Cal demonstrated his skill and bravery to mount a stunning challenge for a maiden front row grid position at the world famous Circuit van Drenthe in Assen this afternoon.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider powered his YZR-M1 machine to a best time of 1.35.329 to move into third position with less than a minute of today's qualifying session remaining.
But in a typically nail-biting finale, the 25-year-old was unforunately dropped down to the second row of the grid and he will start tomorrow's 26-lap Iveco TT Assen from sixth position for the third successive race.
Cal's performance was even more impressive considering he was riding in considerable discomfort from the left collarbone he broke in five places just 13 days ago at Silverstone. Conditions for this afternoon's session were the best of the weekend so far, with no disruption caused by rain showers that had been predicted.
The dry track made riding a more physically demanding challenge for Cal, particularly in the sections requiring fast changes of direction, though he showed his trademark grit and determination to finish less than 0.2s behind reigning World Champion and factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.
“I was on the front row right at the end and it just got taken away, but I'm still really happy because I came here and didn't think I'd even be riding at this stage of the weekend. I thought I'd only be able to do a few laps because of my collarbone injury and here I am fighting for the front row."
"I think I went for it on my last soft tyre a little bit too early to be honest but I can't be disappointed. Sixth seems to be my position on the grid at the moment because that's the third race in a row I've started from that place. My shoulder is really sore now too. The 90-minute session this morning followed by another hour this afternoon means I can really feel the collarbone throbbing. The fast changes of direction are the biggest issue. Flicking the bike through some of those fast kinks is hard enough when you've got full strength, so for me having a big operation to plate my collarbone only last week, it is really difficult."
"To be honest I hope it rains for the race tomorrow, but I'll try my best for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team whatever the weather.”