Last minute dash sees Stoner take pole at Assen
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner set a scorching lap time of 1:33.713 right at the end of a rain-interrupted qualifying session to claim pole position for tomorrow’s Dutch TT at Assen.
Intermittent showers caused delays throughout qualifying, but as the track dried out with five minutes remaining it was reigning champion Stoner who emerged fastest to finish 0.115 seconds ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa to secure a Repsol Honda 1-2 on the grid for tomorrow’s race. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo qualified third as he hunts for a fourth consecutive MotoGP victory, while top CRT qualifier was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet who will start on the fourth row in 12th position.
This morning’s FP3 session was also subject to spells of rainy weather, though there was still enough dry running today to allow teams to further refine their dry setup for tomorrow’s race. The high corner speeds at Assen mean almost every rider this weekend has preferred the greater stability of the harder front slick, though rear slick choice has been varied with some riders favouring the better edge grip of the softer rear option over the greater durability of the harder rear.
The riders will be back on track for morning warm up at 0940 local time tomorrow (GMT +2) with the lights going out for the race at 1400.
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“That was quite an exciting qualifying session and just like we saw yesterday the pace at the front of the field is very close so we may be in for a thrilling contest tomorrow. The rain did arrive today as expected, but thankfully the track dried quickly and the good warm-up performance of our 2012 specification slicks allowed riders to head out in the last five minutes of qualifying and set some stunning lap times.
“The combination of the softer rear with the harder front slick provided the best combination of rear grip and front stability to set quick lap times for qualifying, though for tomorrow’s race I expect the field to be split fairly evenly between the softer and harder rear slicks matched with the harder front.”