Marquez storms to fourth pole of 2017 in Brno
Marc Marquez stole a march on his MotoGP championship rivals with a stunning lap to take pole at the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
The Spaniard upped his game on Saturday with the fastest time in both practice sessions, and he was on top of the timesheets again when it came to qualifying for Sunday's race in Brno.
With Maverick Vinales down in seventh and Andrea Dozivioso in fourth, Marquez has a great opportunity to stretch his one-point lead with a second win in Czech Republic - his first coming in 2013.
Initially Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa set the pace but with a minute to go Marquez assumed top spot.
His time of one minute 54.981 seconds gazumped Repsol Honda team-mate Pedrosa and the latter was down to third seconds later as rival Valentino Rossi went 0.092secs behind his title rival.
"In qualifying I always push the limit," he said. "Sometimes it's difficult with the new tyre and I struggled with the first one. Even like this, the lap time was not so bad.
"Then on the second, I could improve with a few points. I'm happy. Normally here I'm struggling a lot. My pace is not like Germany, but I think I'm ready to, at the minimum, fight for the podium."
Crutchlow's hopes of a front-row start subsequently took a hit as he had to settle for fifth behind Dovizioso and just in front of three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo.
A third-row start for Vinales leaves him with a lot to do to keep pace with Marquez, while Danilo Petrucci, Alvaro Bautista and Johann Zarco completing the top 10.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 1:54.981secs
2. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) 1:55:073s
3. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 1:55:119s
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:55:441s
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) 1:55:489s
6. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) 1:55:552s
7. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) 1:55:663s
8. Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing) 1:55:738s
9. Alvaro Bautista (Aspar) 1:56:027s
10. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) 1:56:075s