MotoGP: Dovizioso delivers Ducati pole at Assen
Saturday, 25 June 2016– Andrea Dovizioso will start from pole position as his teammate, Andrea Iannone, is scheduled to start from last but the weather means anything could happen.
Both FP4 and Q1 had been littered with falls, riders approaching Q2 with a healthy amount of caution during their first laps. The rain had eased but the track was clearly still too wet for slick tyres, resulting in the first wet Qualifying session of the new Michelin era.
Crashes were almost immediate as Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) fell at Turn 5 on his out lap. His fall was quickly followed by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who came off at Turn 8, grabbing a spare scooter to get back to the pits as quick as possible.
For just the fourth time in his premier class career, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will line up in pole position. Conditions were incredibly tricky but ‘Desmo Dovi’ showed his skill and experience to set a 1’45.246 to take pole by over half a second. This is his third pole while riding with Ducati, his last coming in Qatar back in 2015. Andrea Dovizioso’s lone MotoGP™ win came at the British GP in 2009 in wet conditions, he could be on course for a second one if the rain remains.
Andrea Dovizioso –“I am very happy with the job we have done in these four sessions. This morning in the dry we were quickest, with a good pace, but this afternoon it wasn’t so much a question of pace in the wet, but more of being ready to analyze the situation, which was constantly changing. We had opted for a one-run strategy, because it didn’t look like the track was drying out, but after two laps I saw that a few dry lines were forming and, even though it was still raining a bit, I decided to stop to fit a new rear rain tyre, despite the fact that we hadn’t agreed on this with the team. On returning to the track I was also lucky to tuck in behind Rossi: I had already identified the corners where I could push like on the dry track, while in the others I just followed him. As always it’s going to be tough to fight with the leading group, but tomorrow we’ll give it a go”.
It proved to be a good day for Italy, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) taking second on the grid. Like Dovizioso, Rossi is known for his ability when the conditions are less than ideal. With both Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) having less than ideal sessions and starting down the order, Rossi has an excellent chance to close the 22-point gap in the championship. It’s still a three way title battle and momentum is on Rossi’s side heading into Sunday’s race.
Valentino Rossi – I stopped at the pit box four minutes before the end of the session, because my rear tyre was already getting too hot, because there were some places of the track that were starting to dry. For me it was too early to change to the intermediate tyre because three or four corners were still completely wet, so we put in another rain tyre and it was the right choice. It‘s a shame for me that I‘m not in pole position, but above all I‘m happy for the second place and starting from the first lane tomorrow.
Scott Redding – “I am very satisfied with this result. We had very bad luck so far in the season but we did well to never give up. The sensations were good even during the weekend in the dry. Today we did the maximum, thanks to my team’s strategy. Also I am very happy for this: the guys working for me every day and this is a small satisfaction that I am happy to have given him. I really hope to repeat tomorrow”.
Leading the Independent Team charge and rounding out the front row is Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich). The Brit will start from the front row for the first time in the premier class, his last front row coming at the British GP in 2013 when he was battling for the Moto2 World Championship. This comes as a welcome confidence boost for Redding who has been hit by a number of technical issues early in the season. Ducati riders have classically gone very well in the wet, his teammate scoring a podium a the British GP in 2015.
A relieved Marc Marquez will start the Motul TT Assen from fourth place, not quite able to re-create his magic wall-jumping pole from Austin. Given the circumstances it certainly could have been much worse. Just behind Marquez is fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) in sixth. The Brit is not overly confident for Sunday’s race, labeling it a lottery if it’s wet.
Completing the second row is Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Team MotoGP), the Colombian inside the top ten on the grid for the first time since Germany in 2015 when he was fifth.
Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten in the session.
Andrea Iannone was ninth but will start Sunday’s race from last due to his penalty from Catalunya, moving everyone else up a position. Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) will need any bit of help he can get after only managing 11th place in the session. There’s a lot of work to do for the factory Yamaha rider from tenth on the grid, his up and down love affair with Assen continuing.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Results
1 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI 1’45.246
2 – Valentino Rossi (ITA) YAMAHA + 0.715
1st Independent Team Rider
3 – Scott Redding (GBR) DUCATI + 1.066