Ryder Notes: Confusingly Close
by julian ryder, on the ground in the brno
Saturday, August 16, 2014

Strange day. Marc Marquez took pole in front of two Ducatis with the factory Yamahas a little lost on a track that you would think would suit them. The shock was seeing two Ducatis on the front row. Andrea Iannone followed Marquez for a couple of laps to go quickest for a while before Marc puled the pin. "I pay dinner for Marc," said an unrepentant Italian. Marc said he would have shut off if Dani Pedrosa or Valentino Rossi had been following. Iannone didn't seem upset by this slight and said he favors the softer tyre for the race tomorrow. He also confirmed that he has had a full factory bike for a while. Dovizioso, the other Ducati on the front row, is more likely to use the harder tyre and doesn't think he'll have the performance drop off that hit him in Indy last week.

The quickest Yamaha is Bradley Smith in fourth, who's responding nicely to his new one-year contract. The factory boys had more trouble: Jorge Lorenzo has good race pace but couldn't find that extra tenth in qualifying. He's not happy with the bumps that have appeared since last year either. Valentino can be excused for his qualifying position. He had a very fast crash in FP4 and ground away a chunk of his left little finger so had to use his second bike. He'll be fast tomorrow, and so will Jorge. And so will Dani Pedrosa. He may be fifth but he's only a quarter if a second off pole. In fact, Pol Espargaro in ninth is less than a third of a second slower than Marquez.

All the riders really like Brno, expect a close race unless the weather decides to intervene, in which case the result is likely to be as confusing as qualifying was ...


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