Raul Fernandez claimed his fourth pole position in the last five races as he once again topped the timesheets in qualifying for the Moto2 Dutch Grand Prix at Assen, round nine of the championship.

The rapid rookie came close to the lap record, just a hundreth off the best ever run set by Johann Zarco back in 2015 as he traded fast laps with his Red Bull KTM Ajo team-mate Remy Gardner.

A second crash of the season in practice did not dent his confidence and the Spaniard bounced back to set a best of 1m 36.356s.

Championship leader and winner of the last three rounds Remy Gardner did not dominate as he did in Germany, but gave Fernandez a good late run for position to finish second, just 0.186s slower.

The battle for the final front row slot was decided after the session had ended with Augusto Fernandez being demoted to eighth for setting the third fastest time under yellow flag conditions following Jorge Navarro’s late fall.

That saw his Elf Marc VDS team-mate Sam Lowes move back into the front row position.


Between them Aron Canet, a podium finisher at the last round at the Sachsenring, will fill fourth as the top non Kalex entry for Aspar on the Boscoscuro after coming through Q1 with the second best time.

Hector Garzo , who topped the wet FP2 session was next fastest and will start fifth for Flexbox HP40.

Ai Ogura shone once again with another great rookie performance, shadowing his Idemitsu Honda Team Asia colleague Somkiat Chantra to climb to sixth.

Navarro clung onto seventh despite his fall, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans) not far behind on times for ninth, his best qualifying performance since moving up to Moto2.

Tenth went to another rookie as they continue to find their feet and more consistency in the class, Tony Arbolino, for Liqui Moly IntactGP. Celestino Vietti was just one place further back in eleventh for Sky Racing Team VR46.

Class veteran Tom Luthi rallied for twelfth for SAG Team, ahead of a determined Bo Bendsneyder. The Dutch rider assured he moved out of the first half of qualifying with the top time, with home fans at the track to cheer him on, on his way to 13th overall.

MotoGP bound Gresini rider Fabio Di Giannantonio was off the pace in 15th with Sky Racing VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi having it all to do on race day again in an even more distant 17th after his best late effort was also scratched off, moving him down from eighth.

Joe Roberts will be serving a long lap penalty in the Dutch grand prix, his offence was crashing under yellow flag conditions. The American was just knocked out if the progression places at the end of Q1 so will be sitting in 19th on the grid for Italtrans.

Jake Dixon will also be visiting the penalty loop for his part in Augusto Fernandez’s crash last round. The Petronas rider could only manage eighth in Q1 - a 22nd place grid start.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (MV Agusta Forward Racing) was declared unfit to take part after sustaining a left hand injury. He is replaced by Manuel Gonzalez, who impressed in the wet before going on to set the 29th best time in qualifying.

Alonso Lopez returns to sit in again for Yari Montella at +Ego Speed Up - he starts slightly further ahead in 27th.