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18 days ago

Zarco looms in Assen as the skies darken

The weather began to turn during Free Practice 3, but the track remained dry and allowed Johann to grab top spot.

Ten minutes into the Moto2™ World Championship’s third practice session the rain flag was brought out at Turn 11. After several minutes the entire field returned to the pits for adjustments and to see how the conditions developed. Riders were soon able to get back out on track, times comparable to those before the brief pause.

A last minute lap allowed Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) to grab the top spot with a 1’37.427. The French rider had a slow start to the session, making a mistake at the final chicane and forced to run on. Zarco was one of only a handful of riders to improve their times during the end of the session.

Having topped Friday practice, Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) picked up where he left off to again lead practice for the intermediate class until Zarco’s last gasp effort. The Swiss rider managed to complete 21 laps, Jesko Raffin (Sports Million EMWE SAG) the only rider to circulate the TT Circuit Assen more during FP3. Despite the high number of laps the Swiss rider still had time for a wheelie or two…

Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completed the top three with a 1’37.945, half a second back on Zarco. There’s work to do for the Brit if he wants to challenge Zarco come race day, but he can take some comfort from Alex Rins’ (Paginas Amarillas HP40) position during the session.

Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was again in the top five as the Italian looks for his first podium of the season. Just behind was soon to be MotoGP™ rider Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP).

Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Axel Pons (AGR Team) were all inside the top ten. Meanwhile championship leader Rins was 11th.

Several riders had their times removed for cutting the chicane, which has been altered for safety reasons. These changes have seen tarmac added to where grass once was.

Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) suffered an early fall at Turn 7, the Barcelona native slow to his feet but eventually able to walk away.

Remy Gardner (Tasca Racing Scuderia), who has replaced Alessandro Tonucci, had a fast off at Turn 15 but was trying to restart his bike straight away.

After missing multiple rounds at the start of the season, Edgar Pons’ (Paginas Amarillas HP40) tough year continued as he suffered a big crash at Turn 17.

#DutchGP: Moto2™ Free Practice 3