Australian Remy Gardner 1’36.572 saw him take his maiden Moto2 pole as two late flying laps put the Kalex rider 0.110 clear of second place Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing the front row.
It was Vierge who looked like he would be the man to beat in Q2 after the Spaniard was able to half a second clear of the pack with a storming time, but Binder - who made a cracking save at Turn 5 - would soon top that by a slender 0.034 to continue his good weekend on the KTM.
However, everyone had their eyes peeled on Gardner as the man who sat nearly six tenths clear of the rest in FP3 started to find his rhythm.
The Australian was sitting 11th heading into the final five minutes but that was soon about to change. Red sectors were lighting up next to his name and sure enough, Gardner went P1 – but only just. 0.016 was the margin but the 21-year-old went for another quick lap.
And quicker it was, Gardner improved to stretch his advantage to over a tenth as pole position looked set. There were movers further down the grid but no one was able to better Gardner’s time as he became the first Australian intermediate class polesitter since Casey Stoner took 250cc pole at Phillip Island in 2005.
Binder and Vierge would hold onto a front row start, the South African earning his first front row start since Aragon last season. Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) will start from P4 in Assen.
He spearheads a second row that consists of Q1 graduate Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) – P5 and P6 respectively for the Brit and Spaniard, this is Di Giannantonio’s second consecutive second row start after a P5 in Barcelona.
Some big name riders will be looking for opening lap progression on Sunday afternoon, with the likes of Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Catalan GP poleman Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40), Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin and Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) all starting from outside the top ten – the latter crashing unhurt at Turn 5 in Q2.