With the Dutch TT taking place on a Saturday, instead of the customary Sunday afternoon for race days, the schedule for MotoGP has been shifted ahead a day, and accordingly qualifying comes to us from a Friday. A pleasant way to end the work-week, the Dutch weather apparently didn’t get the memo before filing its TPS report of off-and-on rain, which made for an interesting qualifying session. Giving riders fifteen minutes of dry track, a drizzle hit Assen, which quickly brought the riders back into the pit box.
Getting a second chance at things though, qualifying only had another 15 minutes of dry track, as qualifying was again interrupted by the rain. With the third time being the charm, riders thrice had a chance for a maximum-speed lap, though only five minutes remained in the session. Still for many, this was enough of an opportunity to get a few flying laps on the time sheets, making for a very sporadic, yet oddly entertaining show for the assembled Dutch fans.
The biggest surprise of the whole qualifying session was Casey Stoner, who in the last remaining laps put on a free clinic of how to ride a chattering Honda RC213V faster than anyone else on the grid, including the well-behaving Yamahas. Overcoming his lackluster week thus far, Stoner will start from pole, followed by teammate Dani Pedrosa. Rounding out the front row is Jorge Lorenzo, who continues to have a firm grip on the MotoGP Championship.
A surprise second-row starter is Stefan Bradl, who got a solid tow from Valentino Rossi down the final section of the Dutch circuit, he will start from the fourth position on his satellite Honda. Meanwhile Cal Crutchlow will start fifth, after getting slowed-down with the paddock’s least favorite rider, Hector Barbera. Rounding out row two is Ben Spies, whose racing orders might be “do or die” on Saturday, as the Texan won at Assen last year.
Noticeably off the pace was Karel Abraham, who is still nursing an injured hand from Catalunya. The Czech rider sat out the British GP, and is clearly not even close to 100% in his riding form. Top CRT goes to RdP, though teammate Aleix Espargaro has been showing an improved form, making for a good scrap between the two Aspar riders. Noticeably going nowhere were the Ducati riders, which included Valentino Rossi, who was once again out-qualifed by his teammate Nicky Hayden.
Qualifying Results from the Dutch TT at Assen, The Netherlands:
|1||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||303.4||1’33.713||–|
|2||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||303.4||1’33.828||0.115|
|3||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||305.7||1’34.001||0.288|
|4||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||304.0||1’34.035||0.322|
|5||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||299.0||1’34.486||0.773|
|6||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||297.2||1’34.644||0.931|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||299.6||1’34.698||0.985|
|8||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||299.4||1’34.722||1.009|
|9||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||300.0||1’34.751||1.038|
|10||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||302.1||1’35.057||1.344|
|11||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||305.0||1’35.289||1.576|
|12||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||286.6||1’35.830||2.117|
|13||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||286.3||1’36.007||2.294|
|14||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||283.2||1’36.647||2.934|
|15||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||284.7||1’36.943||3.230|
|16||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||270.0||1’36.967||3.254|
|17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||302.8||1’37.110||3.397|
|18||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||279.8||1’37.191||3.478|
|19||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||283.5||1’37.281||3.568|
|20||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||284.3||1’37.554||3.841|
|21||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||283.4||1’38.305||4.592|