Johann Zarco stuns Assen for first MotoGP pole position
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took his first ever premier class pole position at the Dutch GP, dueling it out with reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the final few seconds ticked down. Marquez crossed the line first and first – but the Frenchman almost immediately hit back to take his first MotoGP™ pole on his final lap. Zarco’s Assen heroics also make it the first French pole since Olivier Jacque in 2002. Another superstar in the battle was Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), who followed up his first ever front row in the Catalan GP by repeating the feat in the Netherlands in very different conditions.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) looked a contender for the top spot until his final sector, and although missing out the ‘Doctor’ will head the second row and has good scope to attack. Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) starts a season-best fifth after graduating from Q1 and topping FP3, and Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completes Row 2 in another impressive session from another rider with a reputation for excellence in the rain.
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) crossed the line in P7 for his best QP of the season ahead of LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completing the third row after suffering a crash in QP.
Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) made the most of his first ever Q2 appearance, taking a top ten start to head up Row 4 – and ahead of Championship leader Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) starts from P12 after a more difficult day in the rain.
Those not making it through now decide the rest of the grid, with 2016 Assen winner Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) locking out the fastest fifteen.
The MotoGP™ race gets underway on Sunday at the slightly earlier hour of 13:00 (GMT +2) – with Zarco primed for a podium charge from pole.
MotoGP Qualifying Results
1st Independent Team Rider:
1 – Johann Zarco (FRA – Yamaha) +1’46.141
2- Marc Márquez (SPA – Honda) +0.065
3 – Danilo Petrucci (ITA – Ducati ) +0.385