Marc Marquez claimed his third MotoGP pole position in qualifying for Sunday's German Grand Prix after beating the Yamahas of Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi.
Home rider Stefan Bradl briefly topped the times after the first bout of efforts but was swiftly bumped down to fourth as the leaders upped the ante. Marquez's second flier yielded a 1m21.849s to put him provisional pole, but he was pushed down by the factory Yamaha of Rossi and then Cal Crutchlow's satellite Tech 3 bike.
When they emerged from the pits for their final runs, though, Marquez was not to be denied. On his eighth effort, he improved to a 1m21.311, just two-tenths shy of Casey Stoner's outright lap record, set on qualifying tires in 2008, and out of the reach of the chasing Yamahas. Rossi briefly jumped Crutchlow as he improved to a 1m21.493s but the Briton edged out the Assen winner by less than five-hundredths of a second as he posted a 1m21.434s.
Bradl had an off at Turn 3 at mid-distance but was quickly back on his LCR Honda and though he was able to improve his time, he could not match the pace of the lead trio and ended up fourth. That put him only fractionally ahead of the Aspar Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro, the CRT rider excelling once again to earn a career-best starting position of fifth.
Espargaro's time of 1m21.887s was well clear of Nicky Hayden's factory Ducati in sixth, while Danilo Petrucci and Claudio Corti made it three CRT bikes in Q2, that duo completing the top 10.
Dani Pedrosa will line up 12th, should he be declared fit to race. The championship leader was revealed to have a very small crack in his collarbone after his hefty practice shunt, though it was a combination of concussion and shoulder injury which forced him to miss the session.
Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone also missed Q1 following a dislocated right shoulder sustained in a crash in fourth practice, and was classified 23rd.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Marc Marquez Honda 1m21.311s
2. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m21.434s +0.123s
3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m21.493s +0.182s
4. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m21.862s +0.551s
5. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m21.887s +0.576s
6. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m22.157s +0.846s
7. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m22.297s +0.986s
8. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m22.484s +1.173s
9. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m22.561s +1.250s
10. Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.059s +1.748s
11. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m23.361s +2.050s
12. Dani Pedrosa Honda -
13. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m23.152s +1.841s
14. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.333s +2.022s
15. Michele Pirro Pramac Ducati 1m23.349s +2.038s
16. Michael Laverty PBM-Aprilia 1m23.549s +2.238s
17. Yonny Hernandez PBM Aprilia 1m23.565s +2.254s
18. Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.631s +2.320s
19. Karel Abraham Cardion Aprilia 1m23.752s +2.441s
20. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m23.820s +2.509s
21. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 1m24.395s +3.084s
22. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m27.273s +5.962s
23. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati -