MotoGP: Marquez, Crutchlow, Rossi Secure Front Row at Assen
Rossi recuperated from a heavy crash in Free Practice 4 to charge to the front of the field.
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez rode the wheels off his RC213V to claim the pole position at the Assen TT track for tomorrow's MotoGP Dutch Grand Prix. Independent Honda superstar Cal Crutchlow followed Marquez closely to land second place, while Valentino Rossi clocked the third-fastest lap of Saturday's qualifying session.
The nail-biting track excursion was largely ruled by Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo, who repeatedly lapped the 2.8-mile Dutch circuit faster than his competitors. However, the Spaniard couldn't uphold the pace into Q2 and fell down the order to an abysmal 10th place, where he will start tomorrow's race.
The fastest lap time was produced by Marquez with a 1:32.791, and Crutchlow with a 1:32.832, just 0.4 seconds slower than the factory Honda. Rossi's time of 1:32.850 proves that the Yamaha has the pace, but given the hot temperatures expected tomorrow, tire choice will play a huge role in outright performance.
"I'm so happy about the front row because I crashed in FP4, so I lost some feeling," said Rossi. "It wasn't easy, but I did three laps with the first tire and recovered my line and my rhythm, and after that, it was a 'waiting game'. Everybody was waiting but I was in a good position. It was exciting because it was a really hot lap!"
The fourth place on the grid was conquered by factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, whose 1:32.870 was only two-tenths of a second slower than Rossi's. That being said, the Italian rider struggled with balance in the early stages of qualifying, so only time will tell if the Borgo Panigale outfit will be able to sort out the gremlins on time for tomorrow's race. Suzuki's Alex Rins will follow Dovizioso in fifth place.
Further down the grid, it's Yamaha's Maverick Vinales who will start in sixth place, Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, Yamaha Tech 3's Johann Zarco, Suzuki's Andrea Iannone, and Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo wrapping up the top ten.