Motorsport

Espargaro on pole at Assen

2014-06-27 16:05
Aleix Espargaro (Gallo Images)

Assen - Spain's Aleix Espargaro took pole position for Saturday's Dutch MotoGP race, finishing ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez, who is aiming for an eighth consecutive season win.

It is the first-ever pole position for the Yamaha rider, who made his intentions clear on Thursday by setting the fastest lap ever recorded at the current Assen track.

Espargaro will be sure to try and deny the unstoppable Marquez a record eighth victory on Saturday and a chance to stretch his perfect 175-points ahead of second-placed Valentino Rossi.

Typically unpredictable Dutch weather hit as the second group of racers set out for qualifying, with a light shower sifting on the packed Assen track.

The changing conditions seemed to throw veteran racer Rossi, who is currently second in the standings, 58 points adrift of Marquez.

Rossi could only manage 12th place on the grid, meaning he'll start in the fourth row on Saturday and faced a mighty battle to manage a podium position.

Espargaro, who set a time of 1:38.789 on Friday outpaced Marquez by a comfortable 1.405 in the changing and difficult weather, with another Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa in third, 1.943 off the pace.

Italy's Andrea Iannone will lead the second row, finishing fourth fastest at 1.997 on a Ducati, with Britain's Cal Crutchlow on another Ducati alongside him at 2.007.

Grid for Saturday's Dutch motorcycling Grand Prix after qualifying on Friday at Assen:

1. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Yamaha) 1:38.789
2. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) at 1.405sec
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 1.943
4. Andrea Iannone (ITA/Ducati) 1.997
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Ducati) 2.007
6. Bradley Smith (GBR/Yamaha) 2.029
7. Andrea Doviziozo (ITA/Ducati) 2.351
8. Stefan Bradl (GER/Honda) 3.193
9. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA/Yamaha) 3.470
10. Alvaro Bautista (SPA/Honda) 4.095
11. Pol Espargaro (SPA/Yamaha) 4.296
12. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 4.836

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