2011 Assen MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result: Nine Thousandths Separate Pole From Second

Results and summary of the qualifying practice for the MotoGP class:

Marco Simoncelli has taken his second pole position of the season, scorching to the fastest time in qualifying for Saturday's Dutch TT MotoGP race. Simoncelli dominated for most of the session, with only Ben Spies capable of matching the San Carlo Gresini Honda man's pace. Simoncelli and Spies swapped provisional pole a number of times before Simoncelli finally came out on top, Spies falling just nine thousandths of a second short of the Italian's time. Casey Stoner qualified in 3rd, the Repsol Honda rider complaining of a lack of confidence after this morning's highside.

Jorge Lorenzo heads up the second row, the factory Yamaha rider qualifying off the front row for the 2nd time this season, and just a tenth faster than Repsol Honda man Andrea Dovizioso. Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow continues to impress, qualifying in 6th for the third time this year, despite having surgery to fix a shattered collarbone last week.

Fastest Ducati was once again the surprising Karel Abraham, the Cardion AB rider heading up the third row in 7th, with Colin Edwards on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha and Nicky Hayden on the first of the factory Marlboro Ducatis beside him. Randy de Puniet rounds out the top 10, finishing just ahead of Valentino Rossi on the brand new iteration of the factory Ducati, the GP11.1.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'34.718    
2 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'34.727 0.009 0.009
3 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'35.008 0.290 0.281
4 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'35.143 0.425 0.135
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'35.244 0.526 0.101
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'35.329 0.611 0.085
7 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'35.742 1.024 0.413
8 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'35.818 1.100 0.076
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'35.866 1.148 0.048
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'36.435 1.717 0.569
11 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'36.564 1.846 0.129
12 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'36.580 1.862 0.016
13 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'36.590 1.872 0.010
14 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'36.820 2.102 0.230
15 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'37.130 2.412 0.310
16 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'37.651 2.933 0.521
17 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI HONDA 1'39.006 4.288 1.355


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Finally it looks like the field is turning out to be the competition we had hoped for prior to the start of the year - except for Rossi and Pedrosa of course.

Go Spies!

Without a dry session yesterday, and no previous track time at Assen, Rossi's crew would have been guessing base settings on the hoof. From the feedback the Rossi, Hayden and the test riders have given, it is undoubtedly a better package, but expecting it to qualify at the pointy end after just 90 mins of practice to find a fast setting is wishful thinking (although we'd all like to see Rossi back in the mix).

I would expect further improvements in the warm-up tomorrow (if the weather allows), and possibly even a different set-up again for the race. It isn't over yet.

They've been testing it for months. Surely they have some clue by now how to make it work? If not they shouldn't have changed to the new bike.

A test rider's setting are not going to be the same as a MotoGp rider's settings, or any other test rider's for that matter. JB & co have got to set the bike up for VR at Assen in the conditions this weekend.

And as for "...they shouldn't have changed to the new bike," why not?

The team probably feels they have had nothing to lose (and everything to gain) by taking this gamble, and I very much doubt 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th are much different in Vale's head.

Clearly it should have blitzed the field by at least ten seconds - after all Rossi hadn't ridden the combination of the GP12 chassis with an 800cc engine before and 90 minutes of dry track time is more than enough to get a feel and set up a practically brand new bike that he's never ridden before to be faster than every other prototype and rider combination in the current championship.

He must have been a bit tired or maybe he is saving the drama for race day.

As Julian Ryder said on Eurosport - Assen is Mugello FP0

Incremental steps by Karel on the GP10 with winglets. I loved it. I really hope he has a stunning result tomorrow. I have a certain affection for the game underdog who 'should' not be there in the first place.
As for the qualifying session it was highly entertaining. Rossi expectations raped in the dry.
Simmo has his best opportunity ever to win in the Premier class. He looked great all week. Ben was back to his best and it is simply great to see he and Simmo revisiting 2010 as rookies.
I have to feel for Preziosi. Had Stoner been given Rossi's budget at Ducati, no doubt Stoner would have them fighting for the title 6 races in.
I wil stick my neck out and declare...Ducati don't have the riders to propell results. Propell development in their own right...arguably.
Their factory riders are just too damn slow.
Afterthought. I saw Simmo back off big time when he arrived behind Vale on another quick lap.
Hey Marco, your ex team mate...another Marco found out that Valentino loves Valentino and not much else. Get on with your career.

Great run for Spies, about time I'd say. I hope Simo can stay on.

Go Marco!

Must admit i did not think Cal Crutchlow had what it takes when he joined the Motogp circus this year. Think he is on a really good bike, but the bloke is doing
a brilliant job, and well done to him. Same for Abraham, although on a bike with
obvious problems, he is most impressive.

-the competition I wanted to see for the entire year by now. Hopefully it will be a dry race because I echo the feelings that I'm tired of wet races.

Anyhow, does anyone know how Loris is doing, is he okay?

Great to see him up there. It looked like Super Sic had more consistantly fast laps though, so hopefully Spies can stick with him race distance. Also watching the QP Lorenzo was really upset with someone when he pulled into the pit (another rider or someone in his crew), Any insight on that David?
Also Hopper was at the QP. I been re-watching the entire 2007 season and so far I just keep asking myself, why isn't John Hopkins in the GP?! haha
Here's to hoping he gets a ride next year. Supposedly they're working on getting him a wild card ride for Brno.

The first thing you want to do as a racer is beat your team mate. The last thing you want is to be beaten by a guy that is running the same brand of bike 2 generations old with zero factory support.

Thinking algebraically here, maybe it is the rider. The spectacle is ludicrous really regardless. Now, I'm just wishing so much for the CRT takeover to happen.