Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class in Assen:
Assen, The Netherlands
In the improved conditions presented on Saturday morning, riders were quick to set personal best times and flip Friday’s hierarchy, although it was still Alessandro Zaccone who took control of proceedings. The Italian ended practice over two tenths of a second ahead of rivals Eric Granado and Dominique Aegerter. Lukas Tulovic and Jordi Torres joined them in the top five, followed by Matteo Ferrari and the persistently impressive rookie Fermín Aldeguer, who was half a second slower than the leader. Yonny Hernandez, Hikari Okubo and Miquel Pons completed the top 10 positions.
In typical Moto2 fashion, riders were keen to attack the timesheets early on but could not quite touch Augusto Fernandez’s Friday benchmark until Raul Fernandez dethroned him with 25 minutes left of the session. Despite a small tumble at turn three soon after, the rookie rejoined the action and kept top spot to the end of the session. After the Sky Racing team tinkered a bit with his machine, Marco Bezzecchi made a late jump to second, two tenths off the leader and another tenth ahead of Jorge Navarro.
Blue skies were back over Assen after the rainy adventure on Friday afternoon and the premier class found their rhythm in the dry before attacking the top 10 once more. Improvements came quick and the hierarchy frequently changed throughout the session but, as usual, it all came down to the final handful of minutes. Friday leader Maverick Viñales might not have been particularly chatty off track but did his talking on it, leading the way once more for most of FP3. He was only briefly demoted by teammate Fabio Quartararo, the Yamaha duo one step ahead of their rivals.
After rain surprised the field on Friday afternoon, the lightweight class started Saturday on a dry track and with a mission to challenge the top 14 positions. Despite the improved conditions, improvements were slow on the combined timesheets and it meant that Tatsuki Suzuki remained the fastest rider overall with the time he set on Friday. However, it was Dennis Foggia who was fastest in the morning session, the Italian improving his top time early on and keeping his name at the top of FP3 throughout.
Eventful. That was the best way to describe the first day of practice at Assen. The riders got a chance to sample the new asphalt, and they also got a chance to sample typical Assen summer weather: cool and dry in the morning, sprinkles of rain in the afternoon, followed by a downpour harsh enough to soak the track and allow a few laps in full wet conditions. Not ideal for working on bike setup, especially if your name is Garrett Gerloff, and you have been drafted in to replace Franco Morbidelli, who spent the morning having surgery on his meniscus and ACL, and faces an 8-week period of rehab. That would mean a return after the two races in Austria. But more of Gerloff later.
The verdict on the new asphalt was unanimously positive. "The grip is fantastic," Jack Miller echoing the thoughts of almost everyone. "I mean, Moto3 was close to the lap record. We’re already going really fast, from the beginning this morning. The way the tires are working with the asphalt seems to be really good. The tires are not really dropping off. We were all doing our best lap times at the end of FP1 with the same tires, which generally doesn’t really happen."
As the forecast made clear from the beginning, the weather wasn’t going to give riders an easy weekend in Assen but rain poured down even quicker than expected, soaking the track by the time the intermediate class resumed action for the afternoon session. Given the conditions, there was no time to be found on the combined standings and the battle for the top 14 moves on to Saturday morning but there was still a wet FP2 to be claimed.
Maverick Viñales topped the second session of the day at Assen for the MotoGP class, adding the fastest time in the afternoon to his fastest time of the morning. Though a few riders improved their time in the first half of the session, rain - light at first, and then a proper downpour - ruined most riders' attempts to go faster, with the provisional top 10 remained unchanged from the morning.
Tatsuki Suzuki has topped the second session of free practice for the Moto3 class at Assen. Despite a big crash at De Bult, the Japanese rider ended the session as fastest, with a late sprinkling of rain halting any chance of other riders besting Suzuki's time.
Darryn Binder ended the session in second, less than a tenth off the time of Suzuki, while Dennis Foggia was third quickest, a third of a second slower than the South African. Andrea Migno ended the session in fourth, while Jaume Masia was fifth fastest.