Bike News

28 June 2013

Crutchlow takes maiden pole at Assen

The Brit's determination finally pays off in the form of a career-first pole position at the Dutch circuit

Amaan Ahmed
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High-speed crashes, freakish injuries, blazing lap times and mind-numbing comebacks - it's all been happening at Assen this week. After Lorenzo hurt himself during Free Practice yesterday, today, it was Marc Marquez's turn. FP3 saw his RC213V lose grip, and he was sent flying off his bike into the gravel trap, tumbling like a ragdoll.

Surprisingly though, all he'd managed to do was break a finger and a toe. And with those injuries, he barged his way to the top during the qualifying session, and very nearly registered his second MotoGP pole. Before a Briton came by, and very sweetly snatched it from him. That, as you may have guessed, is the unrelenting force named Cal Crutchlow.

In what was a nail-biter of a qualifying session, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl all held provisional pole for sometime. Repsol Honda's No.1 put in the quickest lap, but with about five minutes to go, he managed to lose control of his Honda, and slid off the track. Pundits expected him to rush back to the pits, pick up the second bike and go out there and put his name on pole for good. Return to the pits he did, but instead of hopping onto the waiting Honda, he took off his helmet and decided to cross his fingers while the others chipped away at his time.

In the closing stages, Bradl managed to beat Pedrosa's time, and looked set for a maiden pole, but Rossi, Marquez and Crutchlow still had one lap to go. The Doctor clocked a quicker lap than the German to raise hopes of his first pole position for 2013, but then came along rookie Marquez, braving the cold, unforgiving track conditions to claim top spot. Crutchlow, however, was hot on his tail, and took pole position for the very first time in his MotoGP career with a scorching final lap, also becoming the first British rider after Jeremy McWilliams to start a MotoGP race from pole.

Elsewhere, Aleix Espargaro put in a spirited performance qualifying seventh to register the best-ever qualifying result for any Claiming Rules Team (CRT), followed by Alvaro Bautista, Randy DePuniet, Nicky Hayden and Michele Pirro. Which brings us back to the reigning world champion.

You see, Lorenzo was operated on this morning itself in Barcelona, a titanium plate and eight screws fastening his broken collarbone. And there have been murmurs about Bike No.99 starting from 12th position on Saturday, owing to Lorenzo's Thursday lap time. Will he make it? Or will Crutchlow finally be able to notch up his first MotoGP victory this season? It's shaping up quite nicely, this...

1. Cal Crutchlow
2. Marc Marquez
3. Stefan Bradl
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Dani Pedrosa
6. Bradley Smith
7. Aleix Espargaro
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Randy De Puniet
10. Nicky Hayden
11. Michele Pirro
12. Jorge Lorenzo
13. Andrea Iannone
14. Hector Barbera
15. Andrea Dovizioso
16. Danilo Petrucci
17. Karel Abraham
18. Colin Edwards
19. Bryan Staring
20. Claudio Corti
21. Yonny Hernandez
22. Michael Laverty
23. Lukas Pesek
24. Ivan Silva


Tags: moto gp, motogp, valentino rossi, assen



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