MotoGP: Record-breaking Rossi claims sensational pole position in Assen
Assen, Fri 26th Jun 2015 – Valentino Rossi sets the fastest ever MotoGP lap around the world famous TT Circuit Assen to claim his first pole position since Valencia in 2014.
Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi dramatically transformed his qualifying fortunes in Assen today by demolishing Casey Stoner’s 2012 pole record by over a second to claim his 61st career pole position. The nine-times World Champion set a 1’32.627 to become the fastest ever rider around the legendary 4.5km track.
With the sun breaking through the clouds and track temperatures reaching 38°C, the scene was set for an epic Q2 at the historic TT Circuit Assen, and the fans in the packed grandstands were not left disappointed. Rossi, who admitted in the build-up to this weekend’s action that his qualifying performances have been his weakest link so far in 2015, responded in magnificent fashion to take his 51st premier-class pole position for the Motul TT Assen. The Italian had earlier finished on top of the combined timesheets after FP3 for the first time since the new two-tiered qualifying system came into place in 2013.
Valentino Rossi – 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. 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.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro (+0.231s), who had been forced to battle it out in Q1, just missed out on his second successive pole position and will start from second on the grid.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez (+0.259s), who had earlier topped FP4, led the session after the first time attack on soft tyres. But he eventually had to settle for third to complete the front row. His teammate Dani Pedrosa (+0.360s) will start from the front of the second row, with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro (+0.386s) the leading Satellite rider in an impressive fifth.
Aleix Espargaro 2nd: “I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made. We have improved my GSX-RR a lot since Friday. We had a bad start and had to completely change the bike; I had a lot of chattering and with Tom we decided to change a lot on the front. This is not an easy thing to do but we knew we could do much better. We have also tried some of the set-ups that we tried in Aragon but they weren’t effective here, so we looked for new solutions. In Barcelona, everything was easier while here we struggled more, but at the end I feel I have a good pace and also the fastest-lap is very quick. Here at Assen, the first corner is closer to the start than in Barcelona; therefore I hope I will be able not suffer too many overtakes. It’s important to start from the first-row but we must be aware that qualifying is only one lap and race is longer, but the pace I have makes me confident I can aim for the top-six.”
Marc Marquez – 3rd “Every rider was on the limit in qualifying. I’m happy, because we knew this circuit was going to be tough for us, but still we are close to Valentino and Jorge, who are very fast and smooth here. We are finding things a little tougher as we are still missing a tenth or half a tenth, but we will try to be as close as possible to themtomorrow and see what happens. I think it will be difficult, especially against Valentino.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (0.389s) qualified in sixth with Cal Crutchlow (CWM LCR Honda) just 0.012s further back in seventh. Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo, the man who trails the Italian by just one point in the Championship standings, will have to start his quest for a fifth straight win from eighth.
Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completed the top ten.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), who made it through from Q1 behind Aleix Espargaro, will start form eleventh, with Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) ending Q2 down in 12th.
Stefan Bradl (Athina Forward Racing) is the leading Open class rider and will start from the front of the fourth row in 13th, while Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Eugene Laverty are 16th and 19th on the grid respectively. Australian Jack Miller will start from 20th, with Laverty’s teammate Nicky Hayden and 2006 race winner down in 22nd on the grid.
Just 0.609s separated the top 12 riders in Q2, with less than three-tenths between second placed Espargaro and Petrucci in 11th on a day in which none of the 24-strong field crashed.