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Lorenzo on pole as de Puniet stars

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, Assen 2010Jorge Lorenzo may have emphasised his current advantage over the MotoGP field with his second straight pole position of 2010, but the star of qualifying for the Dutch TT at Assen was Randy de Puniet who once again took second position.

Lorenzo ensured pole with a 1m34.515s time on his 31st and final lap of qualifying, but just two tenths behind the world championship leader was the LCR Honda of the irrepressible Frenchman.

De Puniet even sat on provisional pole for a while until Lorenzo forsook his long hard-tyre run, switched to softs and begun banging in faster times.

Casey Stoner should have been in that scrap for pole as well, but instead he suffered a clutch problem and then a backfire. So he returned to the pits, helmet shaking, before the final dashes even began to hit the scoreboard.

The Australian nevertheless starts third ahead of the meteoric Ben Spies on the Tech 3 Yamaha. The Texan might even have gone quicker had he not come up behind Mika Kallio at an inopportune moment on a flyer.

Nicky Hayden was fifth fastest, nearly half a second off pole in the second Ducati, while Andrea Dovizioso was sixth - more than two tenths slower on the quickest of the factory Hondas than de Puniet's privateer RC212V.

Dani Pedrosa, on the sister HRC bike, continued his quiet weekend with the inside of the third row ahead of Marco Simoncelli, Colin Edwards and Aleix Espargaro who completed the top ten.

The Suzukis of Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista took 11th and 12th.

Marco Melandri didn't take part in the session, though watched it from the garage, following his shunt in the morning session.

Pos  Rider             Team               Time       Gap
 1.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha             1m34.515s
 2.  Randy de Puniet   LCR Honda          1m34.797s +  0.282s
 3.  Casey Stoner      Ducati             1m34.803s +  0.288s
 4.  Ben Spies         Tech 3 Yamaha      1m34.926s +  0.411s
 5.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati             1m34.999s +  0.484s
 6.  Andrea Dovizioso  Honda              1m35.015s +  0.500s
 7.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda              1m35.162s +  0.647s
 8.  Marco Simoncelli  Gresini Honda      1m35.283s +  0.768s
 9.  Colin Edwards     Tech 3 Yamaha      1m35.393s +  0.878s
10.  Aleix Espargaro   Pramac Ducati      1m35.593s +  1.078s
11.  Loris Capirossi   Suzuki             1m35.664s +  1.149s
12.  Alvaro Bautista   Suzuki             1m36.344s +  1.829s
13.  Mika Kallio       Pramac Ducati      1m36.502s +  1.987s
14.  Hector Barbera    Aspar Ducati       1m36.569s +  2.054s
15.  Kousuke Akiyoshi  Interwetten Honda  1m38.198s +  3.683s
16.  Marco Melandri    Gresini Honda      no time
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