Repsol Honda’s duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa topped the final MotoGP free practice ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying despite suffering crashes.
Pedrosa took the lead early on with a 1’55.541 using a medium rear tyre before losing the front and it took until the final minute of the session for Marquez, with a hard front/soft rear combo, to snatch top spot with a 1’55.370.
Marquez himself crashed on oil deposited by Alvaro Bautista in the opening minutes and he was joined in the turn ten gravel trap by Cal Crutchlow but the British rider recovered to end the day in sixth place, half a second slower than Marquez and used the same tyre combination.
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi switched from a medium rear to a soft with seven minutes left and it propelled the Movistar Yamaha man to third place with a 1’55.758 after he and team-mate Maverick Vinales played follow my leader.
The young Spaniard, who also put in a soft rear late on, finished in fourth and only 0.015s behind Rossi. Andrea Dovizioso was a late charger, bumping himself from 14th to fifth with a last lap of 1’55.777 which demoted Crutchlow a place. Dovizioso has not yet used the new Ducati aero package.
Aleix Espargaro secured an automatic qualifying two place with his 16th lap, setting a 1’55.871 while Johann Zarco - who was another faller - grabbed eighth ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, who had both of his Ducati GP17s equipped with the new aero system.
Loris Baz was the last of the automatic Q2 men, setting a 1’56.177 before crashing in the last minute.
Jonas Folger, who is something of a Brno specialist, missed Q2 by less than a tenth of a second while Andrea Iannone ended in 12th after being as high as sixth earlier in the session. Hector Barbera, Pol Espargaro and Bautista completed the top 15.
Danilo Petrucci is, surprisingly, down in 16th place and 1.3s off the pace. The Italian has a new aero package for his GP17 - and it is different again to the factory’s - but he has yet to use it. Octo Ducati’s team-mate Scott Redding had another difficult session, finishing in 19th after a late crash put him out of the last lap time attack.
Jack Miller looks to be struggling to adapt back to Michelin tyres after six days at the Suzuka Eight-Hours, finishing in 18th place. Sam Lowes was 23rd and two seconds off the pace.