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First pole for Cal Crutchlow in hectic Assen qualifying

28 June 2013

British star Cal Crutchlow claimed his first ever MotoGP pole by 0.357s at the end of a hectic qualifying for the Dutch TT at Assen.

Seven of the eleven riders present held pole at least once during the 15-minute shootout.

The climax came when Crutchlow rocketed from fourth to first on his final lap, knocking Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez from the top.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Crutchlow had claimed nine previous front row starts since his MotoGP debut in 2011, but always been denied a pole position.

The last British rider to start on a MotoGP pole was Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2002.

"It's good. I'm pleased obviously, but for me it's not a true pole because Jorge [Lorenzo] wasn't here," said Crutchlow, who has taken two podiums so far this season to hold fourth in the championship standings.

"I would have liked to have a dogfight with him, hopefully we'll be able to do that when he returns and hopefully for a race win later in the season. But we did a good job. I wasn't happy in free practice four, so if we can make the bike calmer we can go faster again. I'm looking forward to the race. We'll see what we can do."

Speaking later in the day, Cruchlow revealed how finely he had timed his pole lap.

"I couldn't get heat into the tyres so had to do two warm up laps. I made it back to the line with three seconds on the clock, the man was there with the flag but not waving it, I wasn't too worried though because we have the split times on the dashboard for the sectors."

Asked if he can win the race, the former WSS champion replied:

"I'll definitely be trying! It could be a good opportunity for us to win a race. But as I said about pole, Jorge needs to be there for a true win in MotoGP. We'll do the best job we can and where we finish is where we finish. We're not doing too bad in the championship and we need to think about that, but I'll be going for the win for sure.

"I've started from pole in other championships. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I don't think there is any extra pressure. Maybe some more motivation because it's nice to be on pole finally after three years of trying. Hopefully it makes us have a better race."

LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl - on pole when the chequered flag was first waved - will complete Sunday's front row, his first as a MotoGP rider, with Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) forming row two.

Wold championship leader Pedrosa missed the second half of the session after a lowside fall from his factory Honda, while holding provisional pole.

Aleix Espargaro regained top CRT honors from Aspar team-mate Randy de Puniet with seventh in qualifying. Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista was eighth quickest and de Puniet ninth.

Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Michele Pirro were left tenth and eleventh, with world champion Jorge Lorenzo absent after breaking his collarbone on Thursday. Lorenzo is on his way back to Assen and may try and ride in Saturday's race.

Marquez is also injured, after suffering fractures to his little finger and toe in Friday morning practice.

Andrea Dovizioso - who joined Ducati team-mate Hayden in Q1 - was not able to progress to the second and final part of qualifying.

Qualifying 2:
1. Cal Crutchlow
2. Marc Marquez
3. Stefan Bradl
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Dani Pedrosa
6. Bradley Smith
7. Aleix Espargaro
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Randy De Puniet
10. Nicky Hayden
11. Michele Pirro
12. Jorge Lorenzo

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