Fabio Quartararo will go in search of a third straight MotoGP victory on Sunday - but it is Johann Zarco who surprisingly sits on pole for the Czech Republic Grand Prix. 

Frenchman Quartararo, who had not managed to win a race prior to this year, has opened the delayed 2020 season with back-to-back triumphs in Jerez. 

The Petronas Yamaha rider is setting the pace in a title race that is currently minus reigning champion Marc Marquez, who is not involved in Brno following a second surgery on the broken arm he suffered in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix. 

However, the early front-runner in the standings will have to get past compatriot Zarco if he is to clinch a hat-trick. 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Few can have expected Zarco to post the fastest time in qualifying. Now racing for Reale Avintia Ducati, his last pole came back in the 2018 season.

Quartararo's quest to head the field for a fifth straight race ended when he crashed during his final lap, though there was a boost when Pol Espargaro was penalised for continuing during yellow flag conditions, dropping him from second to sixth.

Franco Morbidelli will start on the outside of the front three, Aleix Espargaro from fourth and Maverick Vinales fifth, the latter having missed out on a final attempt to improve his time when starting the lap too late. 

Andrea Dovizioso endured a session to forget, however, ending up in 18th, though was at least better off than Repsol Honda pair Stefan Bradl and Alex Marquez, who occupy the last two spots. 

THE STARTING GRID

1. Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing), 2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha), 3. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 6. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM)
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 9. Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 11. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), 12. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
13. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 14. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 15. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing)
16. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM), 17. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 18. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda), 21. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda)

CZECH REPUBLIC GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

There will be a fresh winner in 2020, considering the absent Marquez is not around to defend his Czech crown.

The recovering Spaniard is the previous rider to win the first three races in a season, doing so back in 2014. The in-form Quartararo will hope he can match that feat, despite finishing qualifying with a trip into the gravel after pushing too hard to get on pole.

Dovizioso, who sits third in the standings, has work to do if he is to challenge as he struggled during an indifferent day for Ducati, despite Zarco's unexpected performance.

There was a setback for Takaaki Nakagami too, as the LCR Honda rider missed out on Q2 after his best lap was wiped out by a track limits penalty.

And what of Valentino Rossi? The Italian has won four times in Brno, albeit the last of those successes was back in 2009. His performances in practice suggested he could challenge at the venue this week, yet he had to settle for 10th place on the grid.

WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

Johann Zarco (1st): "I saw the lap time and I was even surprised, it was a huge difference to the lap time posted before with the first tyres I used at the beginning of qualifying."

Fabio Quartararo (2nd): "I pushed a little bit too much and took some bumps in corner 13. But in FP4 we made a big step on the pace, we feel now exactly where the limit is – okay, I pushed way too hard on the brakes during qualifying, but on the pace it’s great to know the feeling."

Franco Morbidelli (3rd): "It definitely looks like my best weekend in MotoGP so far. I'm happy about that, and I will try to capitalise tomorrow."

Johann Zarco earned a surprise pole position in qualifying for the Czech Republic Grand Prix, with MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo second in Brno.

Frenchman Zarco, riding for Reale Avintia Ducati, pulled a time of one minute and 55.687 seconds out of the bag in Brno to earn a first pole since his home race in the 2018 season.

It ends a run of four straight poles for his compatriot Quartararo, who won the opening two races of the season – which were both held at Jerez.

Quartararo would have been third after Pol Espargaro registered a quicker time, only for the Spaniard's effort to be wiped for continuing his lap in yellow flag conditions, meaning he starts sixth.

There was brief concern when Quartararo came piling off his bike on his last flying lap when pushing to chase down Zarco's time despite being well down heading into the final sector, but he walked away unscathed.

Franco Morbidelli qualified third, while Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) was so close to an unexpected front-row position after brilliantly tailing Quartararo earlier in the session.

Maverick Vinales will start from fifth, with the third row comprising Brad Binder, Danilo Petrucci and Joan Mir.

Valentino Rossi's bid to become the first rider to secure 200 premier class podiums was hindered after he could only post the 10th quickest time.

In the first qualifying session there were a couple of surprises with Jack Miller in 14th and Andrea Dovizioso 18th.

Repsol Honda – still without world champion and talisman Marc Marquez as he recovers from a broken arm sustained in round one – have Stefan Bradl and Alex Marquez at the very back of the grid.


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Ducati) 1:55.68
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.303s
3. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.311s
4. Aleix Espargaro (Factory Aprilia Gresini) +0.387s
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.444s
6. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory) +0.455s
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory) +0.612s
8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) +0.767s
9. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) +0.825s
10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.828

Fabio Quartararo warned of tyre problems with his Petronas Yamaha bike despite setting the fastest time in second practice for the Czech Grand Prix.

The French rider, who is chasing a hat-trick of race wins after successive victories at Jerez, heads the MotoGP championship by 10 points from Monster Energy Yamaha's Maverick Vinales.

And while Vinales suffered a crash in Friday's first practice session, returning to go fifth quickest in the afternoon, Quartararo was the man setting the standards again.

His fastest lap of one minute and 56.502 seconds was 0.007secs quicker than the time posted by team-mate Franco Morbidelli, who led the time sheets right until the closing moments of the second session.

Quartararo, 21, said: "I had a really bad feeling with the tyres. I'm feeling good on the bike but I don't understand, the tyre consistency is really bad."

He explained he felt his tyres had come up to scratch in Jerez, causing him to be puzzled by why it felt so different on the track at Brno.

"Honestly, every lap you lose two tenths [of a second] so we will need to understand what's happening because it's so weird," Quartararo continued.

"The first five laps we had a good feeling but then we are missing something. Tomorrow, mainly, our goal will be to work on the consistency.

"So it was not an easy day, but at the end it's good to know where the problem is and we will see where we can improve."

He told the official MotoGP website: "The front [tyre] is okay, it's about the rear that we are missing a lot.

"We know where we need to work and we'll try to find a little bit the problem."

Miguel Oliveira (KTM) was third quickest, ahead of Johann Zarco (Avintia), Vinales and Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar).

Valentino Rossi, who is one away from becoming the first rider to achieve 200 podium finishes in the top category, was 12th fastest.

Defending champion Marc Marquez is absent this weekend, having also missed the Andalusia race last time out with the broken arm he sustained in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix.

There was another casualty on Friday as Pramac Racing rider Francesco Bagnaia broke the tibia in his right leg after crashing in morning practice, ruling him out of Sunday's race and the following weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

Fabio Quartararo insists he is not thinking about winning the MotoGP championship despite a dominant start to 2020.

The French rider claimed victories in the opening two races at Jerez and is already 10 points ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha's Maverick Vinales in the standings.

With reigning champion Marc Marquez missing the previous grand prix in Andalusia and this weekend's race in Brno due to a broken arm, Quartararo certainly appears to be in a strong position in just his second season at the top level.

However, the 21-year-old says it would not be right to focus on the title so early in a disrupted year.

"No, honestly right now I'm not thinking about the championship," Quartararo said on Thursday. "It's only our third race of the season, so honestly, I'm taking it race by race.

"I've never been in this kind of situation at that level, but I think it's not the correct way to think about the championship in the third race.

"I'm just thinking about this race, I feel the same as before, so, for me, the pressure is none.

"I just want to keep working like in Jerez because I was so happy to become [a race winner] and work in a really good way.

"At the moment, I feel that we have the potential to fight for the podium, for victories, so I just want to keep going in this way and don't think about the championship."

Red Bull KTM's Pol Espargaro is in little doubt that circumstances are already falling into Quartararo's favour.

"He's right now in a privileged place because the guy behind is a guy with the same bike as him, and the third guy [in the standings] is [Andrea] Dovizioso, who we see in Jerez was struggling a lot," he said.

"In the end, his rival at the moment is himself because if he's performing well with the Yamaha, at least he's going to perform exactly the same as Maverick. They have the same stuff and this is perfect. In the end, you have the info of the guy chasing you.

"Inside the pressures of trying to be world champion, he's in the best position. His rival is himself, or at least his bike or his team-mate in another team.

"For me, he has zero pressure because he's very young and he has plenty of time to fight for world titles. I don't think he's really feeling the pressure or is under so much pressure that he will feel it."

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez broke the plate in his injured arm while opening a window at home, according to Repsol Honda team boss Alberto Puig.

Marquez suffered a fractured humerus in the first race of the season at Jerez and had an operation to fit a titanium plate.

Remarkably, the 27-year-old was back on the bike for the Andalusia Grand Prix the following weekend but declared himself unfit to race after feeling discomfort in qualifying.

It was confirmed on Monday that Marquez has had a second operation due to damage to the plate, which Puig attributed to a "domestic accident".

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno, Puig said: "As you know, last Monday, Marc had another surgery on the humerus due to the crash at Jerez.

"It was a domestic accident this time because he was trying to open a window and he suddenly felt a lot of pain and later we could see that the plate was broken.

"This is caused after all the stress that he had in the arm, but as you know we went to Jerez with conviction that we could do it.

"The doctors were okay [for him] to do it and they never informed us that the plate could have broken.

"If we had this info, probably he wouldn't have gone to Jerez, Honda will not have given him the chance to ride.

"But the positive point is that this happened in his house, not at Brno on the bike, or in Austria, which could have had massive consequences in case he had another crash.

"From now on we will have to continue to check the development of his fracture and only time will tell when he's ready to go back racing."

With Marquez now 50 points adrift of Fabio Quartararo in the standings, the Repsol Honda rider is facing a huge task to keep alive his challenge for a seventh MotoGP title.

However, Puig is not prepared to discount him from what would be a famous triumph.

"You can never say never, it's never over but it's more difficult," he said. "Now, other guys have an open window, guys who maybe didn't have any chances have some chances now.

"But if you check it mathematically, it's more difficult, but it's like this. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

"Marquez, normally he wins. Now it's going to be more difficult."

Marquez will sit out the Czech Grand Prix and will reportedly miss the following two races, returning at Mugello in September.

Marc Marquez posted a thank you message to fans amid reports he will miss the next three rounds of the MotoGP season after undergoing a second operation on his broken right arm. 

The world champion fractured his humerus after being sickeningly clattered by his own bike at the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix. 

Marquez attempted a remarkable comeback just a week later when MotoGP was back in Jerez for the Andalusia Grand Prix, but he pulled out in qualifying when feeling pain around his elbow. 

This week, his Repsol Honda team confirmed Marquez had undergone a second procedure because a titanium plate fitted had sustained damage as a result of stress accumulation. 

While Honda announced Marquez will miss out in Brno for the Czech Republic Grand Prix this weekend, a report in Barcelona-based newspaper El Periodico said the Spaniard will not take part in the Red Bull Ring double in Austria, either. 

Such a scenario would mean Marquez is not back on track until MotoGP heads to Misano in the middle of September, sitting out four races in total following his crash. 

Marquez himself took to Twitter on Wednesday to say thank you to fans for the support he has received while recovering. 

"Falling is allowed, getting up is an obligation. Thank you all for the messages of support!" Marquez wrote. 

In Marquez's absence, Fabio Quartararo won the first two rounds in Jerez to top the standings. 

Valentino Rossi is on the cusp of MotoGP history at a Czech Grand Prix where Fabio Quartararo will once again aim to be the rider making the most of Marc Marquez's continued absence.

Marquez's broken right arm sustained in a crash at the season-opening race ultimately ruled him out of the second part of the double-header in Jerez a week later, despite a remarkable attempt to make the grid.

The Repsol Honda rider - who could reportedly miss the next three races - eventually pulled out in qualifying after feeling pain around his elbow and this week underwent a second surgery because a titanium plate that was inserted sustained damage as a result of stress accumulation.

With the world champion still absent there is a huge opportunity for Quartararo, winner of the first two races, to pile on more points, although Maverick Vinales and the rest of the chasing pack will also want to seize their chance in Brno.

LAST TIME OUT

It was a decidedly easier victory for Quartararo than in the action-packed opener, which marked his first win in the premier class.

Indeed, most of the drama happened behind him, where Vinales eventually scored a scarcely deserved second place in an error-strewn race.

The Spaniard benefitted from Jack Miller crashing and engine problems for Franco Morbidelli and Francesco Bagnaia, before passing Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Rossi late on.

Speaking of Rossi…

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN BRNO

That third place for Rossi marked an astonishing 199th podium and he can now become the first rider to make it to the steps 200 times in the top category.

He will need to end a barren run in Brno having last made the top three there in 2016 and doing so will be no easy feat if the evidence of the Andalusia Grand Prix is anything to go by.

Quartararo's rivals may be fearful of the dominance he showed in Jerez and Vinales particularly needs to cut out the errors if he is going to rein in the Frenchman.

Bagnaia was superb in Spain and it was a real disappointment when the Pramac Racing rider smoked up with six laps to go. His frustration at trackside was understandable but surely a maiden podium is not far away.

The same can be said for Morbidelli, whose luck at a scorching hot Jerez track was out with nine laps remaining. 

And there is also a return for Stefan Bradl this weekend as a replacement for Marquez. It will be his 10th MotoGP appearance since losing his full-time ride with Aprilia in 2016.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Rossi to rediscover Brno touch? - Rossi is the MotoGP rider with the most podiums at the Czech Republic Grand Prix (11). However, he has failed to reach the podium in the past three races at Brno and has only once gone longer without a top-three finish there (four appearances from 2010 to 2013).

Fabio poles apart - Quartararo has taken pole position for the previous four races and could equal Christian Sarron as the only French rider to get five straight in the top category (five in 1988).

Marquez misery - It is the first time in his eight MotoGP seasons Marquez failed to collect points point in the opening two races of the season.

Maverick aiming for a MotoGP first - Vinales has reached the podium in six of his past 10 MotoGP races and is looking to get three in a row for the first time in the top category.

A rare three-peat? - Quartararo has won the opening two MotoGP races this season, the first time a rider has done so since Vinales in 2017. The same person has not won the opening three grands prix of a season since Marquez in 2014.
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 50
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 40
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 26
=4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 19
=4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM) 19

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha 61
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 56
3. Ducati 33
=4. LCR Honda 22
=4. Pramac Racing 22

Marc Marquez will miss the Czech Republic Grand Prix this weekend after undergoing a second operation on his broken right arm.

The MotoGP world champion suffered a fractured humerus in the first race of the season in Jerez last month and had a titanium plate fitted during surgery a couple of days later.

Marquez made an incredible return at the Andalusia Grand Prix the following weekend, but declared himself unfit to race after feeling pain around his elbow in qualifying.

Repsol Honda on Monday revealed the 27-year-old had gone under the knife again due to the plate he had inserted sustaining damage as a result of stress accumulation.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the six-time MotoGP champion will not risk getting back on his bike so quickly this time around.

HRC test rider Stefan Bradl will replace Marquez in Brno this week.

A statement on the Repsol Honda website said: "After undergoing a second operation on his injured right arm, Marc Marquez and HRC have decided that the world champion will not ride in the Czech Republic in order for him to recover more.

"In his place, HRC test rider Stefan Bradl will mount the Honda RC213V. In 2019 the former Moto2 World Champion competed in four MotoGP races with a best finish of 10th at the German GP.

"Bradl has claimed three top 10 finishes at Brno from his seven starts in the MotoGP class and only once missed out on points."

The first two races of the delayed 2020 season were won by Fabio Quartararo and with no word on when Marquez might return, he faces a battle to claim a fifth successive title.

Marc Marquez's chances of racing in the Czech Republic Grand Prix this weekend were dealt a blow after he underwent a second surgery on his broken right arm.

The MotoGP world champion suffered the injury after an ugly crash in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix last month.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez attempted to make an audacious comeback just a week later at Jerez for the Andalusia Grand Prix before pulling out after feeling pain around his elbow in qualifying.

A statement from his team on Monday said Marquez needed a second procedure due to the titanium plate he had fitted in his arm sustaining damage as a result of stress accumulation.

Marquez will stay in hospital for 48 hours, meaning the Spaniard's hopes of making it on the grid at Brno are seriously in doubt.

Dr. Xavier Mir, who operated on Marquez, said: "Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. 

"The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. 

"An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation. 

"The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. 

"Unfortunately, an over stress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time."

The first two races of the delayed 2020 season were won by Fabio Quartararo.

Valentino Rossi was delighted to put a frustrating start to the 2020 MotoGP season behind him by claiming third place in the Andalusia Grand Prix.

The Italian endured an opening race to forget at Jerez a week ago, failing to finish due to a technical issue as fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo claimed victory.

However, back on the same track as part of a much-changed schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, a rejuvenated Rossi made the podium for the 199th time in the premier class.

The 41-year-old joked he had considered not even turning up but was delighted to be back contending again.

"Last week was very frustrating. I said maybe I should stay at home and not go to Jerez. My motivation was less," Rossi told BT Sport.

"But, from Friday, I start to think that we could do a good race. Something inside me switched on.  

"This is not like a victory, but close."

Rossi revealed how he had to "push" Yamaha to make changes to his bike, allowing him to feel more comfortable at a venue that has not been a happy hunting ground of late.

His last success in Jerez came four years ago, while he had not made a MotoGP podium since early in a 2019 campaign that saw him finish seventh in the overall standings.

"We changed a lot the setting of the bike from Friday, unfortunately we had to push a lot on Yamaha," Rossi explained.

"I felt better from Friday morning. It's very difficult, because there are a lot of riders who are strong. But, this weekend, I ride my bike.

"We are not perfect, but I recover the good feeling, the balance that I like, I can enter into the corner faster and stress less the tyres. I’m very happy."

Asked if this could be a launching pad for the rest of the season, he replied: "I hope so. Jerez, after the victory in 2016, was very, very bad. Today I was competitive on a track where I've suffered in recent years."

Fabio Quartararo joked his family is starting to "get a bit drunk" after doubling up in Jerez to begin the MotoGP World Championship.

The Frenchman was dominant from pole position at the Andalusia Grand Prix to pass the chequered flag in first place for the second week running and just seven days on from earning a first premier class triumph.

On a sweltering day in Spain, Quartararo was elated to come out with consecutive wins.

"Oh my god that was tough!" An exhausted Quartararo said after the race. 

"Normally we start with new tyres from the grid, today we decided with Yamaha to make the warm-up lap three laps to see if the tyre was okay and everything.

"I made an amazing pace from the beginning, I was so happy with my pace. It was tough. 

"It's an amazing feeling, what can I say? Thanks to my team. We make a lot between the two races, my family is starting to get a bit drunk now to celebrate!

"It feels so good to make it back-to-back wins."

Maverick Vinales eventually took second despite an outing riddled with errors, starting as early as the first lap when an attack on Quartararo at the final turn saw him go wide and slip behind Valentino Rossi.

"It was impossible to breathe. On the first lap I tried to overtake Fabio, I felt strong with the bike, I went wide," he said. 

"Then I was stuck behind Valo, then I could not breathe, I don't know why.

"I could not make more, I was saving for the last five laps, I had a good rhythm again. Today I missed the first corner, if not I think I make it a much better race."

Rossi, who endured a tough opening weekend, reflected on a top-three finish that he said almost felt like a win.

"I'm very happy, because it's a long time [since] we came from a bad period with a bad result," he said. 

"We made a good job, made a good start, the race was very long. It's not like a victory but similar."

Fabio Quartararo earned a dominant pole-to-flag victory to make it two wins from two to start the MotoGP World Championship season.

A week on from securing a maiden premier class win, Quartararo doubled up in Jerez to earn maximum points at a swelteringly hot Andalusia Grand Prix, in a race where the action all took place behind the runaway leader.

With world champion Marc Marquez unable to race despite attempting to qualify a week on from sustaining a broken arm, the brilliant Francesco Bagnaia appeared on course for a maiden podium.

However, the Pramac Racing rider's bike smoked up with six laps to go, leaving Bagnaia visibly frustrated at trackside.

Maverick Vinales ultimately took a scarcely deserved second-place finish for the second week running in an error-strewn display, with the great Valentino Rossi completing the podium.

Vinales would have started the day with hopes of victory but paid the price for being too aggressive at the final turn of the opening lap when chasing Quartararo, going wide and allowing Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Rossi to pass.

The Spaniard was frustrated in his bid to pass Rossi and another mistake when going wide at Turn 6 with 16 laps to go allowed Bagnaia to slip by.

Bagnaia quickly snatched second from Rossi and Vinales fell behind Jack Miller and Franco Morbidelli, only for the former to lock up at Turn 9 with 15 laps to go and crash out and the latter – also chasing a first podium – to suffer a frustrating engine failure with nine remaining.

Just when it looked as though Bagnaia would claim a fully deserved podium finish, his bike smoked up and he pulled out on the final straight.

With a little over a lap to go, Vinales finally passed Rossi as Quartararo had so much time at the front he was able to stand up high with his arms folded.

There could be a sense of deja vu at the Andalusia Grand Prix on Sunday as Fabio Quartararo goes in search of a second successive victory in the absence of Marc Marquez.

Quartararo secured his first MotoGP victory in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix last weekend and sealed a third consecutive Jerez pole six days later.

Marquez suffered a fractured humerus when he crashed out on home soil last Sunday and despite courageously getting back on his bike just four days after having a titanium plate inserted in his right arm to attempt to qualify, he will not start the race.

Maverick Vinales will start in second spot after having the fastest lap in Q2 chalked off for exceeding track limits, with Francesco Bagnaia on the front row for the first time.

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Petronas Yamaha rider Quartararo stormed to another pole with a lap of one minute, 37.007 seconds, but Vinales came agonisingly close to denying him.

The Spaniard went just a centimetre too wide coming out of Turn 7 when he was under Quartararo's pole-clinching time and so that lap was chalked off.

Bagnaia capitalised on progressing from Q1 by taking a career-best third, with Valentino Rossi taking fourth ahead of Miguel Oliveira - who was also able to reflect on his best qualifying performance in the premier class.

World champion Marquez was only on track briefly in Q1 before deciding he could not continue, having completed 10 laps in the final practice session and also gone out for FP3.

Cal Crutchlow will start in 13th despite undergoing wrist surgery this week.

 

THE STARTING GRID

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha), 2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 3. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing)
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
7. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 9. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).
10. Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), 11. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM)
13. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), 14. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 15. Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing)
16. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 17. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM), 18. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing)
19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), 21. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda)

 

ANDALUSIA GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Marquez and Repsol Honda came to the conclusion there was no point in taking any risks after he was unsurprisingly in discomfort when he returned to the track on Saturday, but he is hoping to return for the next round in Brno.

Opportunity knocks for the dominant Spaniard's rivals as they battle to dethrone him and Quartararo could leave Jerez on cloud nine if he takes the chequered flag again.

However, Vinales was only a whisker away from pole and there could be a pulsating battle to come in round two.

Alex Marquez will have to come from the back of the grid after he was also left clutching his arm following a crash on a tough start to the weekend for the family, with his brother ruled out.

 

WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

Fabio Quartararo (1st): "I was surprised to make pole position. I expect a really good race but we have a few riders who could pose a real challenge. We'll be trying our best to stay in front, stay focused, manage the pace and just do the best we can tomorrow."

Maverick Vinales (2nd): "Our potential was very strong today. My best lap time got cancelled, but I'm so happy because the bike is working so well. I can't wait for tomorrow's race."

Valentino Rossi (4th): "We still need time to work on the bike and to improve ourselves. The championship is shorter than usual this year but it is still long, and right now we will concentrate on improving ourselves rather than on the title. We will work hard for sure.”

Jack Miller (7th): "As it sits at the minute we're in this thing [the battle for the title]. We need to change our strategy. I think I've said all along, we've just got to get through these with as many points as possible, we're coming to tracks that I really do well at, and we'll be able to challenge."

Marc Marquez gave up on his hopes of racing at the Andalusia Grand Prix without an argument after deciding his battered body was not up to the job.

The six-time MotoGP champion only emerged from hospital on Thursday morning after suffering a fractured humerus in the first race of the MotoGP season last week in Jerez.

Back at the same track this weekend, Marquez was eyeing a near-miraculous return to action, having had a titanium plate fitted in his broken right arm.

And although he was fit enough to push himself through a bunch of push-ups, and complete a string of warm-up laps, the Spaniard conceded defeat when he began to feel pain around his elbow during qualifying practice on Saturday.

He said: "I already understood it would be very difficult to ride the bike and be able to finish the 25 laps in the race.

"After surgery I saw there was more possibility so I needed to try, and if you're a sportsman and have a passion for something, you try.

"I tried and it wasn't possible. What I did is only follow my body, and my body said, 'You must try' and that's what I did."

He began to feel optimistic during the early stages of practice, but feeling good soon gave way to agony, and that meant Sunday's race was out of the question.

"More than the bone, it was the elbow, a nerve or something like this and I lost the power immediately and this becomes dangerous," Marquez told motogp.com.

"I said to Honda I would try in QP1 - 'I will do one lap, and if I have the same feeling I'll stop and we give up' - and that's what we did."

Marquez intends to compete in the next round, at Brno in the Czech Republic on August 9.

"I passed on Thursday a tough medical check," said the 27-year-old. "Normally they are demanding, but they pushed me more than usual. I did 40 push-ups and this is something that even if I'm fit it's difficult, but it was possible.

"I promised Honda if I felt unsafe I would stop and that's what I did. Now the main priority is try to be better and better about the physical condition.

"In one week and a half we will be in Brno and my main priority is to try to arrive there. I will not be 100 per cent but I want to try to fight on the bike and enjoy my main passion that is riding the bike."

Fabio Quartararo has a golden opportunity to claim back-to-back victories after taking pole for an Andalusia Grand Prix that Marc Marquez will sit out on Sunday.

Quartararo claimed a second successive pole in Jerez despite Maverick Vinales clocking a faster lap than the MotoGP championship leader on Saturday. 

Vinales will have to settle for second place on the grid, as the Monster Energy Yamaha rider exceeded track limits on what he thought was a pole-clinching circuit.

Quartararo celebrated a maiden victory in the premier class in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix last weekend and will have a great chance to increase his lead.

The Petronas Yamaha rider's lap of one minute, 37.007 seconds was enough for him to start ahead of Vinales, with Francesco Bagnaia third in what will be his maiden front-row spot after progressing from a Q1 that Marquez only appeared in briefly.

Marquez showed great courage to get back on his bike for FP3 and qualifying just four days after undergoing surgery on the broken arm he sustained in a crash at the same track last Sunday.

The world champion, who had a titanium plate fitted in his right arm, completed 10 laps in FP4 but soon returned to the garage after going out for Q1.

Repsol Honda later revealed that the six-time world champion will not be risked in a race that will see Valentino Rossi begin in fourth position

Miguel Oliveira sealed his best qualifying result of fifth with a blistering final lap, while Franco Morbidelli will also be on the second row after advancing from Q1.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 1:37.007
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.095s
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +0.169s
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.335s
5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +0.337s
6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.405s
7. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.416s
8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.457s
9. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.589s
10. Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) +0.593s

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