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.
unpredictable Dutch weather hit as the second group of racers set out
for qualifying, with a light shower sifting on the packed Assen track.
changing conditions seemed to throw veteran racer Rossi, who is
currently second in the standings, 58 points adrift of Marquez.
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
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
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