Crutchlow first Brit to win MotoGP pole since 2002 Britain’s Cal Crutchlow will start from his first ever pole position for Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider will share the front row with Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo missed qualifying following his crash on Thursday.
A truly dramatic qualifying session for the 65th World Championship Dutch TT concluded with several riders grabbing provisional pole position, only to be demoted by their rivals just moments later. Rain had fallen earlier in the day but would not disrupt the grid-deciding period.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, Bradl and Marquez all provisionally held the top spot before Crutchlow delivered the pole time of 1’34.398 to become the first British MotoGP™ pole-sitter since Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2002. Behind him, Marquez qualifies in the top three for the first time since Le Mans and 2011 Moto2™ title winner Bradl seals his first front row start in the premier class. Honda’s Dani Pedrosa had looked likely to collect his third consecutive pole, but crashed at De Bult with six and a half minutes remaining and would tumble to fifth.
Rossi qualified fourth which is his best of the year so far, whereas Tech 3’s Bradley Smith will line up behind Pedrosa in sixth - his best grid position to date. The third row will be headed up by Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro who has further raised the bar as the best ever CRT qualifier. It was also a positive day for teammate Randy de Puniet, who was quickest in Q1 and will start ninth.
Q1 was also full of surprises. Andrea Iannone crashed his Energy T.I. Pramac Racing machine when challenging for a place in the shootout, which leaves him 13th on the grid. Two places further back, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso could manage no more than 15th which is his worst grid position since joining the top class in 2008. The field is completed by Ivan Silva, back on the grid with Avintia Blusens as substitute to Hiroshi Aoyama who picked up hand injuries at the last round in Barcelona.
After the session, both Dovizioso and Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera were handed penalty points by Race Direction. The latter was adjudged to have deliberately blocked the former during Q1, but the Ducati rider was also handed a penalty point for kicking out at his rival - 'an action prejudicial to the interests of the sport’. Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen will start at 3pm local time (GMT +2).
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