Rossi outguns rivals for pole Valentino Rossi will start his quest for a 100th Grand Prix victory from pole position at the Assen circuit on Saturday afternoon, taking the top spot for the Alice TT Assen with a 1’36.025 lap.
Although it is Rossi’s second pole position of 2009, it is also the first time that he has topped a qualifying session this season. His previous pole came courtesy of combined practice times when the grid-deciding session in Japan was cancelled due to rainfall.
The Fiat Yamaha rider was trailed by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who was less than a tenth of a second slower than the Italian’s hot lap. Pedrosa returns to the front row after two races away.
Jorge Lorenzo continued his 100% record of front line starts with a time three-tenths down on teammate Rossi’s marker, and the Spaniard made a final push for pole in the closing stages of the session. He is now the only rider to have qualified on the front row for every race of the 2009 season to date, having relegated the only other candidate –Casey Stoner- to fourth place.
Although Stoner had crossed the line with enough time to perform another hot lap, the Australian sat up and opted against a further attempt at pole. Problems with grip had plagued the Ducati Marlboro rider throughout the morning and afternoon sessions, and he had another wobble that left him obviously agitated during the outing.
Colin Edwards once again qualified on the second row after leading the session for a small period of time, alongside another veteran in Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi.
The only crash in the session came from Niccolò Canepa, the Pramac Racing rookie escaping uninjured.
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