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Hopkins takes pole for A-Style TT Assen

Hopkins takes pole for A-Style TT Assen

Hopkins takes pole for A-Style TT Assen

John Hopkins took his maiden MotoGP pole this afternoon, Rizla Suzuki's second of the 2006 season. The Anglo-American clocked a time of 1'36.411 to take the top spot on an overcast day at the Assen Circuit, leading a front four containing four different factories.

Hopkins edged out second placed rider Shinya Nakano by just 13 thousandths of a second, with the always strongly qualifying Japanese rider putting himself on the front row. Colin Edwards, fastest in every practice session ahead of Saturday's A-style TT Assen, completed the first line.

Repsol Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa headed row two, still under the 1'37 barrier, whilst Chris Vermeulen rounded off a superb day for Rizla Suzuki by placing in the top six qualifiers.

A still-tender Marco Melandri battled through the pain barrier to finish ahead of yesterday's surprise package Carlos Checa, whilst Ducati debutant Alex Hofmann earned his best qualifying performance of the season in ninth.

The big news of the day came from World Champion Valentino Rossi, always making headlines even when off the pole-spot. The MotoGP star rode just four laps in the morning session before changing clothes and heading to the Clinica Mobile. After further treatment to the hairline fracture on the title-holder's hand, Rossi came out for the qualifying session, where he put in thirteen laps of the modified track. After an initial attempt to earn a high grid position without qualifying tyres, the Camel Yamaha rider called it a day in order to rest for tomorrow's race. Technicians for the team have modified the brake lever of the M1 to aid Rossi's comfort, their rider starting from eighteenth on the grid.

Fellow injury-listed Italian Loris Capirossi was also suffering the after-effects of his Catalunya crash, and will start tomorrow's Dutch race from fifteenth.

TT A-Style Assen

1. John Hopkins - Rizla Suzuki 1'36.411
2. Shinya Nakano - Kawasaki Racing 1'36.424
3. Colin Edwards - Camel Yamaha 1'36.755
4. Nicky Hayden - Repsol Honda 1'36.758
5. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda 1'36.993
6. Chris Vermeulen - Rizla Suzuki 1'37.077
7. Marco Melandri - Fortuna Honda 1'37.332
8. Carlos Checa - Yamaha Tech 3 1'37.378
9. Alex Hofmann - Ducati Marlboro 1'37.399
10. Kenny Roberts jr. - Team Roberts 1'37.528


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