Stoner takes pole in thrilling Assen qualifying Ducati Corse rider Casey Stoner has claimed his third consecutive pole position of the season in this afternoon's Assen qualifying session after a thrilling three-way duel with Honda's Dani Pedrosa...
Stoner takes pole in thrilling Assen qualifying
Ducati Corse rider Casey Stoner has claimed his third consecutive pole position of the season in this afternoon's Assen qualifying session after a thrilling three-way duel with Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. It is the fourth successive pole position set on Bridgestone tyres this year.
Stoner's time of 1m35.520s shows an almost one second improvement over the existing pole record, also set on Bridgestone rubber back in 2006.
Rossi finished a valiant third today, just 0.139s behind Stoner and 0.107s behind Pedrosa, having held provisional pole before each riders' final qualifying run. The third position represents Rossi's fifth front-row start of the season.
Bridgestone-shod riders fill half of the top ten grid positions for tomorrow's 26-lap Dutch TT with Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen in eighth, San Carlo Honda Gresini's Shinya Nakano in ninth and Alice Team rider Sylvain Guintoli continuing his good form in Assen this weekend with his first top ten qualifying position on Bridgestone tyres.
A largely wet morning practice session prevented riders, once again, from conducting the longer runs that tyre manufacturers prefer to carry out in order to verify tyre durability. The dry afternoon session did permit some further honing of the machine-tyre packages before riders switched to qualifying rubber.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
You must be pleased with another pole position?
"It was a very exciting end to qualifying today with Casey and Valentino exchanging fastest laps on qualifying tyres before Dani set a quick time in the closing moments to split our two riders on the front row. The session was run at a very high level with the best times nearly one second faster than the pole record. We have taken pole position three years in a row at Assen with John Hopkins in 2006 and Chris Vermeulen last season, so I am pleased to continue this trend after another excellent performance from Casey this afternoon."
Will tyre choice be difficult for tomorrow?
"This morning's wet session prevented us from carrying out long runs with our riders, a situation similar to what we faced in Donington last weekend. We have a lot of data from yesterday, but we have not been able to verify the consistency of our race specs. The weather is again unpredictable, something we should be accustomed to by now, but it does not make our jobs easy, that is for sure. Hopefully the warm-up session in the morning will be dry so we can get a few more important laps in dry conditions."
Weather: Dry - Air 20C, Track 37C (Bridgestone measurement)