Espargaro gets back on top in Assen Warm Up

The rest of the top 10 was a Ducati sweep. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) clocked a 1:32.799, Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) a 1:32.819, Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) a 1:32.854, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) a 1:32.855, pole-sitter Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) a 1:32.886, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) a 1:32.914, and Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) a 1:33.038. Despite an overnight shower, it was a dry track which greeted riders for the final, 20-minute session before lights go out this Sunday afternoon at 14:00 (GMT +2).

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Gresini Racing announce Alex Marquez for 2023 ride

Nadia Padovani Gresini, Team Owner: “I’m really happy with this new project. First of all we’re confirming our continuation with Fabio Di Giannantonio. He has already shown his talent this year, as he has been improving race after race, and I’m sure that he’ll keep getting more competitive. We were looking to put a more experienced rider alongside him, and I think Alex Marquez is the perfect one for our team. His CV speaks for itself: we think he has great potential and that the Desmosedici machine may be the perfect companion on his new journey. Welcome to the family, Alex!” 

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Which Jorge Lorenzo feat could Quartararo match at Assen?

1. Francesco Bagnaia set a new All Time Lap Record at Assen to qualify on pole position for the 10th time in MotoGP™ and the fourth time this season, after doing so in Spain, France, and Germany. Fun fact: This is Ducati’s 63rd pole in MotoGP™, matching the number of Bagnaia’s bikes.

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Bagnaia reignites his title bid with sensational Assen pole

Game on as Pecco shatters the lap record at the Cathedral of Speed

Francesco Bagnaia has stormed to pole position for the Motul TT Assen, shattering the All Time Lap Record as he looks to breathe new life into his MotoGP™ World Championship title bid. The Ducati Lenovo Team rider set a 1:31.504 to beat the old benchmark at the TT Circuit Assen by more than three tenths of a second. Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) qualified second and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) was also on lap record pace as he grabbed the final berth on the front row.

Maximum bravery as rain threatens at Assen

With isolated spots of rain during Q1, and grey clouds hanging over Assen as Q2 got underway, riders had the hammer down straight away. Both Martin and Quartararo broke the All Time Lap Record on their first flying laps, the former on a 1:31.708 and the latter just 0.010 seconds slower. At the end of the opening runs, they were still top two and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) third at 0.311 seconds off the pace, with Quartararo returning to the pits via an excursion through the gravel at Haarbocht (Turn 1) but keeping his YZR-M1 upright.

Armed with a new Michelin soft slick tyre on the rear of his Ducati, Bagnaia then came out and charged to the 1:31.504 on the first flying lap of his second run. Martin lost the chance to improve further when he went down at De Strubben (Turn 5), and his error was punished when Quartararo pinched second place with a 1:31.620. ‘El Diablo’ was still pushing with the chequered flag out until he too nearly had a crash at De Strubben and while he managed to save it, the moment locked Bagnaia into a fourth pole position in the last six rounds.

Bezzecchi just misses the front row

Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) went under the lap record too, setting a 1:31.796 which puts him fourth on the starting grid, while Free Practice pace-setter Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) grabbed fifth with a 1:31.868. That was just 0.364 seconds away from pole and Espargaro must have felt he had more, considering he vented his anger at Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) when the Australian triggered a late yellow flag with a spill at De Strubben. Miller, who would be classified sixth on the 1:32.124 which he set on his first run, then had an even bigger moment with another Aprilia when Maverick Viñales came up behind him at high speed on the final flying lap. The Ducati rider would later be handed a Long Lap Penalty by stewards for riding slow on the race line.

Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) took seventh on a 1:32.175, and will be joined on Row 3 by Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The Red Bull KTM Factory duo had both gone the long way in qualifying and Brad Binder would eventually claim 10th on the grid, ahead of Viñales and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu).

How the rest of the grid looks

Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) missed out on advancing to Q2 by just over three tenths of a second and is set to line up 13th on the starting grid after clocking a 1:32.787. It had been Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) who was third-fastest in Q1 on a 1:32.898 when he folded the front of his GSX-RR at De Strubben, and the Spaniard was unable to improve thereafter, leaving him 14th on the grid. Fabio Di Giannantonio took 15th and his Gresini Racing MotoGP™ team-mate Enea Bastianini was only able to salvage 16th after an early drama. ‘La Bestia’ suffered some sort of problem before he had even made it off the pit exit road at the start of the session, where he pulled off before running back to fetch his other Ducati.

Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™) took 17th, ahead of Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team), Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing), and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) in 20th. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) completes the seventh row, with the rest of the grid made up by Aprilia Racing test rider Lorenzo Savadori, from Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) and Darryn Binder (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team).

The MotoGP™ riders are back on-track for the Warm Up on Sunday at 09:40, then it’s lights out for what is shaping up to be another thrilling Assen TT itself at 14:00 (GMT +2)!

MotoGP™ Q2 Top 10:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:31.504
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.116
3. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.204
4. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.292
5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.364
6. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.620
7. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.671
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.768
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.803
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.863

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Dixon denies Arenas in a Q2 thriller

Only 0.011 seconds separated the GASGAS riders at the end of Moto2™ qualifying at Assen

Jake Dixon has scored the Moto2™ pole position after an unbelievably close Q2 session at the Motul TT Assen. Not only did he beat his teammate Albert Arenas by 0.011 seconds in an Inde GASGAS Aspar Team qualifying one-two at the TT Circuit Assen, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) were each only 0.020 seconds slower again. Ogura may have missed the front row but he has a tantalising chance to move into the World Championship lead on Sunday afternoon given Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) could only manage 11th on the grid after a crash.

Nothing in it!

Illustrating just how tight qualifying was, Lowes took over top spot when he set a 1:36.767 seconds with just over five minutes remaining, a lap which was less than a tenth of a second quicker than that which put Q1 pace-setter Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40) on top after the first flyers in Q2. Despite moving into provisional pole position, the Briton gesticulated at Elf Marc VDS Racing team-mate Tony Arbolino after he had crossed the line, apparently feeling that the Italian had held him up near the end of the lap.

Lowes might have had good reason to be upset, considering how tight the margins would be. Arenas clocked a 1:36.747 in the final three minutes, before Ogura threatened to take the ascendancy when he moved onto the provisional front row with a 1:36.787. That was still the top three with the chequered flag out, after which Dixon took a second career pole position by an extremely slim margin – can the 26-year-old turn it into a breakthrough Grand Prix victory?

Vietti sets himself up for a tough Sunday

Behind that top four was Alonso Lopez (MB Conveyors Speed Up) on a 1:36.842 and Navarro in sixth on his first flying lap time. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) was shy of not just the first row but also the second row of the grid despite being only 0.148 seconds off the best pace, and the American is set to start seventh. Dutchman Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) qualified eighth for his home race and last-start winner Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will join him on Row 3. Rounding out the top 10 at only 0.292 seconds slower than pole was Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP).

Vietti has work to do if he is to leave Assen with the Championship lead still in his hands. The Italian was sixth-fastest on a 1:37.085 when he lost the front at Ossebroeken before the halfway mark, and was ultimately shuffled back to 11th. Arbolino is another notable who is deep in the field having qualified 13th, while Fermin Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) salvaged 20th on the grid despite an early technical problem in Q1. Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), who is fourth in the World Championship for now, had to withdraw after FP3 due to a persistent nosebleed following a recent road car accident.

Will we see a new Championship leader by the end of the weekend? Can Dixon become a Moto2™ race winner? After the Sunday morning Warm Up session, we will get our answers from 12:20 (GMT +2)!

Moto2™ Q2 Top 10:
1. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) – 1:36.736
2. Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.011
3. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.031
4. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.051
5. Alonso Lopez (MB Conveyors Speed Up) + 0.106
6. Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40) + 0.124
7. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.148
8. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 0.183
9. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.231
10. Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.292

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Aegerter takes victory in a hectic Assen opener

Less than a tenth of a second covers the podium after eight astonishing laps around Assen

Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™) has extended his FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup points lead by winning an all-time thriller in Race 1 at the Motul TT Assen. The Swiss rider nearly crashed at his first attempted pass on the final lap around the TT Circuit Assen but showed supreme bravery to set up a move on Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) as they ran into the Geert Timmer Chicane right at the end. It was Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) who pinched second place at the chequered flag, 0.072 seconds behind Aegerter and a mere 0.009 seconds ahead of Casadei after eight of the best laps which MotoE™ has ever seen.

Granado goes on an early charge

Aegerter had qualified on pole position but the battle for the lead was initially between Granado and Casadei, who went side-by-side into the first corner. However, both ran wide exiting Haarbocht and Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE™) emerged in first position, ahead of Aegerter and Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team). Granado and Casadei slotted into fourth and fifth spots, but both were back ahead of Pons within a lap.

Granado took a liking to the fast Ramshoek (Turn 15) left-hander, overtaking Aegerter there on Lap 3 just when it looked like Ferrari might be starting to creep away, then passing the 2019 World Cup winner himself another lap later again. Ferrari reclaimed the lead from the Brazilian as they ran through the Ossebroeken section (Turn 3/Turn 4) on Lap 5, but Granado got back in front later that lap at Stekkenwal (Turn 8).

Aegerter joins the fight for victory

Meanwhile, a big battle had broken out for third between Aegerter, Casadei, and Pons, but the current World Cup leader had shaken those off when he launched an attack on Ferrari. He squeezed past the Gresini rider into the Geert Timmer Chicane on Lap 6, and Ferrari dropped towards the back of the leading pack when he had two big scares as he tried to take second position back at the start of Lap 7 with Casadei inheriting third position.

Aegerter then got underneath Granado at the tight Strubben left-hander (Turn 5), but that gave them a slow entry down the back straight and Casadei stormed by both of them on the run into the Ruskenhoek (Turn 6). Granado re-passed Aegerter for second position at De Bult (Turn 9) but the Intact rider snatched the spot back just a few corners later at the Timmer Chicane, making contact as he did so.

The World Cup leader throws caution to the wind

Despite being back in the runner-up position with a lap to go and a World Cup lead to protect, Aegerter was hardly in a mood to simply collect points. He dived past Casadei at De Strubben but could not make the move stick and very nearly got chucked off his Energica Ego Corsa when he opened up the throttle again. Still, the Swiss rider hung onto his handlebars, hung onto second place, and then hung on the outside of Casadei as they sped through Ramshoek for the eighth and final time, near the end of the lap.

He was able to pass the Pons Racing rider through the Timmer Chicane and win the drag race to the finish line. Second, however, went to Granado, who pipped Casadei by a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it margin, with Ferrari fourth and Hector Garzo (Tech3 E-Racing) getting home in fifth at just 0.960 seconds behind the winner. Marco Alcoba (Openbank Aspar Team) had been in the leading group on the last lap but crashed at high speed at the Ramshoek, with an x-ray clearing him of a fractured left elbow but another medical review coming on Sunday.

How the rest finished

Pons eventually finished sixth, ahead of Niccolo Canepa (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™ Team), Bradley Smith (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™ Team), Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40), and Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta Sic58 Squadracorse). Also in the points, from 11th to 15th respectively, were Kevin Manfredi (Octo Pramac MotoE™), Xavi Fores (Octo Pramac MotoE™), Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE™), Alex Escrig (Tech3 E-Racing), and Maria Herrera (Openbank Aspar Team).

In the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup standings, Aegerter has increased his margin to 34 points, with Granado second and Ferrari another eight points behind in third.

After an astonishing opening encounter, make sure you catch Race 2 on Sunday at 15:30 (GMT +2).

MotoE™ Race 1 Top 5:

1. Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE) – 1:36.736
2. Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) + 0.072
3. Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) + 0.081
4. Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE) + 0.507
5. Hector Garzo (Tech 3 E-Racing) + 0.960

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Quartararo betters Bagnaia in FP4

With Friday’s running affected by rain, there was plenty of experimentation with the Michelin tyre compounds. Quartararo, who took a mid-session excursion through the gravel trap at the Geert Timmer Chicane, set his fastest lap on a medium front and hard rear, while Bagnaia spent the whole session on a soft-hard combination. FP3 fast man Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) took fourth in FP4 with a 1:32.855, with the top five rounded out by Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) on a 1:32.899.

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Sasaki snatches Assen Moto3™ pole

It’s a second career pole for a rider chasing his first Grand Prix win

Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) has taken pole position for Round 11 of the Moto3™ World Championship at the Motul TT Assen after a late crash for fellow Japanese rider Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing). The latter had been fastest with a minute remaining in Q2 at the TT Circuit Assen, and looking like going even quicker again when he had a spill which opened the door for his compatriot. Sasaki, who is still far from full fitness after a nasty incident at Mugello back in May, then seized top spot with a 1:41.296. Suzuki – who would be declared fit after a check at the medical centre – will at least start from the middle of the front row due to the 1:41.362 he set on his first run. The form man in the Championship, Izan Guevara (GASGAS Aspar Team), joins them at the head of the field for lights out.

How the front of the field looks

Guevara had only been seventh-fastest before he punched out the 1:41.502 which got him as high as second-fastest inside the final two minutes of Q2, and it was then that Sasaki made his move to grab a second career pole position – can he turn it into the first Grand Prix win that he is still seeking? David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) claimed fourth courtesy of the 1:41.664 which he set on his first run, while Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) moved himself up one spot to the middle of the second row by clocking a 1:41.765 with the chequered flag out, shuffling Jaume Masia back to sixth after the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider had set an early 1:41.811.

Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech3) was best of the Q1 graduates in seventh all-told, with Lorenzo Fellon (Sic58 Squadra Corse), Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PruestelGP), and Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) completing a top 10 covered by 0.768 seconds. John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) was classified 11th after crashing at Haarbocht (Turn 1) in the final two minutes of the session, while Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) came from Q1 to also make it onto Row 4 but will have to serve a Long Lap Penalty in Sunday’s race after crashing in a yellow flag zone in FP3.

Work to do for the World Championship leader

Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) will be hoping for something of a repeat of his Sachsenring heroics from a week ago, when he rode from 24th on the grid to seventh, after he qualified 17th at a cloudy Assen. World Championship leader Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Aspar Team) was the big surprise as he finished last in Q2, at 1.391 seconds off the pace, meaning he will start from 18th position.

Can Garcia protect his seven-point lead in the Championship or does Guevara overhaul his team-mate, and will Sasaki break his duck and achieve a Grand Prix victory? Warm Up is next on Sunday at 09:00 (GMT +2), then it’s lights out at the Cathedral of Speed at 11:00!

Moto3™ Q2 Top 10:
1. Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) – 1:41.296
2. Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) + 0.066
3. Izan Guevara (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.206
4. David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) + 0.368
5. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0.469
6. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.515
7. Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) + 0.699
8. Lorenzo Fellon (Sic58 Squadra Corse) + 0.718
9. Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PruestelGP) + 0.736
10. Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) + 0.768

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Fernandez leads the way after FP3

After a rain-affected Friday at Assen, the pace was up in the intermediate class on Saturday morning. Fernandez was already fastest when he improved further with around 15 minutes remaining, and that lap would turn out to be the very best of the session – a good showing at the circuit where he got his first Grand Prix win, in 2019, and a podium last year. Arenas booked his place in Q2 with an even earlier 1:37.180, while Bendsneyder claimed third thanks to a 1:37.226 during the final time attacks.

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Aleix Espargaro sets the pace in FP3 before crashing

The Aprilia rider hits back after a penalty, then hits the deck on Saturday morning at Assen

Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro has booked his place in MotoGP™ Q2 at the Motul TT Assen with the fastest lap of FP3, but it was hardly a trouble-free session for the Spaniard. Having been penalised after FP2, Espargaro needed a good performance to lift himself off the bottom of the pile, and would set a 1:32.164 to top the Saturday morning session at the TT Circuit Assen despite a late crash. World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo was only 0.041 seconds slower on his Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ entry, with Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins taking third.

Espargaro quickly gets himself out of trouble

Espargaro’s Friday had ended with the cancellation of his last run in FP2 as punishment for a technical breach, the effect of which was to put him to the very bottom of the timesheet. Fortunately for him, dry conditions greeted riders for FP3 and the Aprilia pilot banked a 1:33.428 on his second flying lap to go third-quickest on combined times. Espargaro and team-mate Maverick Viñales were riding in tandem, the latter going top with an early 1:32.960 before clocking a 1:32.911 at the quarter-hour mark.

Everyone turned up the wick for the second runs, Espargaro resetting the fastest lap to a 1:32.518, then Viñales a 1:32.487, and Espargaro again with a 1:32.164. Quartararo split them with a 1:32.205 with around eight minutes to go in the 45-minute session, before Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) jumped from 15th to third on a 1:32.440.

Mayhem in the time attacks

The final five minutes were full of drama, with red and orange sectors all over the timing screen, and yellow flags around much of the Assen circuit. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) had a slow spill at De Strubben (Turn 5) before Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) had a fast off at the Ruskenhoek (Turn 7), and Espargaro lost the front at Ossebroeken (Turn 3) inside the final two minutes – all three riders okay.

The wash-up was that Espargaro retained first position despite not improving on his final run, and Quartararo held onto second despite a 1:32.166 – just 0.002 seconds slower than the #41 Aprilia rider’s fastest lap – being crossed out due to one of the many yellow flags. Rins claimed third with a late 1:32.320 after Viñales had a 1:32.221 cancelled because of yellow flags as well. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) grabbed fourth with a 1:32.355 after the chequered flag, and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) claimed fifth on a 1:32.382.

Bagnaia would be classified sixth due to the lap time set on his penultimate run, Viñales got put back to seventh due to the lap cancellation, and Jorge Martin finished eighth on a 1:32.592. Martin’s Pramac team-mate Zarco still made it into Q2 in ninth position, with fellow Desmosedici rider Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) also earning a bye past Q1.

Who is going into Q1?

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) just missed out on the top 10, as did Di Giannantonio in 12th and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) in 13th, the latter at least picking himself up after a fast early crash at Ramshoek (Turn 15). Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) took 16th after spill just a handful of minutes into the session at Stekkenwal, and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) ended up 17th after losing the front at the high-speed Ruskenhoek with around a dozen minutes to go.

Riders and teams will now focus on tuning up for the race when FP4 gets underway on Saturday at 13:30 (GMT +2), before Q1 from 14:10 and Q2 from 14:35. Don’t miss it!

MotoGP™ Top 10:
1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – 1:32.164
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.041
3. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.156
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.191
5. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.218
6. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.276
7. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.323
8. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.428
9. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.562
10. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.714

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