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Brno Qualifying | Pardo slipstreams to pole

Alejandro Pardo chased Danny Kent across the line in the dying minutes of the second qualifying session to seize a brilliant pole position for both the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup races this weekend in Brno as part of the Cardion AB Grand Prix of the Czech Republic.

The 16 year old Italian immediately thanked the 16 year old Briton after the session. “I had to thank him,” said Pardo. “That was the perfect situation because Danny was fast and just ahead of me at the right time. It’s my first pole in the Rookies Cup and I’m very happy about that.”

“I enjoyed that session so much, the bike was perfect… and the rider was perfect,” he added with a huge laugh. For the race though I don’t know, Danny is very fast, so is Kevin Calia and some of the other guys. I want to win but it will be very difficult. It is impossible to say how the race will go, if it is possible to break away or it could be a whole bunch of us like at other races this year.”

As usual Kent had a smile and a cheerful disposition to go with his front row start. “I’m happy with that but I didn’t know he (Pardo) was behind me. Then I thought I could go quicker the next lap but there were a bunch of riders and no chance. We did quite a lot of work on the bike, changed the suspension and the jetting and it is perfect for the race now. I think it might be possible to break away here if you get your head down and the guys behind are holding each other up.”

Third quickest overall after being fastest in the first of the two 30 minute qualifying sessions was 15 year old Italian Kevin Calia who could not get within half a second of that time in the second period. “I just couldn’t put in a really good lap in the second qualifying session and I don’t know why. I will have to think about it and talk to the engineers but I am not too worried for the race, I was fast all day and I have a good feeling for the bike so I think it should be a good race.”

Completing the front row was 16 year old local hero Tomas Vavrous and nowhere to be seen was Cup Leader Jake Gagne, the 16 year old Californian who will start from the 4th row of the grid in 16th place. “I didn’t enjoy watching that second session at all. I crashed in the first qualifying, the carburation was a bit off and it was cutting out and then in again suddenly, that flicked out the rear and high-sided me. The bike was damaged so I couldn’t use it in the second session. It’s not too much of a problem coming off the 4th row, I’ll get a good start and it is a big wide track, I have more speed, I ran pretty good here last year so I’m hoping still to get on the podium.”

The man who chased him across the line in both races in Germany, 15 year old South African Brad Binder, will start from 8th. “That’s not too bad, I don’t mind the second row. As long as I can get a good start and get away with the guys I can make a race of it.”

One of the surprises of practice was 17 year old Australian Josh Hook who qualified 5th. “Well that was a lot better than I normally do in qualifying. I normally spend too much time wallying around waiting to follow one of the fast guys and try to learn from him. This time I just went out on my own, found a good rhythm and that worked. I had a bit of trouble with the rear sliding which we need to have a look at but otherwise I’m very happy with the bike and looking for a good race.”

Those returning from injury had varying fortunes. Alex Kristiansson found riding with a broken collarbone just about impossible, Alain Techer struggled with lack of track time having not sat on a bike since breaking his arm in Jerez and was at the back of the field. Mathew Scholtz qualified 19th, similarly hindered by lack of track time since his Assen practice crash where he tore his big toe so badly.

Official Qualifying Classification

1. Alejandro Pardo (ITA) 2 minutes 12.940 seconds
2. Danny Kent (GBR) +0.094
3. Kevin Calia (ITA) +0.364
4. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) +0.549
5. Joshua Hook (AUS) +0.784
6. Harry Stafford (GBR) +0.795
7. Daijiro Hiura (JPN) Red +0.830
8. Brad Binder (RSA) +1.036
9. Florian Alt (GER) +1.324
10. Xavier Figueras (ESP) +1.432