Maverick Vinales put the disappointing weekend in Barcelona behind him by topping the timesheets on Friday at Assen. The championship leader struggled desperately in Catalunya as the Yamahas failed to find grip in the sweltering conditions but Vinales was back on form in the Netherlands, leading Tech 3’s Jonas Folger.
With many improvements coming late in the first session, Vinales found himself outside the top ten heading into FP2 with rain in the air. As a result, the Spaniard was forced into action on the soft compound tyres and soon clawed his way to safety, clocking a 1:33.130 to top the second session.
With conditions much more to his liking, Maverick was pleased to be back at the front, although he isn’t sure the softer rubber will be an option in Sunday’s race.
“Today’s sessions were good. We wanted to compare the tyres and do many laps, especially on the soft to see if they are good to last the whole race. Whether they have good potential I don’t know yet, we have to see tomorrow. We will see in FP4, when we’re going to be more hot, which spec will be a good tyre for the race. I feel good, this is a track I like. The bike is working good and already from this morning we had a good set-up for this afternoon. We gained a lot of good information for tomorrow, especially for qualifying. We are trying and discussing the chassis, but as I always say: when we have grip, the bike is really nice to ride. Today it was easy to ride and control, and it was nice to feel good again.”
Folger was competitive throughout the afternoon, ultimately finishing three tenths adrift in second while Marc Marquez, another rider to miss the top ten in FP1, climbed to third in the afternoon to all-but secure his passage to Q2. In-form Andrea Dovizioso was fourth fastest ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Assen specialist Valentino Rossi with Danilo Petrucci taking seventh overall after topping the morning session.
Johann Zarco was eighth quickest, just ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Dani Pedrosa but Jorge Lorenzo looks set to miss out on an automatic Q2 spot after ending the day in fourteenth, with FP3 likely to be rain-affected.