Valentino Rossi survived a last-gasp effort from Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo to take his second pole position of the season after a typically dramatic qualifying session for the TT at Assen.
The world champion engaged in another massive scrap for pole with points co-leaders Lorenzo and Ducati's Casey Stoner. And with just five minutes to go his 1m36.026s was too much for Lorenzo to match -- who seemed to lose time in the last sector of the lap on every attempt.
Indeed the Spaniard even slipped behind countryman Dani Pedrosa who sneaked his Honda into second on the grid just as Rossi set his fastest lap of the session, following in the Italian's slipstream.
Stoner was in the mix, in fact was fastest of all, for most of the session, but as he tried to beat the Yamahas late-on he had a massive moment in the fast sweeps towards the end of the lap.
The Australian former world champion immediately pitted for another set of super-softs but appeared to be held up by another rider and furiously aborted his final attempt -- ending the session fourth behind Lorenzo.
Colin Edwards was an excellent fifth for Tech 3 on a track he loves. The Texan benefitted from a long-wheelbase version of the Yamaha M1 -- similar to the factory bikes -- and went quickest of all before slipping down the order late on.
Loris Capirossi put a Suzuki on the second row despite holding up Alex de Angelis and Gabor Talmacsi in the final chicane.
Chris Vermeulen was seventh, just 0.2sec behind his teammate ahead of Andre Dovisioso -- still recovering from a fever – James Toseland and Randy de Puniet.
The only significant incident of the session was when Nicolo Canepa crashed the privateer Pramac Ducati, but walked away from the incident apparently unhurt.TIMES:
Pos Rider Bike Time Gap
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m36.025s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m36.110s + 0.085s
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m36.393s + 0.368s
4. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m36.633s + 0.608s
5. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m36.760s + 0.735s
6. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m36.953s + 0.928s
7. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1m37.194s + 1.169s
8. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m37.237s + 1.212s
9. James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 1m37.323s + 1.298s
10. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m37.473s + 1.448s
11. Alex de Angelis Gresini Honda 1m37.637s + 1.612s
12. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1m37.749s + 1.724s
13. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m37.759s + 1.734s
14. Marco Melandri Hayate Kawasaki 1m37.948s + 1.923s
15. Toni Elias Gresini Honda 1m38.136s + 2.111s
16. Sete Gibernau Hernando Ducati 1m38.453s + 2.428s
17. Niccolo Canepa Pramac Ducati 1m38.605s + 2.580s
18. Yuki Takahashi Scot Honda 1m38.619s + 2.594s
19. Gabor Talmacsi Scot Honda 1m39.407s + 3.382s