday at 14.00 CET over a distance of 21 laps. The last time Dovizioso set the quickest time in qualifying was the Malaysian GP in 2016, and the last time a Ducati was on pole in Brno was even further back, in 2008 with Casey Stoner. This morning Andrea set the tenth time in FP3 to move straight into the Q2 session in the afternoon.

“Until now it’s been an almost perfect weekend!”, Dovizioso. “We immediately started off quickly and this allowed us to work calmly for the race and arrive competitive in qualifying. More than the pole position, which is in any case important, I’m pleased with the time that we did. I didn’t expect to set this lap time, but when the others began to push hard I realised that my bike was so quick and I could push really hard as well. The Desmosedici responded well and I set an extraordinary time. For the race it’s not easy to understand who’s going to be in a good position, but my feeling is very good.”

Valentino Rossi had the fans on the edge of their seats in today’s Q2 session. He left his best time-attack effort until his very last lap to secure 2nd place on the grid. Rossi was eager to reproduce the P1 result he set in this morning’s FP3 session, especially since he loves the Automotodrom Brno so much. The Italian let most riders leave ahead of him before making his way down pit lane. His second hot lap put him in tenth place, but he knew he could push more.

He arrived back in the pitbox with six and a half minutes on the clock. After a quick stop the Doctor was ready for his final run and had time for two more tries. Though his first attempt didn’t succeed, he started the second with a red sector, followed by personal bests in the remaining three. This resulted in a strong 1’54.956s, moving him up from twelfth to second place, with a 0.267s gap to pole.

“It’s true that it was very difficult with these hot temperatures. I knew I could be quite competitive with a new tyre, because already this morning I did a good lap. This afternoon I was able to improve. I pushed that bit more and rode very much on the limit on braking and entry. A 1’54.9s is a great lap time. I’m very happy, especially with this temperature! For tomorrow’s race it’s very important to start from the front row. My race pace isn’t fantastic, after some laps I will suffer, but for sure we will try.”, Rossi said.

Marc Marquez secured a very important front-row start, setting the third-fastest time of the day, just 0.272” down on pole-setter Andrea Dovizioso.

“We had realized this morning that with the setup 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”, Marquez explained.

“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.”