Yamaha’s Crutchlow Earns Maiden MotoGP Pole at Assen

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow

2013 Assen MotoGP / Dutch TT Qualifying Results

With Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo sidelined due to breaking his shoulder, greater opportunities existed for the other MotoGP pilots during qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix at Assen.

And one rider that took advantage of this situation was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. The Brit began the second qualifying session in aggressive form, his first lap a 1:35.613 around the 2.822-mile circuit in the Netherlands.

But by the end of the 15-minute Q2 session, Crtuchlow was bumped back to fourth place behind many of the usual front runners. But unlike when he was beaten to the pole in Qatar and Catalunya, Crutchlow put on a massive display of skill, posting a final lap of 1:34.398.

This secured him the pole for Saturday’s Assen MotoGP. After achieving his debut first-position start, Crutchlow is now the first British rider to earn a MotoGP pole since Jeremy Williams in 2002 (Proton KR5 five-cylinder developed by Kenny Roberts).

Crutchlow took the pole for the 65th running of the Dutch TT – the longest running race on the MotoGP calendar – by 0.357 of a second ahead of the rookie Marc Marquez aboard the Respol Honda RC213V.

Taking the final front-row position was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, which was his first-ever front-row qualifying position.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It feels fantastic to have finally got my first pole position in MotoGP. It might have been a different story if Jorge (Lorenzo) wasn’t injured but you can only beat the guys on track and I did that today.

“It would have been good to have a dogfight for pole position with Jorge because it was obvious before his crash that he was going to be the man to beat. Hopefully at some stage this year I’ll be having a battle with him for the win.

“It is a great achievement for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because it is not often a non-factory rider gets a pole position in MotoGP. The competition is incredibly tough but today we showed again that we can compete with the very best.

“I’m particularly pleased to be on pole because I’ve been struggling a bit with the bike in the dry. I wasn’t happy in FP4 and if we can make the bike calmer there is no reason why I can’t go faster. I’m looking forward to the race now with a lot of confidence and we will see what happens but it could be a big battle hopefully for the fans to watch. Congratulations also to Bradley because he is not in the best physical condition and to be on the second row shows he is making big progress.”

Heading up the second row will be the sole rider for the Yamaha Factory Racing team this Saturday at the Dutch TT, Valentino Rossi. The nine-time World Champion’s fourth-place start will be his best so far this season.

Behind Rossi will be the current MotoGP points leader, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard, who leads Lorenzo by seven points heading into round seven of 18, was on top and looked like he would earn his third consecutive pole. But with six and a half minutes to go, Pedrosa crashed at De Bult.

Completing the second row will be Crutchlow’s teammate Bradley Smith. He qualified just ahead of the top CRT finisher at every race so far this season, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro.

Joining Espargaro on the third row will be GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and the Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet.

The top qualifying Ducati was the GP13 piloted by Nicky Hayden. The American, along with his teammate Andrea Dovizioso and the satellite riders Andrea Iannone and Michele Pirro (replacing the injured Spies), was supposed to ride the GP13 “lab” bike at Assen. But due to not getting the new bike dialed in at testing last week, the riders are forced to pilot their regular GP13s.

As for Pirro, he qualified 11th, followed by Iannone, who crashed in Q1. As for Dovi, he qualified 15th – his worst grid position start since joining the premier MotoGP class in 2008.

Though Lorenzo won’t start due to breaking his shoulder, he still would have qualified 12th due to his FP1 time.

The riders will return to the Assen TT circuit Saturday for the race, which begins at 3 p.m. local time. For a preview, click here.

2013 Assen MotoGP Qualifying Results (Dutch TT):

135Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha302.01’34.398
293Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda305.01’34.7550.357 / 0.357
36Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda302.91’34.8780.480 / 0.123
446Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha299.41’34.9740.576 / 0.096
526Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda305.61’35.0060.608 / 0.032
638Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha301.21’35.4541.056 / 0.448
741Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART290.31’35.5001.102 / 0.046
819Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda301.91’35.5081.110 / 0.008
914Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART289.41’35.6221.224 / 0.114
1069Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati302.21’35.9081.510 / 0.286
1151Michele PIRROITAIgnite Pramac RacingDucati298.91’36.8662.468 / 0.958
DNS99Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha
1329Andrea IANNONEITAEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati302.21’36.4320.345 / 0.270
148Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR289.31’36.4900.403 / 0.058
154Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati300.51’36.5240.437 / 0.034
169Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter287.71’36.6950.608 / 0.171
1717Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingART289.01’36.7910.704 / 0.096
185Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki288.61’37.1431.056 / 0.352
1967Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda288.61’37.3151.228 / 0.172
2071Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki287.21’37.6251.538 / 0.310
2168Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART286.61’37.7811.694 / 0.156
2270Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM289.01’38.3782.291 / 0.597
2352Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter280.61’38.7042.617 / 0.326
2422Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensFTR283.01’39.0772.990 / 0.373