The high temperatures at the TT Circuit Assen today matched the hot action in the final stages of today’s Q2 session. With many riders waiting to make a move until the last minute, the outcome of the qualifying was anybody’s guess. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales rode on the limit on their last flying lap and secured third and sixth place respectively.
Rossi had more than one mission during today’s Q2 session. Having suffered a fast crash in FP4, he used his first run to complete three laps to get back into the groove and recover his feeling with the bike, before putting his head down during his second stint.
Leaving the garage with four and a half minutes left of the session, the Doctor found himself in tenth position and had time for two attempts to better his ranking. He left it late but found a good spot on the track for his final try and clocked a 1’32.850s, just 0.059s from pole, to take third place, on the front row.
Similar to his teammate, Viñales delayed his start in the hope of finding some clear space on track. His first hot lap put him in fourth place, but he dropped down the order as the pace quickened. Unable to improve his time on his next try, he dug deeper and posted a 1’33.557s that put him in fifth place, before heading back into the pits with six minutes remaining.
He hurried out of pit lane one and a half minutes later eager to give the time attack another go, but the level of competition proved to be fierce. Multiple riders set red sectors in the final minute of the session and dropped below the 1’33 mark. The Spaniard was one of them and posted a 1’32.984s final lap, earning him sixth place, 0.193s from first.
Position: 3rd – Time: 1’32.850 – Laps: 8
“I’m so happy about the front row because I crashed in FP4, so I lost some feeling. It wasn’t easy, but I did three laps with the first tyre and recovered my line and my rhythm, and after that it was a ‘waiting game’. Everybody was waiting but I was in a good position. It was exciting because it was a really hot lap! Normally the top riders are really close, but this weekend even more so. You have many riders and three or four different bikes that can fight for the victory, so this makes it really important to start from the front row. Now we just wait for tomorrow. We hope the weather will stay like this. We have to improve some details and also the tyre choice will be very important, because all the three options are not so bad. It will be important to find the right way.”
Position: 6th – Time: 1’32.984 – Laps 8
“It was more difficult to be competitive compared to yesterday, but today we tried to give our best as always. We were focused more on riding with a heavy bike, so I had some issues when I pushed for a hot lap time, but anyway I think we can do well tomorrow. We still need to discuss the tyre choice with Michelin and the team. Starting from sixth is not bad, and for sure I will try to make a good start. I’ll be on the attack in the early laps and try to repeat what we’ve done in the practice sessions. We’ve worked a lot to prepare for the race, let’s see if it pays off. There are many riders with the same rhythm with different tyres, so it’s going to be an interesting race and tricky for sure. I know we can be there, if we work well tonight and choose the correct set-up.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“Today’s two practice sessions weren’t as easy as yesterday. Valentino suffered a crash in FP4 and Maverick didn’t have the same feeling on the bike as yesterday, so this made qualifying more challenging. Vale took a bit of time in qualifying to get a good feeling on the bike again, before pushing in the final stages. It wasn’t easy to recover his feeling within a few laps, but he still qualified on the front row. Doing that so soon after a fall is a good result and shows his fighting spirit. Maverick has been fast throughout all the sessions, riding with the race configuration. Even though he missed the first row, starting from sixth position is not a bad result, especially considering how close the times of the top riders are. Tonight we’ll check if there’s any possibility to improve both riders’ bikes’ settings, which we will verify during the warm up. We expect tomorrow to be a hard race, with many riders capable of challenging at the front, but we’ll make sure to be ready for the fight.”
Zarco Delivers Thrilling Qualifying Performance – Syahrin to Launch Dutch GP from Fifth Row
Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco showed a fantastic effort this afternoon at the TT Circuit in Assen. During his first Q1 session of the year, the fast Frenchman snatched the top position last second and did an excellent 1’33.072 in Q2, which made him miss out on the pole position by just 0.281 seconds, starting the Dutch GP on Sunday from the middle of the third row.
Yet, Hafizh Syahrin was leading the Q1 session after his first flying lap but was unable to improve on his fast lap time as he run into traffic on track. Thereby, the Malaysian rookie missed out on his first second Qualifying of the ultra-competitive premier class field by only 0.066 seconds. Syahrin lowered his fastest lap from Friday morning by incredible 2.172 seconds and is set to attack from P15 on the grid for tomorrow’s 26 laps race at 14.00 local time.
Position: 8th – Time: 1’33.072 – Laps: 7
“Today has been a better day than Friday, but we had some ups and downs in the course of the practices, which makes it difficult to work consistently on improving myself. We have some good things, some bad things and it kept changing. Finally, we were coming from far in the Qualifying. On the last lap of Q1 I could save my Q2 and then we started well. We also finished well, I improved my best lap time by more than five tenths, so it’s a lot, plus we are not far from the pole position. Everyone is so fast, which complicates the job. Overall, I’m positive about this day and apart from the final position, the lap time was great. I need to find the pace and an easy feeling during Warm Up in order to be ready for the race tomorrow.”
Position: 15th – Time: 1’33.666 – Laps: 8
“I was very close to Q2, just 0.066 seconds, which is unfortunate, but the time I did was behind another rider, who held me up later, so I couldn’t improve this little bit I needed to make the step. I saw my time and went to the front, but I knew that it required another try to go to Q2. Anyway, I’m really happy about the work we did in the team. I will try to get my rhythm for tomorrow’s race in the Warm Up and we try to keep focused on the race.”
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