Points leader Valentino Rossi will start round eight of the MotoGP championship at Assen from pole position, with title rival Jorge Lorenzo languishing down in eighth.
Rossi, 36, is renowned as a master of the high-speed sweeps of Assen, and so it proved again. He set a stunning 1m32.627s for his first pole position since Valencia last year.
"The weekend started well, the bike is very competitive and like the track a lot," he said. "I'm so happy for the pole position, it's a great feeling – it doesn't happen a lot of times!"
Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro will start second, ahead of the works Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Pol Espargaro qualified a strong fifth, from Andrea Ianonne and Cal Crutchlow.
Rossi’s teammate and title challenger Lorenzo could only qualify eighth – his worst qualifying performance of the season.
The story of the session
Marquez set the early pace with a 1m33.005s, mainly due to a stunning final sector time (0.167s quicker than all rivals at the time), but had two massive moments on his second lap, almost hitting Aleix Espargaro at the final chicane.
Lorenzo set an initial 1m33.146s, and then improved to 1m33.117s. Crutchlow pipped Lorenzo for second by 0.005s, ahead of Dovizioso on 1m33.132s and Rossi on 1m33.150s.
On the second new tyre runs, the times tumbled to set even quicker new records. Espargaro unleashed 1m32.858s to grab the top spot, while Lorenzo could only manage 1m33.042, which meant he languished in eighth.
Rossi then banged in his 1m32.627s pole time, which was a new track record, with Marquez improving to 1m32.907s and then 1m32.886s – only good enough for third behind Espargaro.
|13||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||1'33.789||1.162|
|15||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||1'33.999||1.372|
|18||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||1'34.289||1.662|
|23||Alex de Angelis||ART||1'35.189||2.562|