It’s so far so good for Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) at the Motul TT Assen as the Spaniard claims P1 again to spearhead the premier class timesheets before qualifying. Fabio Quartararo makes it a Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1-2, the World Championship leader 0.197s behind Viñales’ 1:32.336, as Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) continues to find form in the Netherlands with P3.
The tale of a dry FP3
The sun was shining on Saturday morning at the TT Circuit Assen, which meant one thing: conditions were ideal for the riders to set personal best lap times. The likes of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) improved early doors inside the top 10, but it was Friday pacesetter Viñales catching the eye.
The factory Yamaha star set the first sub-1:33 lap time with 25 minutes to go, a 1:32.848, before Viñales then stretched his advantage to 0.497s over Pol Espargaro with a 1:32.686. Quartararo then moved the goalposts to make it a YZR-M1 1-2 at the summit, but Viñales fought back to go over two tenths clear as the clocked ticked down into the final 10 minutes.
Plenty then changes in the closing stages, including the likes of Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) getting themselves into the top 10, as every rider improved on Saturday morning.
The automatic Q2 qualifiers
Aleix Espargaro left it late to leap up to P4, the Spaniard sits one place behind younger brother Pol in the Free Practice standings. Reigning World Champion Joan Mir and Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate Alex Rins are safely into the second part of qualifying, a good outing for the GSX-RRs, as Nakagami makes it two Hondas in Q2 with a P7 finish in FP3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) is the lone KTM ranger in Q2 so far, the Portuguese rider is eighth ahead of Rossi and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – the Bologna factory have work to do in the Netherlands.
Work to do for title hopefuls
Second in the Championship Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) – a crasher at Turn 3 on Saturday morning – will contest Q1, alongside Ducati and title-challenging counterpart Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). Marc Marquez is battered and bruised from his huge FP2 highside, the eight-time World Champion is another who will be in Q1, as will Sachsenring 4th place finisher Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).
FP4 comes your way at 13:30 local time (GMT+2) before qualifying begins at 14:10. With just 0.7s covering 16 riders, the fight for pole position should be mighty – don’t miss it!
Top 10 combined:
1. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:32.336
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.197
3. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.305
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.411
5. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.412
6. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.509
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.517
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.535
9. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.558
10. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.571