Assen MotoGP: Valentino Rossi storms to pole position

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Valentino Rossi’s bid for a 100th Grand Prix victory in Assen tomorrow got a massive boost this afternoon when he claimed pole position for the Dutch GP, In much cloudier and cooler conditions than yesterday, the Italian seized pole position in the final two minutes with a best lap of 1.36.025.

It was only the Fiat Yamaha rider’s second pole position of 2009 and his first since the second round in Japan as Rossi ended three consecutive races without even being on the front row.

His best lap beat Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa by just 0.085s as he put in his best lap of 1.36.110 while in hot pursuit of Rossi on the eight-times world champion’s best lap.

Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo will complete the front row as he missed out on a third successive pole position by 0.368s, the Fiat Yamaha struggling for pace in the final sector of the legendary Assen circuit.

Aussie Casey Stoner had to settle for fourth place with a best lap of 1.36.633, though the 23-year-old was fuming at the end of the session after several riders tried to chase him during the 60-minute session.

American Colin Edwards claimed his best qualifying position since the Japanese GP at the Twin Ring Motegi with a brilliant fifth on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1.

The 35-year-old led for long periods in the session but had to settle for fifth, his best lap of 1.36.760 just 0.735s off pole. Factory Suzuki duo Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen were sixth and seventh while British rider James Toseland equalled his best qualifying result in ninth.

The 28-year-old ended with a best time of 1.37.323 to finish just 1.298s off pole position and just over 0.5s away from fourth spot.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt