Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow has secured his first ever pole position in the MotoGP class at the Dutch circuit of Assen this afternoon, despite the absence of Jorge Lorenzo, who was fastest going into the
|Crutchlow pulled out an astounding lap to secure pole
Photo: Monster Yamaha Tech3
qualifying session but couldn’t compete due to a broken collarbone.
Setting fast times so far all weekend, the Brit went into Q2 feeling strong and confident he can set a fast time. Crutchlow started the session off well, soaring to the top of the timing sheets early on in the 15 minute session. Slipping down into fourth position, the 27 year old produced an astounding final lap as the flag went out, producing a time of 1.34.398 putting him 0.5s ahead of the rest of the field at historic Assen.
Crutchlow is the first British man to sit on MotoGP pole since Jeremy McWilliams in 2002, “It feels fantastic to have finally got my first pole position in MotoGP. It might have been a different story if Jorge (Lorenzo) wasn’t injured but you can only beat the guys on track and I did that today. It would have been good to have a dogfight for pole position with Jorge because it was obvious before his crash that he was going to be the man to beat. Hopefully at some stage this year I’ll be having a battle with him for the win. It is a great achievement for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because it is not often a non-factory rider gets a pole position in MotoGP. The competition is incredibly tough but today we showed again that we can compete with the very best. I’m particularly pleased to be on pole because I’ve been struggling a bit with the bike in the dry. I wasn’t happy in FP4 and if we can make the bike calmer there is no reason why I can’t go faster. I’m looking forward to the race now with a lot of confidence and we will see what happens but it could be a big battle hopefully for the fans to watch. Congratulations also to Bradley because he is not in the best physical condition and to be on the second row shows he is making big progress.”
British team-mate Bradley Smith also had a good day at the Dutch circuit, he also secured his career best qualifying position in sixth despite still struggling with his injuries sustained in Mugello four weeks ago.
Starting from the second row of the grid, Smith automatically made it into Q2 this afternoon, securing the 10th fastest time in combined free practice in mixed conditions. Knocking a second off his inital time, the 22 year old set a time of 1.35.454 on his final dash to the line which will put him alongside Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa on the grid.
Following a top six finish last time out in Catalunya Smith looks strong ahead of the race tomorrow and made the most of Ducati’s apparent lack of form“Sixth position is a fantastic achievement and I am really happy. With Ducati not performing well at this track I took advantage of that situation and to be only one second away from pole position is also great. Starting on the second row gives me a good chance to follow the factory guys and also Cal if I can. The biggest goal for the race will be to learn as much as I can from racing against the very best in the world. I am expecting a tough race though because Assen is a really physical track and for my wrist it will not be easy to do 26 laps. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile staff again because they have done an awesome job in helping me be as comfortable and pain free as possible. I am feeling more confident with the bike and we found a good base for this track. I’m really excited to see what I can do in the race and congratulations to Cal on his pole position. He’s been riding awesome all season and today we saw once again just how strong the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is.”