Reigning MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner bounced back from what he described as one of the biggest crashes of his career to snatch a dramatic pole position at Assen today.
The Australian was fortunate to emerge relatively unscathed from a heavy fall at Turn 9 in this morning’s final practice session.
Rain had just started to fall at the De Bult corner when Stoner was violently thrown off his Repsol Honda RC213V in the left-hander on slick tyres.
The 26-year-old gingerly got to his feet but bounced back in brilliant fashion this afternoon to seize his third pole position of 2012 in a rain disrupted qualifying session.
Two cloudbursts had cost Stoner and his rivals over 25 minutes of track time this afternoon and only six minutes were left on the clock when the surface had dried sufficiently for track action to resume.
Battered and bruised Stoner then produced a brilliant lap of 1.33.713 to claim pole from factory Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa by just 0.115s.
Stoner said: "It was probably one of the biggest crashes in my career to be honest. I came down on my head, shoulder and wrist and somehow I have done something to the top of my knee, which is causing the most problems at the moment.
"It was a big one and it hurt but I am able to walk and I can get on the bike and ride. It is not the end of the world and we will see how I wake up in the morning because normally after a bit of time for it to cool down we will know what it is like.”
Explaining what had happened in the accident, Stoner added: “As I was coming to the braking point for that corner I saw it was starting to spit a little bit but nothing to make it too much worse.
"I backed off going into the turn and as I was going through I noticed there was slowly more and more rain. And as I came round the corner I was immediately gone.
"I had no chance to stop it but I was slowing down because there was a little bit of rain and we know what this track can be like. But it caught me out again.”
Aside from the physical pain he is sure to experience tomorrow, Stoner is also unsure about his Bridgestone tyre choice for the 26-lap race.
He said: “Yesterday afternoon I was trying to make the hard rear tyre work and haven’t been able to get it working. We struggled a little bit and we had that huge off this morning that has left us a little bit sore and bruised but we are still able to ride.
"Unfortunately it just keeps raining and stopping and causing a lot of problems for us. It is slowing our progress a little bit. We’d like to improve before the race and we can’t really say we are happy with both tyres but with the soft we are pretty happy.
"With the hard tyre we haven’t been able to get it working well enough so far this weekend. Most other riders have been pretty happy with it by the looks of things so we have been a bit disappointed with our work.
"When we put the soft tyre in again, it is only one step softer on the left side but everything seemed to work a lot better for us and the bike seemed to immediately take a huge step forward and we felt comfortable but with the hard tyre that we prefer to run in the race, we have still got some work to do.”