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MotoGP Assen: Zarco grabs maiden pole position

Monster Yamaha’s Johann Zarco has grabbed his first-ever MotoGP pole position at a wet Assen this afternoon, beating reigning world champion Marc Marquez by less than a tenth of a second with Oct Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci completing the front row.

Zarco’s sensational rookie season continued at the Circuit Van Drenthe, putting in a 1’46.141 to bag top spot with his last lap and he is the first French rider to take pole since Oliver Jacques at the Sachsenring in 2002.

Marquez put in a 1’46.202 for second but it was more tears for Repsol Honda’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa who ended bottom of the session and more than three seconds off the pace as he again struggled for grip. However, Jorge Lorenzo had the biggest nightmare, finishing in 21st place for probably his worst-ever qualifying result.


Old stager Valentio Rossi will head the second row after setting a 1’46.705 with his last lap while Scott Redding suffered a crash at the Geert Timmer chicane with five minutes left, but was still fast enough to secure fifth place and his best grid slot of the season. He is joined by Jonas Folger on the second Tech3 bike.

Alvaro Bautista finished in seventh with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow in eighth. Andrea Dovizioso picked himself up from an early crash at Stekkenwall to end in ninth place.

Sam Lowes put in a stunning performance to get into Q2 for the first time but Aprilia reliability let him down once again. He was on a personal best lap when his RS-GP below an engine, bathed Rossi in smoke and the Derby rider ground to a halt. He will start from tenth, one place ahead of Maverick Vinales who ended some 2.1s slower than Yamaha stablemate Zarco.

Last year’s winner Jack Miller missed out on Q2 by 0.026s and will start in 13th place with Loris Baz, who had Q2 pace until a mistake in the last sector saw him drop out of contention. He will begin in 14th. Pol Espargaro crashed out and Bradley Smith finished just behind Lorenzo, with Tito Rabat last.

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