MotoGP Assen Quali: Lorenzo on Pole as de Puniet and Spies Keep Silverstone Momentum


What Happens When It Might Not Have Been a Track Day

9:02am EST — Jorge Lorenzo won another pole at the Assen TT.  Surprisingly quick again was Rady de Puniet, who showed speed that was attributed to a track day at Silverstone a couple of weeks before the race, but might be explained by improvement on the bike was well, as he will start second on Saturday in Assen.  Casey Stoner made a late fast lap to start third, as Ben Spies yet again dropped Nicky Hayden down a spot at the end.  The Americans will start fourth and fifth, respectively with Andrea Dovizioso in seventh.  Dani Pedrosa had a strangely poor qualifying.  He will start eight, with Marco Simoncelli, COlin Edwards, and Aleix Espargaro rounding out the top ten.

Randy de Puniet was fastest very early in the session, as he had done in practice Thursday as well.  Due to a dislocated left shoulder caused by a highside at the circuit’s new Ruskenhoek section, Marco Melandri will not be competing in qualifiying nor the race on Saturday.  He is added to countryman Valentino Rossi as those not racing this weekend.  He would likely be back for Barcelona; Rossi’s replacement will start there as well.  Soon enough, though, it was Stoner leading Lorenzo, with those two the fastest men, respectively, in Thursday and Friday’s practices. Twenty minutes into the qualifying session, Lorenzo led Dovizioso, Stoner, Edwards, and de Puniet as the top five. 

At the halfway point, Lorenzo still led Dovi, Stoner, and Edwards, but Spies had displaced de Puniet in fifth, with de Puniet dropping to sixth.  Simoncelli, Pedrosa, Esparagro, and Capirossi rounded out the top ten.  With only twenty minutes and the real meat of the session left, the only change was Espargaro’s lap time move ahead of Pedrosa.  de Puniet picked himself right back up the timesheets, posting the fastest time to that point of the session.  The standings remained the same for some minutes, until Spies moved up to fourth with twelve minutes left.  Lorenzo pipped de Puniet just after for the top position.  With ten minutes left Lorenzo led de Puniet, Dovi, Spies, Pedrosa, Stoner, Edwards, Espargaro, Simoncelli, and Hayden as the top ten.

Nothing seemed to be in the cards for changes as the five minute mark approached, but the Ducatis had yet to leave their mark on the session.  Stoner and Hayden moved up to third and fourth, displacing Dovizioso and Spies to fifth and sixth.  Pedrosa moved up to seventh, but was still being out-qualified by teammate Dovizioso.  At the end, the top three remained unchanged, but it was a repeat of the final lap of Silverstone last weekend, as Spies just pipped Hayden for fourth place starting position.

Provisional Starting Grid for the Assen TT:
1. Lorenzo 1:34.515
2. de Puniet 1:34.797
3. Stoner 1:34.803
4. Spies 1:34.926
5. Hayden 1:34.999
6. Dovizioso 1:35.015
7. Pedrosa 1:35.162
8. Simoncelli 1:35.283
9. Edwards 1:35.393
10. Espargaro 1:35.593
11. Capirossi 1:35.664
12. Bautista 1:36.344
13. Kallio 1:36.502
14. Barbera1:39.569
15. Akiyoshi (in for injured Aoyama) 1:38.198

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