Rossi takes first MotoGP pole of 2015

Rossi takes first MotoGP pole of 2015

Valentino Rossi claimed his first MotoGP pole of 2015 ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Marc Marquez at Assen, while his Yamaha team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo was only eighth.

Saturday, June 27, 2015 (5:25 am)
Although Rossi topped two of the practice sessions in the build-up to qualifying, he has struggled for single-lap pace in recent years and had not started on the front row all season prior to the Dutch TT.

He languished towards the foot of the top 10 early in Q2, then produced a 1m32.627s lap to surge to the front.

Rossi’s Assen pole is only the third he has taken this decade, and his first since the 2014 season finale at Valencia.

Lorenzo, winner of the last four races, was on the provisional front row at first but did not improve as much as his rivals on his second Q2 run and fell to eighth, albeit only four tenths off Rossi’s pace.

Barcelona polesitter Espargaro had Suzuki on top again until Rossi’s late lap – despite having to come through from Q1 following a lacklustre run in practice.

Espargaro had deposed Marquez, whose spectacular and ragged first Q2 laps initially secured provisional pole.

Marquez’s second flying lap included a wild twitch under braking for the final chicane in which his Honda nearly ploughed into Espargaro’s Suzuki just ahead.

Dani Pedrosa’s Honda and Pol Esgargaro’s Tech 3 Yamaha completed the top five.

Ducati had a disappointing session, with Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso only sixth and 10th.

Cal Crutchlow held second for a spell before falling to seventh, while Maverick Vinales could only put the second Suzuki ninth on the grid, despite having outpaced team-mate Espargaro for much of the weekend.

Pramac Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci followed Espargaro through from Q1 and qualified 11th ahead of Bradley Smith.

Scott Redding’s disappointing weekend continued with 16th on the grid for the Marc VDS Honda.

The field is down to 24 bikes at Assen as Cardion Honda rider Karel Abraham is still recovering from injuries sustained at Barcelona.

Efforts to get Dutch World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark to make his MotoGP debut at home in Abraham’s place did not come to fruition.

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