Marco Simoncelli claimed the second pole of his MotoGP career as he edged out Ben Spies at Assen. Gresini rider Simoncelli had been fastest in both the practice sessions, in a variety of conditions, and a 1m34.718s relatively early in qualifying was sufficient to give him the top spot on the grid.
Spies (Yamaha) mounted his strongest qualifying performance since joining the factory team to take second, with Simoncelli only pipping him by 0.009sec.
Championship leader Casey Stoner was slightly off his usual pace as he completed the front row on his works Honda. Spies' teammate Jorge Lorenzo will start fourth - the first time the world champion has been out-qualified by the sister factory Yamaha in 2011.
Despite breaking a bone in his foot in his violent crash this morning, Andrea Dovizioso managed to qualify fifth for Honda. Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow continued his heroic weekend with sixth place, despite having surgery on a complicated collarbone break just a week ago.
Karel Abraham impressed again on the Cardion Ducati. As high as third at one stage, the rookie held on for a still creditable seventh, ahead of Colin Edwards (Tech 3), Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Ducati).
Switching to the GP11.1 – a 2012 Ducati with an 800cc engine – did not pay any early dividends for Valentino Rossi. The former champion languished in 15th for a long while before clawing his way up to 11th.
Hiroshi Aoyama qualified 12th on his first – and probably only – appearance on the factory Honda, with his Gresini Honda stand-in Kousuke Akiyoshi bringing up the rear of the field.
Both Pramac's Loris Capirossi and LCR Honda's Toni Elias had accidents, with the former taken to the medical center for checks.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m34.718s
2. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m34.727s + 0.009s
3. Casey Stoner Honda 1m35.008s + 0.290s
4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m35.143s + 0.425s
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m35.244s + 0.526s
6. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m35.329s + 0.611s
7. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m35.742s + 1.024s
8. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m35.818s + 1.100s
9. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m35.866s + 1.148s
10. Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 1m36.435s + 1.717s
11. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m36.564s + 1.846s
12. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 1m36.580s + 1.862s
13. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m36.590s + 1.872s
14. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m36.820s + 2.102s
15. Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1m37.130s + 2.412s
16. Toni Elias LCR Honda 1m37.651s + 2.933s
17. Kousuke Akiyoshi Gresini Honda 1m39.006s + 4.288s