Andrea Dovizioso claimed his and Ducati’s first pole position since the opening race of 2015 after a rain-affected qualifying session at Assen. The Italian coped best with the rapidly changing conditions to edge out Valentino Rossi while Scott Redding qualified on the front row for the first time in his MotoGP career in third.
Rain had started to fall in the closing stages of Moto3 qualifying but it soon intensified as the MotoGP class prepared for FP4, leading to a succession of crashes in the half-hour practice session leading up to qualifying. Q1 was no different as Jack Miller, Michele Pirro and Hector Barbera all lost control of their machines, costing each a place in Q2.
Pol Espargaro and Yonny Hernandez secured their places in the battle for pole with last-gasp flyers and the extra track time on Michelin wet tyres looked to be a significant advantage with the Tech 3 rider grabbing provisional pole with one minute remaining.
As expected though, the final runs proved to be the fastest with conditions improving and Valentino Rossi knocked a full second off the Spaniard’s benchmark as the chequered flag flew. Dovizioso was circulating close behind the no.46 and before the Yamaha mechanics had chance to celebrate a possible pole, the Ducati rider snatched it away with a 1:45.246. Redding, who was also circulating with the Italian duo, followed the no.4 across the line to take third.
Marc Marquez had quite the adventure in his session, crashing at turn eight on his first timed lap of the afternoon, forcing him to commandeer a photographer’s scooter in order to get back to the pits. The championship leader succeeded in returning to this second bike and salvaged fourth with his final effort, edging out Cal Crutchlow and Hernandez.
Pol Espargaro was demoted to seventh ahead of his brother Aleix while Andrea Iannone finished ninth after gambling on intermediates. With the Italian relegated to the back of the grid for his indiscretions in Barcelona, Jorge Lorenzo will move up to tenth but that will be scant consolation after a miserable session for the reigning champion.
2016 Motul TT Assen (Qualifying Classification)
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