Jack Miller used a combination of raw pace and supreme tactics to claim pole position for the Dutch TT at Assen. The championship leader managed to find a clear lap in a session dominated by traffic to snatch pole from Catalunya winner Alex Marquez in the closing minutes.
Following morning drizzle, a queue of riders formed at the end of the pitlane as red turned to green and Romano Fenati, keen to avoid the qualifying disasters of Catalunya, broke straight into the 1:42s to set the early pace. The Italian improved to a 1:42.594 on his second third flying lap of the afternoon but extraordinarily, wouldn’t go any quicker for the remainder of the session and tumbled down the order once again.
Alex Marquez had joined the pack of riders searching for an early banker lap and succeeded with a 1:42.356 but the Red Bull KTM Ajo team were taking a different approach and kept their riders back in the garage. By the time Jack Miller and Karel Hanika were sent out ten minutes in, the first wave of runners had returned to the pits and the KTM duo took advantage to go second and third respectively. Ironically, Aki Ajo’s masterplan was thwarted by his son Niklas who baulked Miller at Ramshoek while cruising on the racing line, denying the Australian a possible pole position.
In a frantic final few minutes, Miller found enough clear track to set a 1:42.240, a tenth quicker than Marquez, while Ajo also put the earlier incident behind him to go third on a 1:42.430. Alexis Masbou took fourth ahead of Niccolo Antonelli with Alex Rins leaving it late to salvage sixth after languishing outside the top ten for much of the session.
Isaac Vinales took seventh late on, demoting Hanika and Fenati to eighth and ninth, while John McPhee claimed the last spot in the top ten, edging out Danny Kent by just under a tenth of a second.