Assen MotoGP: Rossi takes stunning pole, Lorenzo down in eighth

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.

Qualifying results:

Pos   Rider   Bike   Time   Gap 
Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'32.627  
Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1'32.858 0.231
Marc Marquez Honda 1'32.886 0.259
Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'32.987 0.360
Pol Espargaro Yamaha 1'33.013 0.386
Andrea Iannone Ducati 1'33.016 0.389
Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'33.028 0.401
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1'33.042 0.415
Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1'33.076 0.449
10  Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'33.112 0.485
11  Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'33.126 0.499
12  Bradley Smith Yamaha 1'33.236 0.609
13  Stefan Bradl Yamaha Forward 1'33.789 1.162
14  Yonny Hernandez Ducati 1'33.875 1.248
15  Loris Baz Yamaha Forward 1'33.999 1.372
16  Scott Redding Honda 1'34.071 1.444
17  Hector Barbera Ducati 1'34.223 1.596
18  Mike Di Meglio Ducati 1'34.289 1.662
19  Eugene Laverty Honda 1'34.428 1.801
20  Jack Miller Honda 1'34.645 2.018
21  Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1'34.736 2.109
22  Nicky Hayden Honda 1'34.972 2.345
23  Alex de Angelis ART 1'35.189 2.562
24  Marco Melandri Aprilia 1'36.376 3.749
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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event Dutch TT
Sub-event Friday qualifying
Track TT Circuit Assen
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Aleix Espargaro , Marc Marquez
Article type Qualifying report