Cal Crutchlow claimed his first career MotoGP pole position in an extraordinary session at Assen.
With Jorge Lorenzo sidelined with a broken collarbone and Marc Marquez riding with a fractured finger and toe following his morning crash, Honda's Dani Pedrosa went into qualifying as pole favorite.
Pedrosa duly hit the front on his first traffic-free lap and then started extending his provisional pole advantage, only to crash halfway around the lap. Although Pedrosa was unhurt and got back to the pits, he chose not to go out on his spare bike and was left watching as he was pushed down to fifth.
Valentino Rossi was first to knock Pedrosa off the top spot, though the Yamaha legend only held provisional pole for fractions of a second before LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl deposed him. But Bradl would not keep hold of what would have been his first MotoGP career pole, as Marquez and Crutchlow were still on fast laps.
Marquez crossed the line first and beat Bradl by a tenth, only for Crutchlow to leave them all standing with a 1m34.398s on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Marquez had to settle for second, followed by Bradl, Rossi and Pedrosa.
Crutchlow's teammate Bradley Smith shrugged off his recent hand and arm surgery to take sixth.
Aspar CRT duo Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet both reached Q2 and took seventh and ninth, sandwiching Alvaro Bautista's Gresini Honda.
It was a painful session for Ducati. Nicky Hayden had to battle hard to get through Q1, where he was second to de Puniet, and his teammate Andrea Dovizioso did not make it at all. The Italian will start way back in 15th, having been involved in an on-track spat with Hector Barbera.
Andrea Iannone was the other prototype rider to go out in Q1 when he crashed his Pramac Ducati.
Jorge Lorenzo has secured 12th on the grid as he had got into Q2 with his Thursday morning practice time.
The world champion is flying back to Assen following overnight surgery on his fractured collarbone, but will need to get medical clearance if he is to race. Yamaha has yet to confirm Lorenzo's intentions.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m34.398s
2. Marc Marquez Honda 1m34.755s + 0.357s
3. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m34.878s + 0.480s
4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m34.974s + 0.576s
5. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m35.006s + 0.608s
6. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m35.454s + 1.056s
7. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m35.500s + 1.102s
8. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m35.508s + 1.110s
9. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m35.622s + 1.224s
10. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m35.908s + 1.510s
11. Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati 1m36.866s + 2.468s
12. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha no time
13. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m36.432s + 2.034s
14. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m36.490s + 2.092s
15. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m36.524s + 2.126s
16. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m36.695s + 2.297s
17. Karel Abraham Cardion Aprilia 1m36.791s + 2.393s
18. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m37.143s + 2.745s
19. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m37.315s + 2.917s
20. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m37.625s + 3.227s
21. Yonny Hernandez PBM Aprilia 1m37.781s + 3.383s
22. Michael Laverty PBM-Aprilia 1m38.378s + 3.980s
23. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m38.704s + 4.306s
24. Ivan Silva Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m39.077s + 4.679s