Fabio Quartararo will go in search of a third straight MotoGP victory on Sunday - but it is Johann Zarco who surprisingly sits on pole for the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
Frenchman Quartararo, who had not managed to win a race prior to this year, has opened the delayed 2020 season with back-to-back triumphs in Jerez.
The Petronas Yamaha rider is setting the pace in a title race that is currently minus reigning champion Marc Marquez, who is not involved in Brno following a second surgery on the broken arm he suffered in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix.
However, the early front-runner in the standings will have to get past compatriot Zarco if he is to clinch a hat-trick.
WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING
Few can have expected Zarco to post the fastest time in qualifying. Now racing for Reale Avintia Ducati, his last pole came back in the 2018 season.
Quartararo's quest to head the field for a fifth straight race ended when he crashed during his final lap, though there was a boost when Pol Espargaro was penalised for continuing during yellow flag conditions, dropping him from second to sixth.
Franco Morbidelli will start on the outside of the front three, Aleix Espargaro from fourth and Maverick Vinales fifth, the latter having missed out on a final attempt to improve his time when starting the lap too late.
Andrea Dovizioso endured a session to forget, however, ending up in 18th, though was at least better off than Repsol Honda pair Stefan Bradl and Alex Marquez, who occupy the last two spots.
THE STARTING GRID
1. Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing), 2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha), 3. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 6. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM)
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 9. Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 11. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), 12. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
13. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 14. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 15. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing)
16. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM), 17. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 18. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda), 21. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda)
CZECH REPUBLIC GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS
There will be a fresh winner in 2020, considering the absent Marquez is not around to defend his Czech crown.
The recovering Spaniard is the previous rider to win the first three races in a season, doing so back in 2014. The in-form Quartararo will hope he can match that feat, despite finishing qualifying with a trip into the gravel after pushing too hard to get on pole.
Dovizioso, who sits third in the standings, has work to do if he is to challenge as he struggled during an indifferent day for Ducati, despite Zarco's unexpected performance.
There was a setback for Takaaki Nakagami too, as the LCR Honda rider missed out on Q2 after his best lap was wiped out by a track limits penalty.
And what of Valentino Rossi? The Italian has won four times in Brno, albeit the last of those successes was back in 2009. His performances in practice suggested he could challenge at the venue this week, yet he had to settle for 10th place on the grid.
WHAT THE RIDERS SAID
Johann Zarco (1st): "I saw the lap time and I was even surprised, it was a huge difference to the lap time posted before with the first tyres I used at the beginning of qualifying."
Fabio Quartararo (2nd): "I pushed a little bit too much and took some bumps in corner 13. But in FP4 we made a big step on the pace, we feel now exactly where the limit is – okay, I pushed way too hard on the brakes during qualifying, but on the pace it’s great to know the feeling."
Franco Morbidelli (3rd): "It definitely looks like my best weekend in MotoGP so far. I'm happy about that, and I will try to capitalise tomorrow."