• Johann Zarco grabbed pole position, a first for Ducati.
• SA’s Brad Binder starts 7th on the grid.
• Fabio Quartararo crashed on his final lap.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Johann Zarco claimed a first MotoGP pole position for Avintia Ducati at the Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno on Saturday, edging fellow Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, who crashed on his final lap.
Zarco produced a blistering lap of 1min55.687 seconds, which was enough to ensure he was 0.303 seconds faster than Championship leader Quartararo on the Petronas Yamaha.
Quartararo tried to claw back the top spot for a fifth consecutive pole but crashed on the penultimate corner on his final effort.
The 21-year-old Quartararo was awarded a front-row spot after KTM’s Pol Espargaro best effort was scrapped for breaking yellow flag rules.
Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli clinched the final front-row spot on the grid, while Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro finished fourth.
Quartararo leads the championship standings with 50 points and will look to extend his 10-point lead over Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, who will start fifth on the grid.
World champion Marc Marquez is unavailable this weekend after undergoing a second operation on a broken arm.
The Spaniard underwent a fresh procedure this week to replace a damaged titanium plate inserted after he broke his right arm in the July 19 season-opening race in Spain.
Grid for Sunday’s Czech MotoGP after qualifying on Saturday:
1. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Avintia)
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha-SRT)
3. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha-SRT)
4. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia)
5. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha)
6. Pol Espargaro (ESP/KTM)
7. Brad Binder (RSA/KTM)
8. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ducati)
9. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki)
10. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha)
11. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki)
12. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Honda-LCR)
18. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati)