Cal Crutchlow Takes 1st Ever MotoGP Pole and 3rd Place Overall
MotoGP - Assen, Netherlands
A truly dramatic qualifying session for the 65th World Championship Dutch TT concluded with several riders grabbing provisional pole position, only to be demoted by their rivals just moments later. Rain had fallen earlier in the day but would not disrupt the grid-deciding period.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, Bradl and Marquez all provisionally held the top spot before Crutchlow delivered the pole time of 1’34.398 to become the first British MotoGP™ pole-sitter since Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2002. Behind him, Marquez qualifies in the top three for the first time since Le Mans and 2011 Moto2™ title winner Bradl seals his first front row start in the premier class. Honda’s Dani Pedrosa had looked likely to collect his third consecutive pole, but crashed at De Bult with six and a half minutes remaining and would tumble to fifth.
Rossi qualifies fourth which is his best of the year so far, whereas Tech 3’s Bradley Smith will line up behind Pedrosa in sixth - his best grid position to date. The third row will be headed up by Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro who has further raised the bar as the best ever CRT qualifier. It was also a positive day for teammate Randy de Puniet, who was quickest in Q1 and will start ninth.
Q1 was also full of surprises. Andrea Iannone crashed his Energy T.I. Pramac Racing machine when challenging for a place in the shootout, which leaves him 13th on the grid. Two places further back, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso could manage no more than 15th which is his worst grid position since joining the top class in 2008. The field is completed by Ivan Silva, back on the grid with Avintia Blusens as substitute to Hiroshi Aoyama who picked up hand injuries at the last round in Barcelona.
After the session, both Dovizioso and Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera were handed penalty points by Race Direction. The latter was adjudged to have deliberately blocked the former during Q1, but the Ducati rider was also handed a penalty point for kicking out at his rival - 'an action prejudicial to the interests of the sport’. Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen will start at 3pm local time (GMT +2).
Video: Crutchlow Steals Pole - Dutch GP Qualifying 2013
Saturday, June 29 - Race
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider lost ground in the opening stages of the race, but was still delighted to come back and overhaul Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa. He also caught Marc Marquez on the last lap but there was contact between the two bikes; Crutchlow recovered and would cross the finish line third.
“I think we touched, but I said to Marc that I wanted him to see after the race what Dani sees on TV,” Crutchlow joked after the race, referring to the late-race touch between the Honda teammate last time out in Barcelona.
“It was a difficult race again, but we are still in the same position: too little, too late. I felt we had the potential to challenge Valentino (Rossi, winner) at the front today but I started too slow again and the first five laps I was wide in all the corners, but I’m very happy. We’ve had three podiums this early on in the season, it’s good for the championship and we are making good steps this year.
“I’m pleased for the Monster Energy Tech 3 team; we have done a good job again and we are on the podium. I took my first pole position this weekend and a podium, so I’m happy enough with this Assen race.”
Heading to the next race in Germany, Crutchlow still sits fourth in the Riders’ Championship but now only two points ahead of Saturday winner Rossi.
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