Francesco Bagnaia continued his dominance of the Dutch TT weekend as he claimed pole position at Assen. The championship leader had topped all three practice sessions prior to qualifying and his superiority extended into Saturday afternoon, taking pole position while his title rival Miguel Oliveira endured another qualifying catastrophe.
In scorching temperatures, many of the fastest times were set early in the qualifying session with Bagnaia’s pole time coming on just his second timed lap, six minutes into proceedings. The biggest challenge would come from Marcel Schrotter with the German qualifying on the front row for the third consecutive Grand Prix, his time also coming in the first 15 minutes before track conditions deteriorated.
In any case, the closing stages were heavily disrupted with Niki Tuuli bringing out the red flags three minutes from time after a painful highside exiting De Strubben. The Finnish rider was stretchered away with his SIC team later confirming he will require surgery on a finger on his left hand, ruling him out of tomorrow’s race. Even when the session did resume, any hope of a late improvement was quashed by wildcard Xavi Cardelus’ spectacular spill at the very same corner.
To add to Bagnaia’s joy, Oliveira could only manage 17th, the fifth consecutive race he has qualified tenth or lower for. Sky VR46 had even more cause for celebration with Bagnaia’s team-mate Luca Marini claiming his maiden front row start in third, just ahead of Alex Marquez who also had a late fall. Xavi Vierge will line up fifth on the second Dynavolt Kalex while Sam Lowes was the sole KTM in the front half of the grid line-up, qualifying sixth.
Catalunya winner Fabio Quartararo had taken seventh, but a three-place penalty for failing to pit immediately once the red flags were shown relegated him to tenth, promoting Andrea Locatelli, Jorge Navarro and Joan Mir onto row three.
Moto2 Motul TT Assen: (Qualifying)
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