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Assen MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro claims Dutch TT pole

Aleix Espargaro, Forward Yamaha, Assen MotoGP 2014

Aleix Espargaro claimed his and Forward Racing's maiden MotoGP pole position in a weather-affected qualifying session at Assen.

A rain shower at the start of the second segment of qualifying led to a flurry of activity as the dozen riders vying for pole took to the track in unison to get their laps in before conditions worsened.

While most of the frontrunners ran together in a pack, Espargaro opted to drop back and reaped the benefits of running in clear air by setting a blistering lap of 1m38.789s, beating second place man Marc Marquez by a staggering 1.405 seconds.

Dani Pedrosa joins his Honda team-mate on the front row, while Andrea Iannone claimed fourth and a resurgent Cal Crutchlow managed to take fifth.

The works Ducati rider was forced to participate in Q1 after struggling during practice, but alongside Alvaro Bautista was able to escape into Q2 and found sizeable gains to produce his best qualifying performance since joining the Italian outfit.

His former Tech 3 team-mate Bradley Smith took sixth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Stefan Bradl, while Jorge Lorenzo had difficulty in traffic and could only muster ninth.

Bautista took the final top 10 position. Pol Espargaro finished 4.296s behind his older brother in 11th and is joined on the fourth row of the grid by Valentino Rossi, who had a disastrous session.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap
 1.  Aleix Espargaro   Forward Yamaha        1m38.789s
 2.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 1m40.194s  +1.405s
 3.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 1m40.732s  +1.943s
 4.  Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati         1m40.786s  +1.997s
 5.  Cal Crutchlow     Ducati                1m40.796s  +2.007s
 6.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m40.818s  +2.029s
 7.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                1m41.140s  +2.351s
 8.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             1m41.982s  +3.193s
 9.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                1m42.259s  +3.470s
10.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         1m42.884s  +4.095s
11.  Pol Espargaro     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m43.085s  +4.296s
12.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                1m43.625s  +4.836s
13.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Honda         1m34.907s  Q1
14.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Aspar Honda           1m34.930s  Q1
15.  Yonny Hernandez   Pramac Ducati         1m35.056s  Q1
16.  Scott Redding     Gresini Honda         1m35.059s  Q1
17.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda Aprilia          1m35.346s  Q1
18.  Colin Edwards     Forward Yamaha        1m35.484s  Q1
19.  Broc Parkes       PBM Aprilia           1m35.513s  Q1
20.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m35.631s  Q1
21.  Michael Laverty   PBM Aprilia           1m35.731s  Q1
22.  Nicky Hayden      Aspar Honda           1m35.792s  Q1
23.  Mike di Meglio    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m35.980s  Q1
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