The MotoGP™ field was greeted with difficult weather conditions on a day that saw all three classes battle it out in qualifying for top grid positions for tomorrow’s Iveco TT Assen race. It was the MotoGP premier-class qualifying practice that provided the most drama, in a session that was interrupted by spells of rain, as Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner snatched a last-grasp pole position for ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
After numerous breaks due to showers, the sun reappeared in the final few minutes to allow Stoner, who crashed heavily in the morning practice, to put in a scorching lap in the high 1.33’s to oust Pedrosa into second on the grid. Rounding out the front row is Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, who could not match the Hondas’ pace, and seemed to be struggling with the last sector of the track.
The story of the afternoon was however LCR Honda MotoGP’s rookie Stefan Bradl, who heads the second row in fourth, after putting in his best qualifying display in the premier-class. Alongside him in fifth is Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who again seems to not be feeling the effects of his fractured left ankle. Sixth place is occupied by yesterday’s pace-setter Ben Spies, on board his factory Yamaha, who will be looking to rediscover some of his earlier form for the race tomorrow.
Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso leads the third row in seventh as the last Yamaha on the grid, after failing to improve in the final few minutes of the session. To his right, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista starts in eighth, after he crashed out on his satellite Honda on the final hot lap.
Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden qualified in ninth, in front of teammate Valentino Rossi, rounding out a disappointing qualifying session for the Italian outfit. Rossi stated afterwards that he’s looking to make a quick start tomorrow, as the team is still unsure about rear tyre life on the Desmosedici. Top CRT performer was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who put his ART machine in 12th place.