2014 Assen MotoGP QP: Conditions Wreak Havoc

Full Recap and Results Below:

Light rain fell at the beginning of MotoGP Q2 for the Dutch TT at Assen which saw the entire field exit the pit lane at the same time and partake in a chaotic five minute scramble for pole position. The early minutes resembled the first lap of a race rather than a qualifying session as Forward Racing's Aleix Espargaro rode with an extremely canny strategy to hang back from he squabbling pack. He went on to take his first pole by over a second with a time of 1:38.789 as Marc Marquez had to be content with second place, finishing ahead of his team mate Dani Pedrosa who rounds out the front row. The rain became too heavy for slicks after the opening five minutes and the riders had no choice but to retreat to their respective pit garages. 

The Ducati's of Andrea Iannone and Cal Crutchlow were the big winners in the session and took fourth and fifth places, Crutchlow in particular would be delighted after just scraping through the Q1 session beforehand. Bradley Smith completes row two while Andrea Dovizioso will head up the third row and be joined by Stefan Bradl and a disappointed Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo's teammate Valentino Rossi capped off a horrible session for the factory Yamaha team and will start tomorrow's race in twelfth place at the rear of the row four.

Q2 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Prev
1 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 1'38.789    
2 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'40.194 1.405 1.405
3 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'40.732 1.943 0.538
4 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 1'40.786 1.997 0.054
5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 1'40.796 2.007 0.010
6 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 1'40.818 2.029 0.022
7 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'41.140 2.351 0.322
8 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 1'41.982 3.193 0.842
9 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 1'42.259 3.470 0.277
10 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 1'42.884 4.095 0.625
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 1'43.085 4.296 0.201
12 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'43.625 4.836 0.540

Q1 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Prev
Q2 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 1'34.274    
Q2 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 1'34.598 0.324 0.324
13 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 1'34.907 0.633 0.309
14 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 1'34.930 0.656 0.023
15 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 1'35.056 0.782 0.126
16 45 Scott REDDING Honda 1'35.059 0.785 0.003
17 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ART 1'35.346 1.072 0.287
18 5 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha 1'35.484 1.210 0.138
19 23 Broc PARKES PBM 1'35.513 1.239 0.029
20 8 Hector BARBERA Avintia 1'35.631 1.357 0.118
21 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM 1'35.731 1.457 0.100
22 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 1'35.792 1.518 0.061
23 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia 1'35.980 1.706 0.188


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Well that sucked. The 15 minute qualifying has been well received but this is clearly its weakness. I hope this has not robbed us of a good race.

should have been enough to show people what to expect from the race on a normal dry weekend, which is the aliens upfront dominating the proceedings. And it has been exciting enough with Marquez showing the many ways in which it is possible to win. But I don't get why people are reacting so negatively to a more mixed up grid and the prospect of a race in which some guys have to either fight to recover or fight to not fall back.

In the dry, you ride the limits of the bike. In the wet, you ride the limits of the track. As the recap points out, #41 stayed back a bit and worked his lines and limits. Pole position thinking.

Cal situation is seem more & more like nick hayden during his duc days..only depend rain to get better start position..Cal's potential diminish at 'career killer' team..hopefully we don't see him on CRT bike next year :(

I agree with you Firefly, give them a full our of qualifying and may the best man come on top of it.

I would like to see the qualifying process go a bit longer again. I personally enjoy watching the race craft that goes into chasing P1 as it's a completely different strategy. There's a lot of chess going on and it's great to see a rider concentrate all of his/her skill and energy into just one lap with very sticky tires.

Look, we're now guaranteed at least five laps of nail-biting racing ... Stop bitching, this is how things happen in mixed conditions, and in many ways it actually makes the sport far more exciting.

I, for one look forward to tomorrow.


And yet they end up looking so stupid! How can all 12 riders manage to be in one swarm getting in each other's way during the lap and a half when it was possible to get a half way decent lap time?

Kudos to A Espargaro for hanging back and giving himself some space. And for Marquez hanging back a little and then taking his brain out and just scything through the pack. And a big fat raspberry for Lorenzo and Rossi for getting it about as wrong as it's possible to get it.

And thank the stars nobody fell off and broke a collarbone.

It's easy to shout after the fact. When the session opened they all lined up because they knew the rain was coming. If someone had hung back and the rain would have started to fall only half a minute later they would have been caught out.

All things considered, this was a pure lottery. Some people got it right by luck, other people got it wrong.

Well that was interesting.

And have to agree with Jim, the first 5 laps will be interesting, at which point Cal will have went backwards (read further back after a terrible start) and Aleix's tyre will have seen its best and he'll start to fade.

3 or 4 of the main protagonists will emerge at the front....depends how Vale copes with a tragic qualifying position.....then MM clearing off for another victory.

It's the future.

He seems to think he'll get 15 laps out of the tire before it gets interesting. And he was surprised how good the bike was in the wet.

I'm hoping he'll hang on at least to challenge for a podium.. who knows, a win isn't impossible

The 15-minute format is stupid on its face, given what qualifying is supposed to embody (a one-lap effort for maximum pace, with an expectation of a reasonably clear track, to sort the riders by pace). A 15-minute qualifying with 10 minutes of rain is a lottery that does literally nothing to achieve any of the objectives of qualifying.

If the organizers are happy with this, implying that they prefer a randomly sorted group of riders, then why not have a safety car circulate at varying speeds, maybe leaking some coolant, and alternatively hose down different parts of the track - or just be honest and draw numbers drawn on paper out of someone's helmet. Drawing them by hand makes it "better", because then there is the possibility that the numerals will be illegible and thus subject to interpretation.

A poorly-conceived effort to improve the "show", marginal in good weather and obviously disastrous in weather like this, has likely ruined what has been a succession of very, very good racing. The prospect of Jorge, Rossi and Marc contesting for victory WAS quite real.

But in this format the track isn't full of riders only the top 12. Also I hope you're not implying that somehow it should be delayed until conditions are just dandy. It'd racing. When its time they race or qualify regardless of weather and other nonsense. That makes it a bit of a lottery in itself. I mean if it rains the whole time would you want to watch them sit there in their pit another 45 minutes? No. Your thinking is very flawed.

I agree that lottery is an apropos term. However to a certain extent this was the purpose of the format, to put some of the open classers into the mix at least early, and break up the processional racing that had evolved.
As much as I think Lorenzo and Rossi got a bad roll, they had the same dice as everyone else, and elected to hold back for more open track. Obviously, they held back one lap too many!

Its cruel, but its fair.

Marquez came very close to sending a lot of machinery into the scenery but once again emerged holding the clean end of a turd. Rossi in particular really needs to rethink his Q strategy - it serially robs him of better finishes.

Agreed, Marquez pulled past 4 bikes on one bend, how does he do it!?

Still, should be interesting to watch Lorenzo and Rossi picking their way through the pack tomorrow, especially Rossi being on back of row 4. If he manages to get a podium after all that, I'd be amazed.

However could be a wet race, all bets are then off.

... and so disappointing for the race, all thanks to a tiny qualifying duration that seems (at times) designed to undermine the actual race, you know the part of the weekend we all pay to watch.

Was it Mugello where Marquez had a moment on L1 and fell to 10th? Remember what a great race that turned into? A least we had the thrill of watching him slice through the pack.

If we want to get good racing, why not handicap the riders instead of rank them for grid position?

Let's be honest, nobody really wants to see Marquez on pole, we want to see him come from the back to win.

...just sayin'.

The rain, such as it was, actually stopped a few minutes before the end of qualifying.

I wouldn't really call what fell during QP2 rain but then I'm Scottish. The rain during the rookies race was properly pouring down.

I don't see why people need to get so uptight... the conditions were the same for all, just as they'd have been with the old style QP. The rider who made the most of the conditions got pole - again, just as would have happened with the old style QP.

Adapt or perish. Not a difficult concept.

Congratulations AE for a terrific weekend's work so far, hope he goes well in the race!

Rossi will be interesting to watch off P12.