NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro earned his first-ever MotoGP pole position during qualifying for the 2014 Assen TT. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez starts from second on the grid followed by his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, in third.
Following a day of picture-perfect conditions, competitors were faced with fluctuating weather on Friday, some opting to remain in the garage during FP3 in the morning due to rain. The track dried out for FP4 and Marquez utilized the time to set a new fastest lap at the circuit, besting Espargaro’s record set the previous day. The dry held out for the first qualifying session as well, and it was Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow that would earn passage on to Q2.
The skies began to darken once again for the second qualifying session and competitors knew there would be limited time to get a flying lap in before the rain started to fall. All 12 riders bunched together as Q2 got underway, running the out lap as if it were the first rotation of the race. Some, like Espargaro, chose to hang back slightly and it proved to make all the difference.
“I’m really happy,” said Espargaro. “It’s so far a perfect weekend: yesterday we set the record of the track, today the pole position and tomorrow it will be a special feeling to take the start of my 150th GP from the first spot of the grid in front of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. We have been fast in all the sessions and when it started to rain at the beginning of the Q2, I decided to wait just 30 seconds to avoid to be packed in the group. It was a risk but it paid and it was the right decision.”
Up front riders were pushing and fighting to get a clear look at the track ahead, exemplified by Marquez’s move past four riders in one corner early on. Rain started to fall on portions of the track after the first fast lap was completed, making it nearly impossible for riders to push to the limit a second time.
“It was a pity because I think with dry conditions we could stay in first row, but it was dry but spitting in some places like normal Assen circumstances,” said Lorenzo, who qualified ninth. “Like this it’s very difficult to go with slicks and understand the limit of the track. You can feel good in two or three corners and suddenly arrive on one corner and it’s wet and you crash.”
Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone heads the second row followed by Crutchlow and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith. Crutchlow’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, qualified in seventh followed by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl in eighth. Row 4 is occupied by Bautista in 10th, Smith’s teammate, Pol Espargaro, in 11th and Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, in 12th.
MotoGP Assen TT Qualifying Results 2014
1. Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) 1’38.789
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’40.194
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’40.732
4. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’40.786
5. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 1’40.796
6. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’40.818
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’41.140
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’41.982
9. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’42.259
10. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’42.884
11. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 1’43.085
12. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’43.625
13. Karel Abraham (Honda) 1’34.907
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’34.930
15. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 1’35.056
16. Scott Redding (Honda) 1’35.059
17. Danilo Petrucci (ART) 1’35.346
18. Colin Edwards (Forward Yamaha) 1’35.484
19. Broc Parkes (PBM) 1’35.513
20. Hector Barbera (Avintia) 1’35.631
21. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1’35.731
22. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1’35.792
23. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia) 1’35.980