Maverick Vinales gave Yamaha cause for optimism after topping the Friday practice timesheets at Assen. This weekend’s Dutch TT marks a full calendar year since Yamaha’s last MotoGP victory but Vinales boosted hopes of ending that barren run, setting a blistering pace late in Friday’s afternoon session in the Netherlands.
Following back-to-back victories at Mugello and Catalunya, Jorge Lorenzo began the weekend as the form rider but the Ducati man endured a difficult start, tumbling at the end of FP1 after losing the front end at De Bult. The opening session was eventually topped by Marc Marquez but the reigning champion slipped down the order later in the day as he focussed on race set-up.
The closing stages of FP2 resembled a qualifying session as riders aimed to secure a top ten spot overnight, putting them in a provisional Q2 position should track conditions deteriorate on Saturday morning. Vinales produced a sensational run on a soft rear tyre, clocking consecutive laps in the mid-1:32s to finish the afternoon on top.
Andrea Iannone climbed to second with his final lap of the day, just a tenth shy of Vinales, while Danilo Petrucci finished third ahead of 2017 winner Valentino Rossi. Cal Crutchlow was fifth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, who had been fastest of all prior to the qualifying simulations, while Lorenzo pipped Marquez to seventh after recovering from his morning spill.
2018 Motul TT Assen: (Friday Practice)
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