Author: Dave Fern Posted: 26 Jun 2015
Valentino Rossi scorched to the fastest ever two wheeled lap of the Assen circuit to put his Movistar Yamaha onto pole start for the Dutch TT eighth round of MotoGP. The seven-times winner of the elite crown, and series leader, though by only a single point, blasted the rest with a sensational last minute lap in a time of 1m 32.627secs. It gave the Italian his first pole start of the season and only his second in the last five years.
“The weekend started well, the bike is good and we have been very competitive from the start," Rossi said. "We have struggled in practice in other rounds, but we made changes, I have stayed concentrated and this is very important. It is great to have pole position, a great feeling and something that doesn’t happen very often for me. It is specially important now to me for the race and the championship.”
If Rossi’s performance was remarkable, then so was that of Aleix Espargaro aboard the Ecastar Suzuki who progressed into the final grid decider by topping the first element of qualifying and then with three minutes remaining stunned his rivals by going into top place, only to be eclipsed in the closing moments by Rossi.
Defending two times champion Marc Marquez completes the front row of the grid, despite a couple of scary moments about his Repsol Honda with only 0.259secs between the three of them. His team-mate Dani Pedrosa, fastest on the opening day, had to settle for fourtn best, heading a second row from Pol Espargaro on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha and Ducati’s Andrea Iannone.
Cal Crutchlow, who had challenged for top spot of the leaderboard early on with a lap in 1m 33.112secs was able to make only marginal improvements and starts his CWM LCR Honda from the third rown, seventh fastest, but ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, currently second in the title stakes to his team-mate Rossi, and Maverick Vinales on the second Ecstar Suzuki.
Andrea Dovizioso is a fourth row starter alongside Dani Petrucci and Bradley Smith while Scott Redding, sixteenth fastest overall on the Marc VDC Honda, starts from the fifth row.
Sam Lowes, third fastest on the Speed Up, starts from the Moto2 front row, outpaced by series leader Johann Zarco and defending champion Tito Rabat. Danny Kent, the Moto3 series leader, starts his Leopard Honda from the second row, half a second down on pole-man Enea Bastianini
MotoGP Assen - Qualifying Times
1. Valentino Rossi - Movistar Yamaha - 1'32.627
2. Aleix Espargaro - Ecstar Suzuki - 1'32.858
3. Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda - 1'32.886
4. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda - 1'32.987
5. Pol Espargaro - Tech 3 Yamaha - 1'33.013
6. Andrea Iannone - Ducati Team - 1'33.016
7. Cal Crutchlow - CWM LCR Honda - 1'33.028
8. Jorge Lorenzo - Movistar Yamaha - 1'33.042
9. Maverick Vinales - Ecstar Suzuki - 1'33.076
10. Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team - 1'33.112
11. Danilo Petrucci - Pramac Ducati - 1'33.126
12. Bradley Smith - Tech 3 Yamaha - 1'33.236