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Jun 28, 2013

Crutchlow Earns Career-First MotoGP Pole Position, At Assen (Updated)

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Cal Crutchlow (35).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Assen, Netherlands
June 28, 2013

Qualifying Session One Results (top two advance to QP2, all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Randy DE PUNIET, France (ART-Aprilia), 1:36.087
2. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:36.162
3. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 1:36.432
4. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:36.490
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:36.524
6. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:36.695
7. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (ART-Aprilia), 1:36.791
8. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:37.143
9. Bryan STARING, Australia (FTR-Honda), 1:37.315
10. Claudio CORTI, Italy (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:37.625
11. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (ART-Aprilia), 1:37.781
12. Michael LAVERTY, UK (PBM-Aprilia), 1:38.378
13. Lukas PESEK, Czech Republic (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:38.704
14. Ivan SILVA, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:39.077

Qualifying Session Two Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:34.398
2. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:34.755
3. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:34.878
4. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:34.974
5. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:35.006
6. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 1:35.454
7. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (ART-Aprilia), 1:35.500
8. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:35.508
9. Randy DE PUNIET, France (ART-Aprilia), 1:35.622
10. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:35.908
11. Michele PIRRO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:36.866
12. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), no time recorded

Combined Qualifying Results:

1. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:34.398
2. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:34.755
3. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:34.878
4. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:34.974
5. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:35.006
6. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 1:35.454
7. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (ART-Aprilia), 1:35.500
8. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:35.508
9. Randy DE PUNIET, France (ART-Aprilia), 1:35.622
10. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:35.908
11. Michele PIRRO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:36.866
12. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 1:36.432
13. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:36.490
14. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:36.524
15. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:36.695
16. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (ART-Aprilia), 1:36.791
17. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:37.143
18. Bryan STARING, Australia (FTR-Honda), 1:37.315
19. Claudio CORTI, Italy (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:37.625
20. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (ART-Aprilia), 1:37.781
21. Michael LAVERTY, UK (PBM-Aprilia), 1:38.378
22. Lukas PESEK, Czech Republic (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:38.704
23. Ivan SILVA, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:39.077
24. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), no time recorded

Moto2 Qualifying Results (all using Honda engines and Dunlop tires):

1. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (KALEX), 1:38.734
2. Johann ZARCO, France (SUTER), 1:38.833
3. Scott REDDING, UK (KALEX), 1:38.879
4. Esteve RABAT, Spain (KALEX), 1:38.973
5. Xavier SIMEON, Belgium (KALEX), 1:39.096
6. Anthony WEST, Australia (SPEED UP), 1:39.272
7. Mattia PASINI, Italy (SPEED UP), 1:39.279
8. Mika KALLIO, Finland (KALEX), 1:39.294
9. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (MOTOBI), 1:39.297
10. Dominique AEGERTER, Switzerland (SUTER), 1:39.300
11. Sandro CORTESE, Germany (KALEX), 1:39.303
12. Simone CORSI, Italy (SPEED UP), 1:39.334
13. Takaaki NAKAGAMI, Japan (KALEX), 1:39.362
14. Marcel SCHROTTER, Germany (KALEX), 1:39.387
15. Julian SIMON, Spain (KALEX), 1:39.414
16. Jordi TORRES, Spain (SUTER), 1:39.482
17. Alex DE ANGELIS, San Marino (SPEED UP), 1:39.488
18. Thomas LUTHI, Switzerland (SUTER), 1:39.583
19. Louis ROSSI, France (TECH 3), 1:39.660
20. Randy KRUMMENACHER, Switzerland (SUTER), 1:39.681
21. Toni ELIAS, Spain (KALEX), 1:39.703
22. Ratthapark WILAIROT, Thailand (SUTER), 1:39.783
23. Ricard CARDUS, Spain (SPEED UP), 1:39.857
24. Gino REA, UK (FTR), 1:39.892
25. Danny KENT, UK (TECH 3), 1:39.928
26. Nicolas TEROL, Spain (SUTER), 1:40.014
27. Axel PONS, Spain (KALEX), 1:40.202
28. Steven ODENDAAL, South Africa (SPEED UP), 1:40.517
29. Alberto MONCAYO, Spain (SPEED UP), 1:40.726
30. Kyle SMITH, UK (KALEX), 1:40.921
31. Yuki TAKAHASHI, Japan (MORIWAKI), 1:41.006
32. Doni Tata PRADITA, Indonesia (SUTER), 1:41.875
33. Rafid Topan SUCIPTO, Indonesia (SPEED UP), 1:43.868

Moto3 Qualifying Results (all on Dunlop tires):

1. Miguel OLIVEIRA, Portugal (MAHINDRA), 1:43.588
2. Alex MARQUEZ, Spain (KTM), 1:43.588
3. Maverick VIÑALES, Spain (KTM), 1:43.649
4. Luis SALOM, Spain (KTM), 1:43.671
5. Alex RINS, Spain (KTM), 1:43.673
6. Jonas FOLGER, Germany (KALEX KTM), 1:43.901
7. Niklas AJO, Finland (KTM), 1:44.330
8. Isaac VIÑALES, Spain (FTR HONDA), 1:44.424
9. Arthur SISSIS, Australia (KTM), 1:44.470
10. Niccolò ANTONELLI, Italy (FTR HONDA), 1:44.769

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Dutch delight for Crutchlow with maiden pole position

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow delivered a sensational performance at the historic Assen track in Holland this afternoon to storm to a maiden MotoGP pole position for tomorrow’s Dutch TT.

The French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad had double reason to celebrate in cool and cloudy conditions after rookie Bradley Smith produced an equally stunning display to qualify in a career best sixth position for tomorrow’s 26-lap race.

Crutchlow threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the field right from the start of QP2, his first flying lap of 1.35.613 sending him soaring to the top of the timesheets. Bumped down to fourth when he started his last lap attack, he produced an exhibition in controlled and aggressive riding, the 27-year-old almost 0.5s ahead of the best pace as he entered the final section of the legendary Assen track.

Having been narrowly beaten to pole position in Qatar and Catalunya, British rider Crutchlow wasn’t to be thwarted again and he grabbed the headlines today with a perfect final lap of 1.34.398 that secured a career first pole position by a comfortable margin of 0.357s over Marc Marquez.

Crutchlow’s phenomenal result saw him become the first British rider to claim a MotoGP pole position since Jeremy McWilliams in 2002.

There was plenty to be proud of on the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage this afternoon after Smith’s heroics ensured he will start from the second row of the grid for the first time in his premier class career.

Still troubled by pain and discomfort from a recovering left wrist injury he sustained in Mugello recently, Smith brilliantly powered his YZR-M1 machine to sixth position with a best time of 1.35.454.

He managed to knock over a second off his pace in nine breathless laps and like Crutchlow he saved his best to last and he will sit alongside Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa on the grid for Assen’s unique Saturday race.

Today’s result was easily the 22-year-old’s best in MotoGP qualifying after he had previously started ninth on the grid in Qatar and Le Mans. After racing to a career first top six at the last round in Catalunya, Smith is confident he can produce another strong race tomorrow to strengthen his challenge for a place inside the top 10 in the World Championship standings.

Cal Crutchlow 1st 1.34.398 – 9 laps:
“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.”

Bradley Smith 6th 1.35.454 – 9 laps:
“Sixth position is a fantastic achievement and I am really happy. With Ducati not performing well at this track I took advantage of that situation and to be only one second away from pole position is also great. Starting on the second row gives me a good chance to follow the factory guys and also Cal if I can. The biggest goal for the race will be to learn as much as I can from racing against the very best in the world. I am expecting a tough race though because Assen is a really physical track and for my wrist it will not be easy to do 26 laps. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile staff again because they have done an awesome job in helping me be as comfortable and pain free as possible. I am feeling more confident with the bike and we found a good base for this track. I’m really excited to see what I can do in the race and congratulations to Cal on his pole position. He’s been riding awesome all season and today we saw once again just how strong the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is.”

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team:

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi secured fourth position in qualifying today for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Netherlands. After a wet morning practice the nine-time world champion enjoyed a dry qualifying session this afternoon, initially climbing to fourth position on his first set of rubber. With eight minutes remaining of the 15 minute quick-fire session Rossi pitted for a new rear tyre before heading back out. As the last minutes ticked down the pace increased and a potential pole position looked possible as he topped the time sheets with a 1’34.974 lap. A late flurry of hot laps from rivals as the clock hit zero left no time for a reply, leaving the Italian just 0.096 seconds off the front row in fourth for tomorrow’s race.

Having made a significant step forward in set up during the recent Spanish tests Rossi has been strong in both wet and dry conditions this weekend, consistently in the fastest group and showing a very competitive pace for race day.

Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo returns to Assen this afternoon after surgery last night in Barcelona to repair a collarbone injury sustained in yesterday’s wet second practice session. Lorenzo did not take part in the qualifying heat.

Valentino Rossi
4th / 1'34.974 / 9 laps

“I’m happy for my speed, my pace and my performance in the practices. I feel good with the setting of the bike. It's a pity I didn't stay on the first row as I think I had the potential to do a little better and stay in the first three. Anyway, I’m fourth, the best qualifying of the season and especially I have a good pace, even after a lot of laps so I’m happy. Now we wait for tomorrow, we have some small modifications to make to the settings and we have to hope that the weather will be good. I hope for a dry race, but if it is wet I hope it is 100% wet, half and half is the worst conditions.”

Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli
Team Director
“It has been the best qualifying session for Vale this year which is really promising as we know he is more of a racer than a pole man. He has been pretty fast and consistent in all the sessions so it looks like he is ready for tomorrow. It is important because it means we have made a good job in the last week. We are waiting for Jorge’s final status however we look forward to the race with good prospects whatever the weather conditions.”

More, from another press release issued by Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team:

Lorenzo Undergoes Successful Operation in Barcelona

Assen (The Netherlands), 28th June 2013

Jorge Lorenzo has successfully undergone surgery at the Hospital General de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain last night to repair his fractured left collarbone. The injury was sustained when he crashed in Free Practice nr. 2 for the Dutch Grand Prix at Assen yesterday afternoon.

He was operated on by Dr. Joaquin Rodriguez of the Hospital General de Catalunya, assisted by Dr. Ana Carreras, Dr. Marcos Cots and Dr. Michele Zasa of the Clinica Mobile.

Dr. Zasa made the following statement following the two hours operation:

"The duration of the surgery was approximately two hours; the clinical course of post-operative has been regular. Jorge sustained a displaced, complex fracture to the third medial of the left collarbone. It's been a challenging operation, apparently successful. We inserted a titanium plate and eight screws to secure the fragments of the collarbone. Jorge has just woken up from the anesthesia. In the next few hours we will evaluate the progress of the patient and then we will be able to estimate how long the post-surgery rehabilitation will take.”

More, from another press release issued by Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team:

Lorenzo Returns to Assen Following Successful Surgery

Assen (The Netherlands), 28th June 2013

After completing successful surgery last night Jorge Lorenzo was assessed by the medical team in Barcelona this morning and declared fit to fly. As a result the World Champion has made the decision to return immediately to Assen to spend the remainder of the Grand Prix weekend with his team.

Lorenzo will leave from Barcelona at 3pm and arrive directly at Groningen airport.

Further updates will be issued in due course.

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Crutchlow claims first ever MotoGP™ pole position at Assen

Round 7: Dutch MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Assen, Friday 28 June 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium-soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Wet. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 15-17°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 17-17°C; Track 22-22°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow’s stunning form this MotoGP™ season hit a new high after the British rider claimed his first ever pole position in an enthralling qualifying session at Assen.

In conditions that were far from easy for the riders due to cool track temperatures and a strong breeze, Crutchlow stopped the clocks on his last lap in QP2 with a time of 1’34.398 that saw him relegate Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez to second place by 0.357 seconds. Qualifying on the front row for the first time in his career was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who secured an excellent third place in qualifying with a best lap time of 1’34.878. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was again the best of the CRT qualifiers, the Spaniard’s quickest lap time of 1’35.500 sees him line up on the third row for tomorrow’s race in seventh position.

In a mirror image of yesterday, today’s on-track action was again affected by rainfall with wet conditions for the morning FP3 session before a dry track presented itself for FP4 and the two qualifying sessions in the afternoon. The wet track for FP3 meant that no riders were able to better their lap times from FP1, so the results determining which riders qualified directly for QP2 remained unchanged from yesterday. Both wet and slick tyres were used in Free Practice 3 as the track conditions quickly changed from wet to dry with some damp patches, creating highly variable grip levels which caught out some riders. For FP4 and qualifying track temperatures reached their maximum level at 22°C, with all riders selecting softer rear slicks to ensure the best grip and warm-up in the cool conditions. Front tyre choice was more varied, with most riders preferring the greater cornering and braking stability of the harder front slick, while other riders seeking the maximum amount of front-end grip possible and selecting the extra-soft compound front slick. As both front slick compounds for Assen are the two softest in Bridgestone’s line-up, both options are well suited to running in cool conditions.

The 65th Dutch TT will start at 1500 local time tomorrow (GMT +2) with the riders taking to the track beforehand for the morning Warm Up session at 0940.

Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“That was a truly fantastic qualifying session in conditions that weren’t easy for the riders and congratulations to Cal on his first pole position and also Stefan for his first ever front row in MotoGP. As expected the rain earlier today and cool temperatures meant that grip levels were not optimal and this was reflected in the lap times that were slower than in qualifying last year. Riders had the chance to try wet tyres today on a track that was wet but drying quickly and managing tyre performance in such conditions could be a major factor for the race if we have rain tomorrow. If the race is dry, it seems that all riders will most likely select the softer rear slick, but at the front it is less clear as although the majority of riders seem to prefer the harder front option, if temperatures are cooler tomorrow then some riders may opt for the better edge grip and warm-up performance of the softer front slick.”

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Front row start for Marquez but disappointment for Pedrosa after crash in Q2

The drama continued in Assen at the Dutch TT today with another day of changeable conditions.

In the final minutes of this morning's wet-dry FP3 session, Marc Marquez suffered a big crash in turn 13 in his first exit on slick tyres on the drying track. Fortunately, he escaped serious injury but after further checks at Clinica Mobile, it was confirmed he had a small fracture in the intermediate phalanx of the little finger on the right hand and also in the first row phalanx of the big toe in his right foot. Unfazed, Marc went back on track for FP4 and finished fastest. He then executed a great Qualifying session securing his third front row start of the season, in second position, with a time of 1'34.755 on his final lap of 9.

For teammate Dani Pedrosa, it has been a frustrating end to his day. Dani, finishing 5th - just 0,248 seconds from Marc in FP4, was leading in Qualifying when he crashed in turn 7 midway through Q2. He arrived back in the garage with just two minutes left of the session, still leading by 0.3 with a time of 1'35.006, and opted not to go back on track. In the dying moments he was dislodged from the top spot and will start tomorrow's 26 lap race from 5th on the grid.

Marc Marquez 2nd 1'34.755
"The session went pretty well. It was very important that we took part in qualifying and got this position on the grid, as before FP4 we did not expect to get a spot on the front row. We were certainly not expecting second, because the pain in my finger was really affecting me. When I put my glove on it hurt a lot, as did my back - my foot wasn't as bad, fortunately. I tried to stay focused on the bike, despite the bruises, and we managed to get a good time. Today we were able to ride a hot lap, tomorrow we will have to see how we manage over 26 laps. The weather will also be a very important factor, because here it has been constantly changing this weekend"

Dani Pedrosa 5th 1'35.006
"We haven't had any sessions that have really been good for putting in laps and trying out things with the bike. The conditions of the track and the weather haven't really allowed us to improve the setup, because we've had very few laps on a completely dry track. However, in qualifying we were able to run a faster pace than in the rest of the practice sessions here. Despite the crash, the feeling is a lot better than it was yesterday. So, we will see if tomorrow we can get a good start and have a strong race"

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Abraham will start from sixth row in Assen

Karel Abraham will start from sixth position on the grid to Saturday’s race of MotoGP in Dutch Asse. Cardion AB Motoracing rider took seventh position in qualifying practice that guaranteed him seventeenth position on the grid. Abraham lost 0,709 second to the fastest rider of first qualifying practice Randy de Puniet. Before the race Abraham can move one position up because on the twelfth position is still world champion Jorge Lorenzo that broke his collarbone and his start to the race is not sure.

Karel Abraham:
„I’m not satisfied; I was not able to confirm my good results of the weekend during the most important moment. We could be around the fithteenth position, but unfortunately in last lap, in which I was doing well I made two big mistakes that cost me a few positions. I’m angry because from Thursday’s results I know I could reach better position and it is pity that I cannot make it when it is the most important moment to prove it. During this new type of qualifying practice we have little time to drive a good result so you have no space to do any strategy. The most important for tomorrow is to make a good start because in Assen there is a short straight that is followed by sharp turn and it is pretty though. We will see if Lorenzo will be on the grid tomorrow, anyway I have finger crossed for him, I hope he will feel fine fast and he will fight for the defense of world title.“

Marico Grana, chief mechanic Cardion AB Motoracing
„It is very difficult to struggle with fast changes of condition as for us and also for our rider. The positive thing is that we are close to the Ducati´s riders and also our lost to the fastest riders is low. On the other hand, we will start from seventeenth position and I am convinced that we do not belong there. We know that we can be fast on the dry and also on the wet track but we are not able to prove it during the qualifying practice. Anyway I believe we can drive our best result of the season tomorrow. The race should be on the dry track that is better for us. “

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Edwards and Corti will start from 18th and 20th place on the grid at Assen

Difficult qualifying session for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders, starting tomorrow’s race from eighteenth and twentieth place with their FTR – Kawasaki bikes at TT Assen.

Edwards has been struggling with chassis setting all weekend but seems to have found the setting that could make him fight for points at the end of tomorrow’s race. Colin Edwards has a steady race pace that allows the team to hope for good results.

The Italian Claudio Corti has not managed to get a good feeling with the bike at the Dutch track in dry conditions and hopes that this afternoon’s data analysis and tomorrow’s warm up session will allow the team to find the best possible setup for the race.

The goal is to be in the Top15 but the ever-changing track conditions have made it hard for the NGM Mobile Forward riders to find the ideal setting to do so. The weather at Assen will be once more the determining factor for tomorrow’s race.

Colin Edwards

“This morning we made big changes to the bike, it just felt low on the front yesterday so we dropped the rear a lot. With all the camber that you have here, if you have a normal setting the bike just feels low so we made a big chassis setting change and a big change in the electronics and everything started to feel better. The only dry time we’ve had besides yesterday was this morning’s FP4, got a few laps in and the bike felt good. In qualifying we made a minor mistake on the tire choice, still got out on the tires that I kind of wanted to use for qualifying and it all kind of came together. 1´37.1 was really all I had considering that 13´7.6 is the fastest we’ve gone. It didn’t set the world on fire but at least we are on the grid. Thanks to my guys, they have done a really good job. We had a new link from FTR that we wanted to try but we will have to wait until Germany to try it.”

Claudio Corti

“Today it didn’t go well at all. The first practice of the day was useless because it was a half dry, half wet session. During FP4 we wasted a lot of time due to brake problems that we were not able to solve in time for qualifying. We were not able to improve yesterday’s results; I would actually say that we have gotten worse. On top of that we had strong winds in the afternoon and that didn’t exactly help me in finding the right setting, we are far from having the ideal dry setting for it. We will be going over the data this evening and we will try to improve during warm up to be ready for tomorrow’s race. At the moment I am hoping it rains tomorrow.”

Sergio Verbena, MotoGP Technical Director

“Yesterday we had both a wet and a dry session. The morning FP3 session was a waste because at the beginning it was wet and towards the end it dried up. It did give us the chance to gather some data in wet conditions. We didn’t want to risk using slicks tires towards the end of the session because the riders that did change to slicks risked crashing. The FP4 was the second full dry session of the weekend and it allowed us to make some improvements in terms of the problems we had yesterday morning. We have qualified in eighteenth and twentieth place but those grid positions do not reflect the real potential of our riders. Colin has a good pace and that makes us believe that he can fight to be in the points. Claudio has a reasonable race pace and we will be going over the data to see how to close that half a second gap that he has with Colin. Tomorrow we would like to have both riders in the points as we did in Barcelona. It will all depend on the weather conditions that we will have tomorrow.”

More, from a press release Pramac Racing:

The qualifying sessions for this seventh round of the MotoGP world championship played out today at the Assen TT Circuit, where a nice crowd filled the grandstand.

It was another day marked by changing weather conditions, which inevitably influenced the work of the teams and riders and caused for a wide variation of times from one session to the next.

Andrea Iannone made a good improvement in FP4, giving him confidence following several challenging sessions. Unfortunately, the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team rider fell just a couple of minutes from the end of Q1, and he’ll have to be content with starting from the fifth row along with his compatriot, Andrea Dovizioso.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“Unfortunately, I fell just as I was improving. I’m not sure what happened because I overdid it. I didn’t have a lot of trust in the front, but I wanted to try to push anyway. I wanted to improve my time, and I thought I could go faster to understand if it was just a problem of feeling with the bike, but I honestly don’t understand it. I’ll try again tomorrow, but I must say that for the moment, this is the most difficult track we’ve tried. I’m certainly sorry to have crashed, as it’s never nice, but at least it happened while I was really giving it my all. It’ll be a difficult race because at the moment, I’m always on the limit. Here, I’m risking as soon as I start braking. Today I was vertical; I hadn’t even begun the turn, and I was already on the ground. I’m having a hard time working the hard front tyre. It doesn’t flex, and although I’m faster in the changes of direction, I can’t use it as I would like. I need to be able to brake harder and push harder, but we saw what happened when I tried. For tomorrow, we still don’t have clear ideas, but I’ll speak with the engineers and see if we can find the best solution for the setup.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Fourth and fifth rows for Ducati Team at Assen TT

The difficulties encountered by the Ducati Team during free practice yesterday at the Assen circuit continued in today’s qualifying sessions, and riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s Dutch TT from the fourth and fifth rows, respectively.

A strong wet FP3 performance this morning demonstrated that the team has a good rain setup for the Desmosedici GP13, but the issues in the dry meant both riders had to take part in Q1. That session took place in dry conditions, and while Hayden was able to advance through to Q2, Dovizioso was blocked by another rider on his fast lap. Hayden again struggled with a lack of feeling during the dry Q2 session and finished tenth.

Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:35.908)
“It’s a tough day for me and the team. After we made some changes overnight, the bike felt better in the wet this morning than yesterday, and I was immediately able to go faster. I was hoping those improvements might carry over into the dry, but then in FP4, the bike was still moving a lot, especially on corner entry. The tyres here have a pretty stiff carcass, which isn’t helping us, and I’m really fighting the bike a lot. I barely advanced through to Q2, and my time in that was over a second slower than in qualifying last year, which is too much. I hate to admit it, but I hope for rain tomorrow.”

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 15th (1:36.524)
“There’s not much to say: we’re simply not fast, the gap is big, and all of the Ducati riders are really far from the front. Nicky is the fastest among us, and even while riding well, he’s a second and a half back. I didn’t manage to advance into Q2, and I’m sorry for the whole team. Then Barbera came into this already-difficult situation and hindered me during my fast lap, making everything even more complicated. I was pushing and had done a split that was a tenth better when he entered the track in front of me with a new tyre and started to push as well, causing me problems. I know I shouldn’t have gestured at him, but my conscience is clear because I think I’m one of the most respectful riders in the championship. We’re starting from very far back, and it will definitely be a really long and difficult race, but we’ll try our hardest, as always.”

More, from another press release issued by Pramac Racing:

The qualifying sessions for this seventh round of the MotoGP world championship played out today at the Assen TT Circuit, where a nice crowd filled the grandstand.

It was another day marked by changing weather conditions, which inevitably influenced the work of the teams and riders and caused for a wide variation of times from one session to the next.

Thanks to some important set-up work and a good result obtained during FP1, in which he set 9th fastest time in 1'36.910, Michele and his Desmosedici GP13 'lab' bike entered directly into Q2, concluding the day with an 11th place on the grid for the Ignite Pramac Racing Team.

Michele Pirro - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“With the cold weather we should have obtained better results, but because of the lack of the grip today, probably due to more rubber on the track, it just didn’t happen. We recorded the same time as yesterday, but it took more effort, and we have to find out the reason why. Tomorrow we have to understand why our bike is not stable and I don’t think it makes much difference if it rains or not. Dovizioso and Nicky have more or less the same problems as we do, and our results have not changed much so far. We still have quite a lot of work to do. "

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Assen, 28 June: a frenetic qualifying session for the 65th Dutch GP concluded today with several riders grabbing provisional pole positions, including LCR racer Stefan Bradl who gained his first premier class front row ahead tomorrow’s 26-lap race. The German registered a best lap time of 1’34.878 on soft rubber at the floating 4.542km circuit, confirming his good shape after Mugello and Catalunya positive rounds and rewarding the LCR Team with this third place.

Stefan Bradl

“Well... it’s a special day for me and for the LCR Team. This is my first front row in the top category and I am happy to share this special moment with Lucio and his Team. Even today we have experienced tricky conditions and both free sessions were pretty tough for me because I had to put too much energy in riding the bike. So we have changed something before the qualifying and it was a very good improvement as I could use the soft tyre in the best way gaining the 3rd place on the grid.”

More, from a press release issued by FIM:

2013 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix

Iveco TT Assen - Decision of the Race Direction

In the MotoGP class QP1 qualifying session of the Iveco TT Assen, rider Hector Barbera (ESP) was judged to have impeded the progress of rider Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) during his first lap out of the pits with new tyres. Barbera rode on the racing line not allowing Dovizioso to pass through two turns. This was deemed to be riding in an irresponsible manner. This is an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the Grand Prix regulations. The Race Direction has imposed one penalty point on Hector Barbera.

Following the same incident, Andrea Dovizioso kicked at Hector Barbera. This was judged to be an action prejudicial to the interests of the sport, and according to Article of the Grand Prix regulations Race Direction has imposed one penalty point on Andrea Dovizioso.

No appeal was lodged.

The decision of the Race Direction is final.

More, from a press release issued by Avintia Blusens MotoGP Team:

Barberá, third in CRT, will start from the fourteenth position, ahead of official prototypes, after a good qualifying session
Iván Silva, badly affected by the rain on his return to MotoGP, will do so from the twenty-fourth place of the starting grid

Assen, 28 June 2013. The state of the track complicated the course of the two days of practice sessions at The Netherlands GP and caused several crashes, although the Q1 and Q2 were carried out with a completely dry asphalt. Héctor Barberá progressed on the wet track and did a good qualifying session in which he managed to do a great last lap that allowed him to be the best CRT again, official Aprilia bikes aside, and be even ahead of the official Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso.
Silva, who was back in the World Championship after a year, needed to ride in dry conditions to get back the feeling on a MotoGP, but he only had the first practice session on Thursday to do so before the Q1 of this Friday, which was also carried out entirely in dry. That is why the qualifying session was difficult for the Avintia Blusens rider, who finally achieved the twenty-fourth position on the starting grid. On the contrary, Iván rode well with water on the track and if tomorrow the race is in wet conditions, he can be in the fight of the best CRT bikes.

8 Héctor Barberá (14º, 1.36.490): I am very happy because we have managed to be very close to Randy, only a few tenths slower than Hayden, ahead of Dovizioso... We are giving the maximum. Here the engine is less important than in Barcelona, we can defend ourselves better and be close to our direct rivals as we have shown. If it does not rain tomorrow and the temperature remains like this, I think we can do it very well. On the contrary, if it rains, we will also try it because we have made a good progression in wet but, honestly, I prefer a dry race.

22 Iván Silva (24º 1.39.077): I have not managed to do the lap time I did here last year, but it is a year since I rode these bikes for the last time, it is hard to adapt and, in addition, most of the practice sessions have been in wet. The CRT is very different to the bikes I ride in the CEV, especially because of the electronics and the tyres, but it is a luxury to be able to race in the World Championship again. The bike and the team have improved a lot from last season and it is a pleasure to work with them. I am grateful for being able to ride for the Avintia Blusens team again and I hope to do a good job for them.

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow will start from his first ever GP pole position for Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider will share the front row with Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo missed qualifying after his crash on Thursday, however following an overnight operation has returned to Assen to undergo a fitness test tomorrow morning before Warm Up for a possible return.

A truly dramatic qualifying session for the 65th World Championship Dutch TT concluded with several riders grabbing provisional pole position, only to be demoted by their rivals just moments later. Rain had fallen earlier in the day but would not disrupt the grid-deciding period.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, Bradl and Marquez all provisionally held the top spot before Crutchlow delivered the pole time of 1’34.398 to become the first British MotoGP™ pole-sitter since Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2002. Behind him, Marquez qualified in the top three for the first time since Le Mans and 2011 Moto2™ title winner Bradl sealed his first front row start in the premier class. Honda’s Dani Pedrosa had looked likely to collect his third consecutive pole, but crashed at De Bult with six and a half minutes remaining and would tumble to fifth.

Rossi qualified fourth, his best qualifying this year, whereas Tech 3’s Bradley Smith will line up behind Pedrosa in sixth – also his best grid position to date. The third row will be headed up by Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who further raised the bar as the best ever CRT qualifier. It was also a positive day for teammate Randy de Puniet, who was quickest in Q1 and will start ninth.

Q1 was also full of surprises. Andrea Iannone crashed his Energy T.I. Pramac Racing machine when challenging for a place in the shootout, which leaves him 13th on the grid. Two places further back, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso could manage no more than 15th, which is his worst grid position since joining the top class in 2008. The field is completed by Ivan Silva, back on the grid with Avintia Blusens as substitute to Hiroshi Aoyama, who picked up hand injuries at the last round in Barcelona.

During Q1 there was also an incident during which Avintia’s Hector Barbera was deemed to have impeded Dovizioso on the racing line, after which the Italian kicked out at the CRT rider in displeasure. Both riders were given one penalty point by Race Direction for their actions.


Pol Espargaro has claimed pole position for Saturday’s Moto2™ Iveco TT Assen. The Tuenti HP 40 rider will start alongside Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco and Marc VDS Racing Team’s championship leader Scott Redding.

The historic Assen TT Circuit has already been subject to much rain this weekend, not least this morning when the final Moto2 practice session was red flagged for half an hour due to a crash for QMMF Racing’s Rafid Topan Sucipto; the Indonesian rider would go on to qualify at the back of the grid despite an injured left foot.

Espargaro sits second in the riders’ standings to Redding, 35 points in arrears. His second pole in a row and third of the 2013 season came in the form of 1’38.734, edging out Zarco by just over a tenth of a second. Behind Redding, Row 2 is headed up by Espargaro’s teammate Esteve Rabat who suffered a crash during the session.

Xavier Simeon and Anthony West complete the second row for Desguaces La Torre Maptaq and QMMF Racing, respectively, while Row 3 will be occupied by NGM Mobile Racing’s Mattia Pasini, Marc VDS’ Mika Kallio and JiR Moto2’s Mike di Meglio. Independent wildcard Gino Rea will line up 24th.


Miguel Oliveira has earned the first Moto3™ pole position for Mahindra Racing, having set an identical Assen lap time with Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez just before. Maverick Viñales will start on the front row for Team Calvo, whereas championship leader Luis Salom held pole until retiring from the session with four minutes to go.

A threat of rain saw the majority of riders streaming out of the pits in the opening moments with the sole aim of posting competitive dry weather lap times. No showers would come during the session, which resulted in a quiet patch before track activity increased for the final efforts in the closing 15 minutes of the session.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s championship leader Salom looked to have sealed the top spot, but ran off-track and was unable to restart his KTM. His rivals proceeded to push hard and just thousandths of a second separated those filling places two to five. Oliveira delivered 1’43.588 before Marquez matched it just seconds later; pole goes to the former - for posting the time first - and he becomes the first Portuguese rider in history to achieve pole position in any of the three classes of the World Championship.

Salom will start fourth and one position behind Viñales, who is his closest title rival, whereas Marquez’s teammate Alex Rins and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger complete Row 2; incidentally, the German saw one lap being removed for exceeding track limits. On the sidelines, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin.