A rain-affected qualifying in Holland ahead of the Dutch TT Assen saw Aleix Espargaro take his first pole position in MotoGP, lining up on the grid ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez and his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
The session was a disaster for the factory Yamaha team, with Jorge Lorenzo qualifying 9th and Valentino Rossi only managing the 12th and slowest time. With rain hitting the circuit after Q1 – which saw Alvaro Bautista and Cal Crutchlow advance to Q2 – it was a battle to make it out the pitlane first and get the best track space; or so everyone thought.
Aleix Espargaro elected to run at the back of the field and therefore allowed himself more space, while those in front bunched up and suffered as a result. It soon became clear this was going to be a very narrow window of opportunity, and when they crossed the line it seemed a quick lap from Marquez was enough to catch the pole position. That all changed mere seconds later when Espargaro routed his rivals, lapping 1.4 seconds quicker than Marquez unseen by the cameras and stunning everyone. Dani Pedrosa vaulted up to 3rd thanks to a quicker second lap, and Espargaro was going even faster until he backed off in the final sector.
Andrea Iannone impressed yet again by netting 4th, while Crutchlow’s previously forlorn Ducati results took a much-needed boost as he set 5th fastest time and saved a set of tyres when he pitted before everyone else. Brad Smith was right behind his compatriot, ahead of Dovizioso, Bradl, Lorenzo, Bautista, Pol Espargaro and Rossi.
CLASSIFICATION – Qualifying – Assen – MotoGP – 27th June 2014
Copyright – DORNA