With only a one-point lead over Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi has no room for error. If Lorenzo duplicates his performance of the last four-consecutive rounds – winning all four by large margins after leading every lap – he can take the 2015 MotoGP points lead from Rossi.The nine-time World Champion Rossi has remained on top of the point standings since winning the opening round at Qatar. From there, he finished on the podium at every round, including a win in Argentina.
Hungry for a 10th world title, Rossi began round 8 this week at the Assen TT Circuit quickly, leading two of four free practices. And the 35-year-old Italian – the oldest rider in 2015 MotoGP – carried this momentum into Assen MotoGP 2015 qualifying, where he earned his first pole position since Valencia 2014.And Rossi completed the task at the “Cathedral of Speed” in record-breaking style; during Assen MotoGP 2015 qualifying, Rossi earned the pole with a 1:32.627 around the fast and flowing Assen TT circuit, which is a new Fastest Lap at the 2.82-mile track featuring 18 corners.Joining Rossi on row one for Saturday’s 26-lap race are Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro, who earned the pole two weeks ago at Catalunya MotoGP, and the reigning MotoGP Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. When Assen MotoGP 2015 Qualifying wrapped up, Espargaro finished 0.231 of a second behind Rossi, and Marquez 0.259 of a second back.“Assen is always special for me, because I have great memories here. I have won here in the past and a lot of important races in my career took place at this circuit. I love this track, because it‘s fantastic,” says Rossi, who has the most wins at Assen with eight times across all classes.“There‘s already a lot of crowd assembled here today and this is a good moment, because it gives you a special feeling when you get the pole position, especially for me, because it doesn‘t happen that often. Getting pole position is vital for tomorrow. It was very important that I started the weekend well, beginning with yesterday‘s first practice session. I felt good with the bike and started with a good basic setting. Today‘s result is important because I wanted to start more in front, because we always struggle a lot when qualifying on the second and third row.”Heading up row two is the other factory Repsol Honda RC213V pilot, Dani Pedrosa, who finished 0.360 of a second behind Rossi. Joining Pedrosa, who earned third at Catalunya MotoGP, is Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro (-0.386) and the top Ducati GP15, Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (-0.389).CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow will start from seventh on top of row three. The Brit was followed at Assen MotoGP 2015 qualifying by Lorenzo and Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales. Row four consists of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith.As for the sole American in all of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Aspar Honda’s Nicky Hayden earned 22nd at Assen MotoGP 2015 qualifying.The 24-rider grid will return to the Assen TT Saturday for round eight of 18 in 2015 MotoGP. Fox Sports 1 will provide live coverage of Assen MotoGP beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday, June 27.
2. Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR, -0.231 3. Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda RC213V, -0.259 4. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda RC213V, -0.360 5. Pol Espargaro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, -0.386 6. Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team GP15, 0.389 7. Cal Crutchlow, CWM LCR Honda RC213V, -0.401 8. Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1, -0.415 9. Maverick Vinales, Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR, -0.449 10. Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team GP15, -0.485 11. Danilo Petrucci, Octo Pramac Racing Ducati GP15, -0.499 12. Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1, -0.609 13. Stefan Bradl, Athina Forward Racing Yamaha 14. Yonny Hernandez, Octo Pramac Raing Ducati 15. Loriz Baz, Athina Forward Racing Yamaha 16. Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Honda 17. Hector Barbera, Avintia Racing Ducati 18. Mike Di Meglio, Avinita Racing Ducati 19. Eugene Laverty, Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 20. Jack Miller, CWM LCR Honda 21. Alvaro Bautista, Aprilia Racing Team 22. Nicky Hayden, Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 23. Alex De Angelis, E-Motion IodaRacing Team ART 24. Marco Melandri, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!