Assen MotoGP: Front row start for Bradley Smith

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Bradley Smith will start tomorrow’s Dutch 125GP clash at Assen from the front row of the grid after qualifying in second position.

The British rider, who only scored his first front row start of the season in his home race Silverstone last weekend, finished 0.584s behind in-form Spaniard Marc Marquez.

Smith was always in contention for a front row when he moved into the top four at the halfway point in the session.

And a brilliant lap of 1.42.775 on his 20th and final lap secured Smith his best grid position of the season.

The Oxfordshire rider was powerless though to prevent Marquez from continuing his outstanding form.

The Derbi rider has won the last two races in Mugello and Silverstone and his pole today was his third of the season.

The last time he started from first on the grid though he crashed out of his home race in Jerez back in May.

Marquez looked in imperious form throughout, with only Smith and his Aspar Aprilia team-mate Nicolas Terol able to lap inside of a second of Marquez.

Terol claimed his fifth front row in the opening six races with a best lap of 1.42.865 that left him just 0.090s behind 19-year-old Smith.

World championship leader Pol Espargaro had to settle for the final place on the front row after he struggled to a best time of 1.43.299. That left him a massive 1.108s behind Marquez.

Espargaro will start tomorrow’s 22-lap race with a slender one-point lead over Terol in the standings.

Kent rider Danny Webb came agonisingly close to claiming his fifth successive top ten qualifying result of the season.

The Aprilia rider’s best time of 1.44.225 was good enough to secure 11th, though he was only 0.001s behind Italian Simone Grotzkyj.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt