Photography by Gold & Goose
BRNO, Czech Republic (Aug. 24, 2013) – Cal Crutchlow may be on the way out at Tech 3 Yamaha, but the steely-eyed Brit set out to prove he is indeed one of the elite riders in MotoGP and did just that Saturday at Brno, in the Czech Republic, by not only winning the pole for Sunday’s race, but setting a new qualifying lap record in the process with a 1:55.527, breaking the old mark of 1:55.799 set by Jorge Lorenzo last year.
If the Crutchlow pole (only the second of his career, the first coming at Assen a couple of months ago) was somewhat of a surprise, his running mates on the front row are equally unexpected with Alvaro Bautista starting in the middle of the front row and Marc Marquez bringing up the outside in third.
“It’s a good job for the Monster Tech 3 team,” Crutchlow said. “We did a good job progressing every session. We struggled this weekend in most sessions and we’ve been getting better and better as the weekend goes on. It’s nice to take a true pole, because at Assen with Jorge not being able to ride. So to battle and be the top Yamaha is probably the best thing. The guys want the car at the end of the year, so I’ve been trying my best. It was a little sketchy on the second tire.
“The out lap everyone was going slow and I had to push because we couldn’t get any heat in the rear tire. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. Hopefully we can aim for the podium.”
Crutchlow set the early mark with a 1:56.081 on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. A lap later Alvaro Bautista, pacing off Marc Marquez, came through with a new Brno qualifying record of 1:55.754 on his Go&Fun Gresini Honda.
With just a minute-and-a-half to go Crutchlow ripped around the 3.4-mile scenic circuit with the record 1:55.527. Expected to challenge was Lorenzo, but on the final lap he could only manage a time good for fifth, just behind Dani Pedros.
Perhaps the most disappointing for Brno fans was the fact that multi-time race winner Valentino Rossi only managed seventh best in qualifying on his factory Yamaha.
American Nicky Hayden qualified a quiet tenth.
Texan Colin Edwards was the top CRT rider in qualifying, putting his NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR/Kawasaki into Q2 for the second weekend in a row with a 1:58.169. Edwards was just knocked off the top spot in Q1 at the last second by Pramac Ducati rider Andrea Iannone. Iannone crashed earlier in the day, but recovered to top Q1 with a 1:58.134.
Grand Prix of the Czech Republic qualifying – Saturday, August 24, 2013
1. Cal Crutchlow 1:55.227
2. Alvaro Bautista 1:55.754
3. Marc Marquez 1:55.863
4. Dani Pedrosa 1:55.868
5. Jorge Lorenzo 1:55.949
6. Bradley Smith 1:56.014
7. Valentino Rossi 1:56.186
8. Stefan Bradl 1:56.477
9. Andrea Dovizioso 1:56.825
10. Nicky Hayden 1:56.979
12. Colin Edwards 1:58.392