|Fabio Quartararo on pole again!|
Rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) became the youngest ever MotoGP back-to-back polesitter after storming to a sensational P1 in Q2 at the Motul TT Assen, the Frenchman setting a 1:32.017 – a new all-time lap record – to beat Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by 0.140, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completing the front row.
World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was the first rider to set a fast lap in the 15-minute Q2 shoot-out, a 1:32.857 was his benchmark but a Suzuki storm was brewing just behind. Rins was on a flyer and the Spaniard came over the line to set a new all-time lap record – a 1:32.461 obliterated Marquez’ time by almost four tenths. Quartararo then came around to complete his first lap, he went 0.274 off Rins’ time in P2 before Marquez leapfrogged back past the 20-year-old to become Rins’ closest challenger once more.
Then, the Yamahas of Quartararo and Vinales were both going quicker than the fastest lap, but neither could quite hold the pace as they came to round to complete their opening runs. Rins held provisional pole as the riders pitted for fresh rubber, with Quartararo 0.053 off in P2 and Vinales 0.194 back in third.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Brand-new soft front, soft rear was in order as the 12 MotoGP machines rumbled out of pitlane in front of a packed house in Assen. The pole position battle was on. Straight out of the gate, Vinales was setting session-best red sector times and heading into the final sector, the Spaniard had 0.062 in his pocket – but he didn’t need it. The number 12 put in a ferociously quick final sector to go a whopping three tenths quicker than Rins. What a lap from Vinales, but would it be beaten?
Marquez was just behind Vinales heading onto his second run but at Turn 1, the Repsol Honda rider had to demonstrate his demonic reflexes once more – another save for the number 93, as a certain Petronas Yamaha SRT rider started to get into the groove. Quartararo was 0.2 up on Vinales half way around the lap, but the flying Frenchman needed a fast last sector to hold his advantage. And that’s exactly what he did. Quartararo went P1 by 0.140 and a personal best lap from Rins couldn’t match the youngster’s time. Could Marquez make his last lap count? No, he couldn’t, it was pole number three of the season for Quartararo and joining him on the front row is Vinales and Rins – this the Suzuki rider’s best qualifying since his P2 in Valencia last season.
|Marquez saved his bike from a spill and lost time, so 4th best on this day|
A P4 means Marquez will start a race from off the front row for the first time this season, with rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) getting his best MotoGP qualifying in fifth – a cracking Q2 from the Spaniard. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) joins the Spanish duo on Row 2 in P6, with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) sitting as the leading Desmosedici rider in P7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) lines up alongside the Italian in P8, the Japanese rider is joined by Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) on the third row for Sunday’s race.
“I’m happy with the race pace and we knew before the Qualifying that it would be tough as there is more competition than normal," said Marquez.
"It looks like in the morning it is a little tricky but then in the afternoon when the conditions get warmer we are there. I think it’s going to be a very close race tomorrow and there are four or five of us with good pace. Normally it’s a circuit where we struggle, but in Mugello normally we struggle and we got second and in Montmelo we struggled and won."
Row four consists of two GP19s who would have been hoping for a bit more in qualifying. Jack Miller will launch from P10 on his Pramac Racing machine, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) having to settle for P11 after failing to find his rhythm in Q2 – this is the Italian’s worst Dutch GP qualifying result since 2013. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) came through Q1 to sit P12 on the grid, the Spaniard nursing a right wrist injury after crashing at the Barcelona test.
It wasn’t the qualifying 10-time Assen winner Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) would have been looking for, The Doctor will start from P14 after failing to progress through from Q1.
Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed at Turn 5 in Q1 – rider ok.
Quartararo vs Vinales has played out all weekend, and it’s the Independent Team rider that holds the advantage for the race. Last year we were treated to an absolutely sublime spectacle, with qualifying setting us up nicely for another incredible Assen showdown. Two Yamahas on fire, Rins starting from the front row, Marquez coming through from fourth and Dovi having to fight his way from P11.
|1||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)*||1'32.017s|
|2||Maverick Vinales||SPA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.140s|
|3||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.441s|
|4||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.714s|
|5||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)*||+1.068s|
|6||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.211s|
|7||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati (GP19)||+1.265s|
|8||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.278s|
|9||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+1.297s|
|10||Jack Miller||AUS||Pramac Ducati (GP19)||+1.306s|
|11||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati (GP19)||+1.675s|
|12||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16)||+1.745s|
|13||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Pramac Ducati (GP18)*||1'33.221s|
|14||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||1'33.466s|
|15||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)||1'33.547s|
|16||Karel Abraham||CZE||Reale Avintia Ducati (GP18)||1'33.583s|
|17||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||1'33.706s|
|18||Johann Zarco||FRA||Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16)||1'33.776s|
|19||Hafizh Syahrin||MAL||Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16)||1'33.869s|
|20||Andrea Iannone||ITA||Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)||1'33.960s|
|21||Tito Rabat||SPA||Reale Avintia Ducati (GP18)||1'34.580s|