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Rossi Claims Phenomenal Pole Position at the Cathedral

Yamaha Movistar 062615

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi gave a stunning performance today to claim a perfect pole position for tomorrow’s TT Assen, setting a new circuit best lap record. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a competitive pace but was pushed down the order in the final stages of the session and qualified on the third row.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi wasted no time today in the dry Q2 session to put in some incredible hot laps around the TT Circuit Assen, setting a new circuit best lap record of 1’32.627 and securing the 61st pole position of his career.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo was unable to ride the hot lap he had in mind and will start tomorrow’s race from eighth on the grid.

Topping the combined free practice times after FP4, Rossi was determined to drop a hot lap during the 15 minute long time attack. He was the first man to leave pit lane and momentarily took pole before dropping down the order to eighth place. His second attempt didn’t gain him any places, but his third hot lap moved him up to fifth.

He hastened back to his pit box for some fresh tyres with seven minutes left on the clock. After a minute he was ready to hit the track once more. The Italian was unable to improve on his next lap, dropping down to eighth in the ranking order, but this only seemed to motivate him even more. Completely focused on getting that all important front row start, he gave it his all on his final push and delivered a brilliant 1’32.627 lap to claim pole. Rossi’s stunning pole is 0.835s quicker than the previous circuit best lap record set by Marc Marquez last year.

Teammate Lorenzo also posted some very competitive times, but was unable to keep up his front row qualifying streak of four in a row. He started the Q2 session with an opposite approach to his usual strategy. This time he was the last rider out of the box, to be assured of some clear track space. He briefly took provisional pole with a strong first flying lap of 1’33.146, before being pushed back down to fourth place. On his next lap he improved his time by 0.029s, moving up to third, and quickly returned to the pits for a new set of rubber.

He rejoined the track with a little less than six minutes left on the clock. The Spaniard posted a second fastest time of 1’33.044 on his next hot lap, before being pushed back to fourth. He improved his time by two thousandths of a second on his next lap, leaving him 0.415s from the front, but it was not enough to keep him on the second row. He will start tomorrow’s race from eighth on the grid.

Valentino Rossi

1st / 1’32.627 / 9 laps

“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.”

Jorge Lorenzo

8th / 1’33.042 / 8 laps

“We improved the bike a lot and I’m very happy about this. In free practice four I was very competitive with a used tyre, but unfortunately I couldn’t make a very explosive lap during qualifying. I rode four laps that were very similar, but not one was fast enough to be in the first row, so we are going to start from the third row for the first time. We still need to improve in some parts, because we are very fast in T1 and T3, but we were missing something in T2 and T4, especially during qualifying, but our pace is quite good in every sector. The challenge for tomorrow is to make a good start. The race is very long so the most important thing is that there won’t be any rain and I think that with some patience we can little by little make our way to the top.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It was a superb pole position for Vale, something we don’t see very often! They have worked hard preparing for the race and have put in a lot of effort to do well in qualifying. Even if Valentino is satisfied about the bike’s set up, there are still some little things to improve for the warm up. Jorge improved the feeling with his bike and he has been fast and consistent in all the free practices. Unfortunately the qualifying didn’t go as we expected and he has to start from the third row, but I am confident that he will be back at the front for tomorrow. I expect it to be a tough race, but I am certain that we will be key protagonists.”

Espargaro speeds to fifth place in qualifying at the Motul TT Assen

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro will begin the 85th Dutch TT from the middle of the second row on the grid after pulling off an impressive qualifying performance aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard completed the opening session this morning with a best lap of 1’33.660 that left him in 9th, despite a small shower in the middle which cleared quickly. His time allowed him to progress straight through to QP2 and once the 15 minute contest started, the 24 year old pulled the pin instantly as he sought to clinch a top grid position for tomorrow’s 26 lap race. He went on to complete eight laps, with his top time being a 1’33.013 which was a mere blink of an eye from the front row by only 0.127. The confident charge by the 2013 Moto2 World Champion today sets him up for a strong display tomorrow where he intends to follow up his strong qualifying with a top 6 finish.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith will commence the 8th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from 12th on the grid at the legendary Assen circuit. Smith delivered a notable performance in FP3 to seize 5th position with a 1’33.387 lap that was just 0.220 from the leading time. He surged into action when qualifying 2 began and posted a best time of 1’33.236 which saw him at the rear of the fourth row. Nevertheless, his time was just over two tenths back from his teammate in what was a fiercely competitive qualifying shootout. The British star will now look to undertake a typical rocket start from the grid and then battle for the leading satellite honours in the Motul TT Assen in order to follow up his double top five finishes at the previous two rounds.

Pol Espargaro

5th / 1’33.013 / 8 laps

“I am happy to begin from fifth on the grid as it has been a few races since I’ve started from the second row. The qualifying was really tight and I’m pleased that we were able to put a fast lap together, which was our ambition after yesterday’s practice. As we achieved this, we now have a good position to start from in tomorrow’s race. Unfortunately, the changes that we tried in FP4 didn’t work as well as we hoped and I couldn’t ride the bike as aggressively as I wanted to with the low grip levels. So we changed back to the setting that we used before and with the new tyres, things seemed to be a lot better straight away. Now we have to continue to work tomorrow in the warm up in order to be all prepared for the race.”

Bradley Smith

12th / 1’33.236 / 8 laps

“I’m quite content with how the bike is feeling for the race tomorrow, so despite being a bit frustrated that I was only 0.2 from fifth, I am still optimistic. We tried a few different settings in FP4 which seem to be positive for the race and have definitely given us a good direction. Due to this, we were weighing up our options before QP2 and considered altering the settings for qualifying, but in the end we decided to remain with what we had. Perhaps we should have risked changing something, but then again, doing that is a gamble and it doesn’t guarantee anything. Nevertheless, I know that I left more than 0.2 on the track and our race pace is more competitive than our position is showing at the moment. I have made things a bit trickier for myself by starting from 12th, but with a strong start, we will be in the mix. Just by looking at the lap times today, we know the race will be very close, plus the track is narrow and so it will be a bit more difficult than usual to find somewhere to pass. Yet, the bike is good and I am looking forward to the 26 lap battle tomorrow.”

Bradl Open poleman in Assen

It was a very positive qualifying for the Athinà Forward Racing team at the historic Assen circuit, which will be hosting the Dutch Grand Prix tomorrow. As in practice yesterday, Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz were the fastest Open bikes again today and will start from the fifth row of the grid tomorrow to chase victory in the category.

Bradl, who was excluded from Q2 by just over two tenths of a second, sits on top of the Open standings with an excellent 1’33.789, which earned him the 13th place on the grid. For the German the goal is to repeat the exploit of Montmelò and decrease the gap that separates him from Barbera for the leadership of the class.

Loris Baz is trailing him by just under three tenths. With a time of 1’33.999 he will start in 15th position. The Frenchman, who is not the best shape due to an intestinal virus, is again targeting points.

Stefan Bradl

13th / 1’33.789 / 7 laps

“I’m really happy with this result today and in general we have made a big step forward after Mugello and Barcelona. We have proven to be consistent and fast and we can fight for victory of the Open class. Tomorrow will be a long and tough race where the tyres will begin to suffer after the first few laps: we have to be prepared.”

Loris Baz

15th / 1’33.999 / 7 laps

“It was not a bad qualifying considering that I’m not 100% fit because of an intestinal virus. In FP4 I was losing the rear a bit but I managed to find a good solution for qualifying. I am just over two tenths from Stefan, the fastest Open, I’m sure I can do a good race and get in the points-zone. Special thanks to the guys from Clinica Mobile, thanks to them I recovered fully and I was able to get on bike for today’s sessions.”

2015 MotoGP Netherlands

Assen 26/06/2015

1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’32.627
2 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 1’32.858
3 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’32.886
4 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’32.987
5 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’33.013
6 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’33.016
7 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 1’33.028
8 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’33.042
9 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 1’33.076
10 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’33.112
11 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 1’33.126
12 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’33.236
13 Stefan Bradl Yamaha DE 1’33.789
14 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’33.875
15 Loris Baz Yamaha FRA 1’33.999

Circuit Length:
4555

Lap Record:
1’34.525
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2010)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’32.627
(Valentino Rossi, 27-6-2015)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez