2021 Assen MotoGP Qualifying Result: As If Reality TV Producers Wrote The Script

Just like rain did not bother the premier class qualifying session, it looked like no one would bother Fabio Quartararo at the top of the timesheets after the Frenchman broke the all time lap record only three laps into the session, with the first 1:31 time around the track. It seemed like rivals were left to fight for the crumbs from Fabio’s lunch but Maverick Viñales didn’t make a meal of it this time and promptly improved the record by another seven hundredths of a second, with a bonus save at turn 9. Try as he did, Quartararo could not answer his teammate and Viñales went from zero back to hero in the space of a week. Although the Ducatis seemed to struggle throughout the weekend, Pecco Bagnaia showed up when he needed to and after he escaped Q1, he went on to snatch the final spot on the front row.

The Italian’s late charge demoted Takaaki Nakagami to fourth, but the LCR man was still the lead Honda rider. Johann Zarco was the chosen target for anyone needing a tow in Q1 but the Frenchman’s snuck out at the last second and eventually secured fifth on the grid. Miguel Oliveira closes the second row for KTM, while the Suzukis, although quick in practice, could not really replicate that in qualifying. Alex Rins might have hoped for better than seventh, had he not crashed at turn 8 on his final flying lap and having to start from the third row of the grid, ahead of Jack Miller, whose eighth place doesn’t really look as bad as it could have. Aleix Espargaro completes the third row of the grid, while Joan Mir won’t be too happy with tenth, sharing fourth row with a pretty anonymous duo of Pol Espargaro and Valentino Rossi.

Even though he missed out on Q2 by six hundredths of a second, Iker Lecuona scored his best qualifying of the season, with a little help from Marc Marquez, whose game plan didn’t pan out this time around and a late crash at turn 9 left him 20th on the grid. Starting from his worst qualifying position in MotoGP and still limping from his crash, the odds seem stacked against the SachsenKing but he will be hoping to follow the example that Viñales set today, not the Viñales of a week ago.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'31.814    
2 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'31.885 0.071 0.071
3 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'32.116 0.302 0.231
4 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'32.314 0.500 0.198
5 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'32.394 0.580 0.080
6 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'32.450 0.636 0.056
7 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'32.597 0.783 0.147
8 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'32.609 0.795 0.012
9 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'32.666 0.852 0.057
10 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'32.748 0.934 0.082
11 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'32.830 1.016 0.082
12 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'32.919 1.105 0.089
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'32.541    
Q2 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'32.657 0.116 0.116
13 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'32.724 0.183 0.067
14 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1'32.850 0.309 0.126
15 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'33.258 0.717 0.408
16 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'33.288 0.747 0.030
17 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'33.321 0.780 0.033
18 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 1'33.378 0.837 0.057
19 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'33.404 0.863 0.026
20 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'33.477 0.936 0.073
21 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'33.597 1.056 0.120
22 31 Garrett Gerloff Yamaha 1'33.739 1.198 0.142
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Perhaps Marquez doesn't intend to give that misbehaving traction control system another chance to hurt him. I can't say I would blame him if this is his mindset.

Honda needs to solve that issue and do it now, regardless of the financial cost.

Love the way he absolutely blindsided the followers in Q1 - take that, suckers!

Congrats to Mav on a stunning result, hope he can back it up tonight. And well done Taka!

This Q is a good watch. The three Ducs were exciting, hard work. Bike problem, dragging sparking hard parts, Zarco and Martin didn't make it look easy. 

Lap record head to head battle for the ballistic Blues. 

Marc said they had a better change on electronics from yesterday. But he crashed out of Q on a L hander this time. 

Surprises from Taka and Binder. Gerloff not exceeding expectation, but meeting them staying with the tight strong pace we have these days.

Silliness has just been turned way up. Trying to find good info, but Raul Fernandez may be getting a buyout attempt by Yamaha. Somewhere Maverick is being linked to "leaving for Aprilia."

In Amy's interview w Herve I watched closely both his words and face/eyes/body language. He gave no indication that either have any job security although they are "nice guys" trying hard. That the decision will be made  not on this race, but all the data they have from the longer term, and announced after Summer break. We may have 2 new kids.

Vinales has just shifted in tone. His open criticism of the longer term bike problem with rear traction. That no one knows what's going on, and after 6 races no solution is coming. Then after Q last weekend, directly stating that "I  not a Test rider - in the end there comes a time that as a rider you have to say that it seems like a lack of respect." "They said let him go out and collect data and work. I am not here to finish 23rd." There are some tea leaves in there that support thinking the Blue Vinales partnership is ending. 

Maverick came to Yamaha in 2017 as a new Lorenzo. 5 yrs. In this era it is no longer one in which a rider can expect an extended stay in a top seat anywhere. We saw that from Blue with Vale. Marc is an exception, and with good reason. Unless a clear standout overdog, there are just way too many rocket kids coming up now. 

All of the Maverick to Aprilia stuff is in Spanish. Aprilia says they are in talks w several riders. It is possible. 

...and they are already lining up to give him the criticism therapy because he might have lied to the sacred followers of MotoGP. Not only has he not won enough but he also neglected their right to know everything.

I find his words in Germany hint strongly to a lack of support. It's a fair argument to say the focus should be on one side of the garage but if that is the case how can anyone blame the guy for going where he is wanted.

He also says he declined copying Quarty's setup as had been suggested. That his riding style is different and "I need to make my own bike." 

At a crossroads? Or are people reaching to far with it after a bad weekend in Germany? You could argue both. But there is more drama in the tea leaves if combined with the precise timing of silliness.

I got a feeling the copying of bikes was a poke at Yamaha...is it even possible for Maverick to have the same bike in detail ? It'll be an interesting race...and i hope a good one too. Maybe a dash of rain can give Rossi one last chance, would take much luck..but strange things happen sometimes.

Congratulations to Maverick Viñales! Forgot last weekend & moved on; to pole position. Hope he can keep his head together during the race. Fabio good again. What is the issue with the Yamaha? Good job Garett Gerloff, ride the bike, no pressure. GG31 only a 1/4 of a second behind the benchMarc! only a gnat's whisker slower than Brad Binder, motogp race winner.

Yamaha factory bikes the only 2 to get down to one minute thirty one seconds? is that correct?

Suzuki qualifying? Not so great. Alex Rins three quarters of a second slower than pole in 7th. M1R 10th 0.151 behind AR42. Leading the 3rd & 4th rows. Champion Joan Mir now 5th in this year's chip. 46 points off Fabulous. Oh Suzi I thought things were going to be great. Dissappointing! No sattelite team. M1R said he "would have plenty of opportunities to ride with number 1 on his bike". Maybe, but not with Suzuki perhaps.

Not so difficult to pass at Assen van Drenthe compared to Sachsenring. I expect an exciting first corner, action at the Strubben and all of lap one. Fingers crossed.

Re Suzuki. Rins had a crash nearing the end of Q too, not unlike his previous erring. Will he be turning the corner soon?

The Suzuki isn't far off. Seems that it needs a minor boost. Where is hard to discern, which is not a bad thing. It isn't flawed. Just staying still in a REALLY close and beautiful grid. A step in exploiting fresh softs for a hot lap is belated. Perhaps electronics and set up can go there! Or how about a bump in good old hor

sepower? Never hurts. (Edited ad nauseam "Jr Team" comment). Go Suzuki!!

Agreed re this weekend Ape. First corner last weekend though, holy crap! Watched 10 times! A.Espargaro may have gotten the holeshot, but DAMN if Marc didn't bloody drill a double inside pass that didn't exist. He lined it up great. Lots of good starters there. Some swerving, Quarty sticking his leg out to push someone off of him. Brilliant.

Viva Assen

It all fits though. Viñales stated recently in the DAZN interview that he did not want to make the same mistake again (Blusens Avintia, Suzuki?). If the rumor of the Yamaha split/Aprilia 2022 factory seat is true: His pace at Assen compared to the Sachsenring may be attributed more to his newfound sense of freedom than a difference in track surface. The grip he discovered may have been found in his mind. There is a saying that a fine line exists between a genius and a lunatic. Maybe Viñales contractually put his Yamaha demons to bed and was able to authentically express himself on two wheels to the fullest this weekend. Unfortunately, the old regime has a way of returning home to roost only wearing different masks. On the other hand, so the guy has an up and down character. So what? It’s his life. If he didn’t have the terrible lows, would he be able to reach the tremendous highs? Would he benefit from a sports psychologist, meditation, breathing exercises, etc.? Only he would discover the answer to that question were he to choose that path. I think he will win the race tomorrow if it’s dry. The dude’s on fire. And a Yamaha factory duel would be fantastic. And anyone else that has the gumption to join the party. The more the merrier. Bring it!


Is someone auditioning for a seat at Petronas next year? Go Gerloff!! Being from the US, I’d love to see an American in the top class. But rationally speaking, if I had to choose between Roberts, Beaubier, Dixon, Gerloff and Razgatlioglu for the Petronas seat, I’d choose Toprak.   

Good one Peter. I like Maverick, and do think he could benefit from a between the ears professional. He's not nuts, just willful and passionate. Mindfulness could help mercurial or agitation. Identifying what is noticeably experienced when he gets out of his groove, the ungrounded fervor. The "texture" of that thinking and feeling can and must be brought into awareness. More quickly, often, and easily. He may be throwing gasoline on a small brief fire, that must stop. It takes understanding and acceptance of something. It gets named. "The Struggling" or some such moniker. 

When noticed, there is a quick pat on your own back that you saw it (which is already half the work) and a single specific placement of focus. A fundamental point, like visceral anchor of body on bike. Or the feeling of front-rear balance of contact patches. Or if there is a noticed problem area of riding that occurs in the concern at hand, the felt goodness of that going correctly is attuned to more fully. That could be lots of things, from lines to right hand smoothness.