Stoner takes Dutch pole in late attack
Casey Stoner put aside his massive practice crash to take pole position for the Dutch TT Assen, beating his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.
The Aussie suffered a heavy crash in the Friday morning practice when he was caught out in a rain shower.
Although unhurt the reigning World Champion was off the pace at the start of qualifying, lacking compared to Pedrosa and Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo.
However, after the second brief break for rain it was all Stoner as the Aussie crossed the line with a 1:33.713 to beat Pedrosa by a tenth. Lorenzo was 0.288s off the pace.
As the qualifying hour started the riders were quickly out on track, hoping to beat the expected showers with Lorenzo setting the early benchmark, a 1:34.851.
The Spaniard dropped to a 1:34.564, his best lap of the weekend to date as he pulled away from Nicky Hayden and Hector Barbera. However, not done, he went on to clock a 1:34.376.
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Despite Lorenzo's pace it wasn't long before he lost out to Dani Pedrosa as the Repsol Honda rider crossed the line a tenth up on the Spaniard. Moments later the flags indicating rain on the circuit were waved sending the riders scurrying back into the pits.
With only a few drops having fallen almost the entire field was back on track halfway through the session although it took a while before anyone upped their pace.
The first to do it was Cal Crutchlow, who climbed from eighth to third despite his broken ankle, before he was dropped by Thursday's pace-setter Ben Spies and Silverstone pole-sitter Alvaro Bautista.
Just over 20 minutes to go the rain started to get heavier on pit lane and the flags were out again to indicate spots of water on the track at the back part of the circuit. This again prompted the riders to head back into the pits and the those in the grandstands to put their brollies.
With the rain abating a bit in the final few minutes, the field including Stoner ventured out with the Aussie jumping from ninth to third with enough time for another flying lap. Stoner's next lap put the reigning World Champ into provisional pole with a 1:33.713.
Lorenzo attempted to attack the Aussie's time but stayed second, 0.445s down. Pedrosa was the next to try and he took second, 0.115s off the pace. Lorenzo, though, still had another lap but that wasn't good enough to topple the Hondas. Stefan Bradl claimed fourth in a late lap ahead of Crutchlow and Spies. Bautista's session ended in a crash.
The top CRT rider was Power Electronics Aspar's Randy de Puniet who edged his teammate Aleix Espargaro by 0.177s.
01 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'33.713
02 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'33.828 0.115
03 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1'34.001 0.288
04 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1'34.035 0.322
05 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'34.486 0.773
06 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1'34.644 0.931
07 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'34.698 0.985
08 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 1'34.722 1.009
09 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 1'34.751 1.038
10 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1'35.057 1.344
11 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1'35.289 1.576
12 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 1'35.830 2.117
13 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 1'36.007 2.294
14 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 1'36.647 2.934
15 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 1'36.943 3.230
16 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 1'36.967 3.254
17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 1'37.110 3.397
18 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 1'37.191 3.478
19 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 1'37.281 3.568
20 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 1'37.554 3.841
21 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 1'38.305 4.592