By his own admission, Casey Stoner recovered from one of his biggest crashes to produce a fantastic lap in Qualifying for the Dutch TT at Assen. The World Champion suffered a nasty high side in morning practice but bounced back to claim his third pole of the year. Stoner is still unsure whether he can repeat Friday's heroics in the race though with race pace still a question mark.
“This morning was probably one of my biggest crashes, which is saying something! The crash really knocked the wind out of me, I hurt my head, neck, wrist, knee and shoulder, it was a bad one for sure. The shoulder isn’t too bad, in some of the faster corners it’s tricky but my knee is the worst on the change of direction in the chicane and a few other places. The team did a really great job, they kept their heads down even when I wasn’t riding to my full potential or the bike’s full potential and when we were struggling to get the rear tyre to work, they didn’t give up. Then when we came back onto the soft rear tyre for the first time since FP1, the bike had much more feeling and we were able to put together a fantastic lap and put it on pole. As far as race pace goes, we’re still struggling and we need to work on this and make some decisions before the race. It’s been a really strange day for us but hopefully we can be competitive tomorrow”.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa will start alongside in second and echoed Stoner's concerns about the RC213V's race pace, with tyre choice set to play a key role in the outcome.
“We did a very good job in all the practice sessions and I’m happy with qualifying, even though I missed the pole position at the very end. The target was to be on the front row because the first corner here is very close and tight, and to work hard to get a good race pace, I think we did everything well. We improved the feeling with the front tyre a little and I’m really looking forward to confirm this in the race tomorrow. The times are very close again but the key point will be the race pace. I feel good, the bike is working well and we just need to make the correct tyre choice, because the weather can be uncertain like it was in Silverstone. It looks like the soft tyre gives you a lot of potential but for the race distance we are not 100% sure, especially on the left side which is softer. Here it is important to have good stability out of the corner and with the hard compound you get it, so we will need to wait and see what the conditions are like tomorrow and do the best in the race”.