MotoGP Info 2012: Superb Stoner snatches pole in dramatic Assen qualifying2012-06-29 18:48
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.
During an incident-packed qualifying at the Iveco TT Assen in the Moto2™ class, it was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who took pole position in front of Pol Espargaró and Andrea Iannone.
Márquez, who had played second fiddle to Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Espargaró for all of the preceding practices, pulled a lap of 1.37’133 out of the bag to snatch pole, despite ending up in the gravel at the end of the session. Espargaró finished just over four-tenths behind his rival, yet managed to keep Speed Master’s Iannone at bay a further three and a half tenths down.
GP Team Switzerland’s Randy Krummenacher nearly caused a front-row upset, yet had to settle for a very credible fourth instead. Compatriot Dominique Aegerter, on board his Technomag-CIP machine, lines up next to him in fifth, after finding some impressive form at the Dutch track. Completing the second row is Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi with his FTR bike, as he looks to get onto the podium for the first time this season.
Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding had a disappointing qualifying for his standards, ending down in seventh, ahead of Tech 3 Racing’s fellow countryman Bradley Smith on his Mistral 610. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis made it two FTR bikes in the top ten with a solid display, ahead of Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who will no doubt look to improve in tomorrow’s race.
There was drama early on as QMMF Racing Team teammates Elena Rosell and Anthony West crashed, as the female Spanish rider tried to avoid West as he slid off track. Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón following suit shortly after, and with 35 minutes left of the session, JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco had his second crash of the day, with Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti and Kiefer Racing’s Max Neukirchner also crashing out in the latter stages of qualifying. None of the riders were seriously hurt in the incidents.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese will start tomorrow’s Iveco TT Assen Moto3™ race from pole position after setting the quickest time this afternoon in front of teammate Danny Kent and Niccolò Antonelli.
With a time of 1.43’645, Cortese threw down the gauntlet for the forthcoming race, relegating Kent into second place, who recorded the first ever front row start in his Grand Prix career. San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Antonelli was another rider to get his first ever front row start in his rookie year, after having shown great pace all weekend.
Fourth spot went to Bankia Aspar’s Héctor Faubel, who started the session slowly, yet came into his stride towards the end. Lining up next to him in fifth is TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, who has looked resurgent ever since arriving at the Dutch circuit. Sixth place is occupied by Blusens Avintia’s championship leader Maverick Viñales, who was unable to add to his string of pole-positions this season.
Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou starts tomorrow’s race from seventh, after putting in yet another solid performance in the afternoon session. Alongside him in eighth is Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira, in front of Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil in ninth, who was running close to the top in the early stages. RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom completes the top ten, and will be hoping to resolve some set-up issues, which hindered his qualifying slightly.
IodaRacing Project’s Jonas Folger was unable to go head out in this afternoon’s qualifying session as his team was unable to fix a mechanical issue that kept him out of the morning’s practice as well. JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez suffered a heavy crash 15 minutes before the end, yet managed to regroup and head out for the final few minutes, ending up in 24th.
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