Back on top: perfect Friday for Bagnaia at the Dutch GP

The Italian was quickest in both Free Practice sessions on Friday to beat Mir and teammate Marini

Francesco Bagnaia’s (SKY Racing Team VR46) Motul TT Assen got off to the perfect start as the Championship leader topped both FP1 and FP2 on Friday, with Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) second on the combined timesheets and Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) third on the opening day at Assen.

Bagnaia improved his time by over a tenth of a second in the afternoon, setting a 1:38.019 to finish 0.100 ahead of rookie sensation Mir, who in turn improved his time by seven tenths from FP1 to jump up to P2 from P10 this morning. Marini made it two VR46 bikes in the top three in the Netherlands after finishing 16th in FP1, an impressive afternoon session from the Italian.

After finishing third in FP1, Barcelona race winner Fabio Quartararo (Lightech – Speed Up Racing) confirmed he’s in the hunt for another podium fight after ending the day fourth on the combined timesheets, just 0.010 behind Marini and 0.165 off Bagnaia’s time. Just behind the Frenchman and rounding out the top five in the intermediate class was Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40), cementing his P5 from FP1 – 0.280 off the top at the close of play.

Fellow Italian Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was sixth quickest on the opening day, jumping up two positions from his eighth-place finish in the morning, with teammate Andrea Locatelli the only rider in the top ten who failed to improve his time from FP1 – slipping from P2 to P7 in the afternoon.

After a crash in the morning session, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) had no such trouble in FP2, ending the day eighth fastest overall to finish 0.434 behind Bagnaia’s time. Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) consolidated ninth place on the combined timesheets after finishing just inside the top ten in both sessions, with Romano Fenati’s (Marinelli Snipers Team) time of 1:38.988 just 0.039 behind the German – the rookie climbing five positions from his P15 in FP1 to end Friday as the tenth quickest rider.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who sits second in the Championship, ended Friday 12th on the combined timesheets, 0.488 off the quickest time set by title rival Bagnaia and 0.008 behind teammate Brad Binder – the South African ended the day 11th overall.

Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) crashed twice in the session, with Federico Fuligni (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) also crashing – riders ok. Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) then crashed heavily at Turn 15 towards the end of the session, with the Japanese rider taken to hospital to evaluate a left hand injury.

Bagnaia was the man to beat on Friday, but with a second covering the top 18 riders, Saturday’s Moto2™ action looks set to be unmissable. Tune in for FP3 at 10:55 local time, with the battle for pole igniting at 15:05 local time (GMT +2).

Click here for the full results!