Aleix Espargaro shoots to shock Dutch pole
Aleix Espargaro dominated MotoGP qualifying as he took a surprise pole position at Assen.
The Forward Yamaha rider was almost 1.5s quicker than his nearest rival reigning world champion Marc Marquez as a rain shower disrupted qualifying at the famous Dutch circuit.
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was third fastest as he pipped Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone to the final place on the front row.
Rain began to fall at the start of the second part of qualifying which forced riders to push hard early on to set a benchmark time before conditions deteriorated.
In the end, a smart strategy from Espargaro to work himself into some clear track proved crucial as he blitzed the Assen track to secure pole with a 1.38.789s effort.
The time was unable to be beaten as the rain continued to disrupt the session leaving Espargaro to celebrate his maiden pole position of his MotoGP career.
Marquez provided the next best time but he could only muster a lap 1.405s adrift of his fellow countryman while Pedrosa was five tenths slower in third.
Cal Crutchlow showed his class in wet conditions as he netted fifth on the grid for Ducati ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith and Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
The factory Yamaha squad struggled in the tricky conditions with Jorge Lorenzo ninth behind Stefan Bradl while Valentino Rossi could only secure 12th on the grid.
Australia’s Broc Parkes will start from 19th on the grid for Paul Bird Motorsport.
MotoGP TT Assen Qualifying Results
|1||Aleix Espargaro||Forward Yamaha||1m38.789s|
|4||Andrea Iannone||Pramac Ducati||1m40.786s||+1.997s|
|6||Bradley Smith||Tech 3 Yamaha||1m40.818s||+2.029s|
|8||Stefan Bradl||LCR Honda||1m41.982s||+3.193s|
|10||Alvaro Bautista||Gresini Honda||1m42.884s||+4.095s|
|11||Pol Espargaro||Tech 3 Yamaha||1m43.085s||+4.296s|
|13||Karel Abraham||Cardion Honda||1m34.907s||Q1|
|14||Hiroshi Aoyama||Aspar Honda||1m34.930s||Q1|
|15||Yonny Hernandez||Pramac Ducati||1m35.056s||Q1|
|16||Scott Redding||Gresini Honda||1m35.059s||Q1|
|17||Danilo Petrucci||Ioda Aprilia||1m35.346s||Q1|
|18||Colin Edwards||Forward Yamaha||1m35.484s||Q1|
|19||Broc Parkes||PBM Aprilia||1m35.513s||Q1|
|20||Hector Barbera||Avintia FTR-Kawasaki||1m35.631s||Q1|
|21||Michael Laverty||PBM Aprilia||1m35.731s||Q1|
|22||Nicky Hayden||Aspar Honda||1m35.792s||Q1|
|23||Mike di Meglio||Avintia FTR-Kawasaki||1m35.980s||Q1|