Assen MotoGP: Stoner Crashes, Earns Pole

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Dutch Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Qualifying for the Iveco TT Assen was hampered by periods of light rain, but when the sun appeared during the final minutes of the session, one rider posted a blistering fast lap – Casey Stoner.

The Repsol Honda rider posted a 1:33.713 aboard the RC213V, allowing him to take his third pole of 2012 MotoGP (the others arriving at Catalunya and Estoril). It was tough work for Stoner, though, considering he suffered a hard crash in the morning practice session.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “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 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 tire to work, they didn’t give up. Then when we came back onto the soft rear tire 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.”

Joining the reigning champion Stoner on the front row for Saturday’s Assen MotoGP will be teammate Dani Pedrosa, and the man who won four races this season – Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, respectively.

Pedrosa trailed Stoner by 0.115 of a second.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “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.

“It looks like the soft tire 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.”

Lorenzo couldn’t keep the pace of the Hondas, and continued struggling with the last sector of the 18-corner track. Lorenzo qualified in third, 0.218 of a second behind Stoner.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Racing Team YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I tried my best in the last lap of qualifying but I made a little mistake in the last chicane on braking and lost a few tenths. I was surprised at Casey’s last lap; it was fantastic and so fast and Dani was also very close to him. We have a good position for tomorrow on the front row and we have a good race pace and I’m confident with the bike so I’m happy. Qualifying is one thing but the race is another, tire choice will be important for the race.”

Heading up the second row is the satellite LCR Honda piloted by MotoGP rookie and reigning Moto2 Champion, Stefan Bradl. This was his best-ever qualifying result in the premier class, the German 0.322 of a second behind Stoner.

Joining Bradl on the second row will be Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, who continues to recover from fracturing his left ankle at Silverstone, and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who led Thursday’s free practice sessions. Spies, who has struggled this season, will be looking for a repeat performance like last year when the American took his maiden premier-class victory.

The third row will be headed up by Crutchlow’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian could not improve during the later portion of qualifying, and was the slowest of the Yamaha YZR-M1 motorcycles. Dovi was the final rider to post within a second of Stoner.

San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista, who took his maiden pole at Silverstone during the last round, qualified eighth quickest, 1.009 seconds behind Stoner. Bautista finished ahead of the Ducati Team duo of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, who qualified ninth and 10th, respectively.

The quickest CRT performer was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who put his ART machine in 12th place.

For a preview of 2012 Assen MotoGP, click here.

2012 Assen MotoGP Qualifying Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 303.4 1’33.713
2. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 303.4 1’33.828 0.115 / 0.115
3. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 305.7 1’34.001 0.288 / 0.173
4. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 304.0 1’34.035 0.322 / 0.034
5. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 299.0 1’34.486 0.773 / 0.451
6. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 297.2 1’34.644 0.931 / 0.158
7. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 299.6 1’34.698 0.985 / 0.054
8. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 299.4 1’34.722 1.009 / 0.024
9. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 300.0 1’34.751 1.038 / 0.029
10. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 302.1 1’35.057 1.344 / 0.306
11. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 305.0 1’35.289 1.576 / 0.232
12. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 286.6 1’35.830 2.117 / 0.541
13. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 286.3 1’36.007 2.294 / 0.177
14. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 283.2 1’36.647 2.934 / 0.640
15. 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 284.7 1’36.943 3.230 / 0.296
16. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 270.0 1’36.967 3.254 / 0.024
17. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 302.8 1’37.110 3.397 / 0.143
18. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 279.8 1’37.191 3.478 / 0.081
19. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 283.5 1’37.281 3.568 / 0.090
20. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 284.3 1’37.554 3.841 / 0.273
21. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 283.4 1’38.305 4.592 / 0.751