Marc Marquez will start from pole position as he bids for his 11th win in a row this Sunday in the Czech Grand Prix in Brno.
It was Marquez’s ninth pole of a dominant season after a tense battle against Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone.
Marquez snatched pole in the final seconds with a superb solo lap. The lap prior, Marquez had towed Iannone to the provisional fastest time with the young Italian bravely sitting in the slipstream of the Honda star.
Article continues below ...
Iannone was then bumped to third fastest by Ducati factory rider Dovizioso, giving Ducati two spots on the front row thanks largely to the super-soft tire they are allowed under the Open class regulations.
They will be forced to switch to a harder compound for Sunday’s 22 lap race.
Despite the growing expectation of winning, not just 11 races but all 18 this season, Marquez calmly played down his situation after qualifying.
"The important thing for the race is to finish on the podium although everyone says we must try and win," Marquez said.
"It will be a tough race and I am sure Dani Pedrosa will be strong and also Valentino despite his finger injury, and also Lorenzo."
But qualifying proved a setback for Yamaha riders Valentino and Jorge Lorenzo, who had earlier said the Brno layout offered their M1s the opportunity of a competitive strike against Marquez’s Honda.
Rossi (7th) and Lorenzo (6th) were both 0.23s slower than Marquez, whose Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa will start from fifth.
Rossi crashed in the final practice session and was treated in the medical center for a gash to the little finger of his left hand before qualifying.
Dovizioso is on the front row for the second consecutive race having also qualified second at last week’s Indianapolis GP where he finished seventh in the race.
Fresh from signing a new contract to be in the factory Ducati team next season, Iannone was happy to recognise that his impressive time came with the assistance of the Marquez tow.
"I want to thank Marc for this lap, I pushed very hard to stay with him," Iannone said.
If Marquez wins in Brno, he will be the first rider to win 11 or more successive premier class GPs since Giacomo Agostini had a 20 race winning across the 1968 and 1969 seasons.
Want to take your MotoGP viewing experience to the next level?
The MotoGP Videopass allows you to watch all three MotoGP categories live and OnDemand from the comfort of your own home or on the go via your tablet or preferred mobile device. In addition, you can enjoy more than 22,000 videos from 1992 to the present day including full races, interviews, summaries, reports and much more.