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Stoner overcomes crash to head grid for Dutch MotoGP race

June 29, 2012 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
 Australian motorcyclist Casey Stoner bounced back to set the pace in Friday's qualifying session in Assen.
Australian motorcyclist Casey Stoner bounced back to set the pace in Friday's qualifying session in Assen.
  • Casey Stoner wins pole position for Saturday's MotoGP race in Netherlands
  • World champion recovers from practice crash to head off teammate Dani Pedrosa
  • Series leader Jorge Lorenzo rounds out front row after qualifying third on Friday
  • His Yamaha teammate Ben Spies, last year's race winner, is back in sixth

(CNN) -- MotoGP leader Jorge Lorenzo hopes he can overturn Honda's qualifying dominance for Saturday's Assen TT race after setting the third fastest time behind Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.

The Spaniard holds a 25-point advantage over polesitter Stoner after winning the last three races in motorcycling's elite class.

World champion Stoner recovered from a morning crash to deny Honda Repsol teammate Pedrosa first place on the grid.

"I tried my best in the last lap of qualifying but I made a little mistake in the last chicane on braking and lost a few tenths," 2010 world champion Lorenzo said on the MotoGP website.

"I was surprised at Casey's last lap; it was fantastic and so fast and Dani was also very close to him. We have a good position for tomorrow on the front row and we have a good race pace and I'm confident with the bike so I'm happy.

Honda's world champion Casey Stoner won 10 of the 17 completed races in MotoGP last season, including the finale in Valencia. He is hoping to retain his Qatar race title in Sunday's season opener. Honda's world champion Casey Stoner won 10 of the 17 completed races in MotoGP last season, including the finale in Valencia. He is hoping to retain his Qatar race title in Sunday's season opener.
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"Qualifying is one thing but the race is another, tire choice will be important for the race."

Stoner, who has announced he will retire at the end of this season, claimed his third pole position of 2012.

"This morning was probably one of my biggest crashes, which is saying something! The crash really knocked the wind out of me, I hurt my head, neck, wrist, knee and shoulder -- it was a bad one for sure," he said.

"The team did a really great job, they kept their heads down even when I wasn't riding to my full potential or the bike's full potential and when we were struggling to get the rear tire to work, they didn't give up.

"Then when we came back onto the soft rear tire for the first time since FP1, the bike had much more feeling and we were able to put together a fantastic lap and put it on pole. As far as race pace goes, we're still struggling and we need to work on this and make some decisions before the race."

The 26-year-old Australian, who also won the world title in 2007 with Ducati, has triumphed in two of the six races so far and was second last time out in Britain.

Pedrosa, who is third in the standings 39 points behind his compatriot Lorenzo, was edged out by just 0.115 seconds.

Lorenzo's teammate Ben Spies won the race last year, but will start sixth on the grid on Saturday.

"Qualifying was a frustrating experience. We tried a setting this morning and went backwards, so the first bit of qualifying we tried a modified setting from yesterday which again wasn't working so well," the American said.

"We went back to yesterday's set up with a minor change but only got one lap in, which turned out to be my fastest lap. Unfortunately one of the CRT bikes got in the way on my qualifying lap. I know they are out there trying to do their thing as well so it's difficult."

German rookie Stefan Bradl was fourth for LCR Honda in his best qualifying performance, while Britain's Cal Crutchlow was fifth and his Yamaha Monster tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso was seventh.

Alvaro Bautista, who won his first pole at Silverstone this month, will start eighth ahead of Ducati's former world champions Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.

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