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Brno MotoGP: Marc Marquez beats Ducati duo to pole

Marc Marquez resisted a strong challenge from the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone in Brno MotoGP qualifying, as Yamaha had a troubled session.

At a track that had been tipped as one of its best opportunities to unseat Marquez and Honda, Yamaha's first blow came when Valentino Rossi had a violent crash in practice four, falling moments before Alvaro Bautista did likewise at the same spot.

Rossi, who still ended the session fastest, required a precautionary x-ray on his left hand in the medical centre before being cleared to ride again. He did not suffer any broken bones, but did sustain a nasty cut to his little finger.

While Rossi was in pain, his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo had to make a mid-Q2 bike swap as an experimental front brake proved unsuccessful. Only a last-gasp lap got him up from 11th to sixth, one place ahead of Rossi.

With Yamaha struggling, Ducati emerged as Marquez's main threat.

Marquez had taken provisional pole early in Q2, but was then unseated by Pramac rider Iannone in the closing minutes.

The world champion's first reply could only get him to within 0.003 seconds of the satellite Ducati man, although Marquez then claimed pole back with a 1m55.585s.

Iannone could not respond, and was edged out of second by factory Ducati counterpart and 2015 team-mate Dovizioso, who slipped ahead by 0.012s. That still gave Ducati two bikes on the front row.

As had been the case in practice, Tech 3's Bradley Smith was the top Yamaha, thrusting himself ahead of Dani Pedrosa's Honda for fourth with his last lap.

Stefan Bradl and Yonny Hernandez made it through from Q1 to take eighth and 12th on the grid, sandwiching the Espargaro brothers and Cal Crutchlow.

Scott Redding couldn't repeat his Indianapolis Q2 appearance, due in part to a fall at the end of the practice session. He was fifth in Q1, just behind Gresini team-mate Bautista's Factory-spec bike.

Mike di Meglio failed to set a qualifying time at all after crashing both his bikes - one in practice four and one at the start of Q1.

That wasn't what the Avintia crew needed after two accidents from di Meglio's team-mate Hector Barbera earlier in the weekend.

Britain's Leon Camier will start 18th for his second appearance standing in for Nicky Hayden at Aspar, while Colin Edwards' Forward replacement Alex de Angelis will begin his MotoGP return from 20th on the grid.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap    
 1.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 1m55.585s         
 2.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                1m55.714s  +0.129s
 3.  Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati         1m55.726s  +0.141s
 4.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m55.730s  +0.145s
 5.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 1m55.812s  +0.227s
 6.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                1m55.815s  +0.230s
 7.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                1m55.821s  +0.236s
 8.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             1m55.871s  +0.286s
 9.  Pol Espargaro     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m55.899s  +0.314s
10.  Aleix Espargaro   Forward Yamaha        1m56.090s  +0.505s
11.  Cal Crutchlow     Ducati                1m56.129s  +0.544s
12.  Yonny Hernandez   Pramac Ducati         1m56.622s  +1.037s
13.  Michele Pirro     Ducati                1m57.093s  Q1     
14.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         1m57.428s  Q1     
15.  Scott Redding     Gresini Honda         1m57.557s  Q1     
16.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Aspar Honda           1m57.984s  Q1     
17.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Honda         1m58.100s  Q1     
18.  Leon Camier       Aspar Honda           1m58.935s  Q1     
19.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda Aprilia          1m58.863s  Q1     
20.  Alex de Angelis   Forward Yamaha        1m58.948s  Q1     
21.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m58.968s  Q1     
22.  Michael Laverty   PBM-Aprilia           1m58.968s  Q1     
23.  Broc Parkes       PBM-Aprilia           1m59.581s  Q1     
24.  Mike di Meglio    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  no time    Q1     
Daytona Competition
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