Moto2/Moto3 Round-up: Debut pole for Oliveira and Mahindra, back to business for Espargaro

The damp Moto3 session kicked off the qualifying proceedings for the Assen TT weekend with a qualifying tie – Both Estrella Galicia’s Alex Marquez and Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira setting an identical time – 1m 43.588 – with Oliveira being handed his maiden pole, and also a first for his Mahindra team in Moto3, after having a faster second best lap.

                                                                Photo:Mahindra Racing
This edged title contender Maverick Vinales down to third for Team Calvo, leaving the Spanish teen visibly frustrated.
The second row is lead off by Red Bull Ajo rider Luis Salom. The Spaniard looked to be in charge of the session with some well time laps late on but then fell in the closing minutes, his only option remaining was to watch from the garage as he lost the top spot, which caused him to walk away.
Fifth is last season’s top rookie Alex Rins for the Estrella Galicia team, with Jonas Folger completing a very strong second row in sixth. Niklas Ajo held on to seventh for Avant Tecno despite having his last time cancelled for taking an illegal short cut.
Isaac Vinales sits in eighth for the Ongetta team, his FTR Honda the highest starting Honda on the grid. Red Bull’s Arthur Sissis and Go & Fun Gresini rider Niccolo Antonelli complete the top ten.
Jasper Iwema was the highest place home rider for the Assen GP in 11th for RW Racing.
Brits John McPhee and Danny Webb start 24th and 29th respectively.
In Moto2 Pol Espargaro took his third pole of the season despite having his fastest lap cancelled for cutting the track. The field remains wide open for Saturday’s race with the top three separated by just 0.188 seconds and the entire top 20 all within 1 second of the Tuenti HP 40 riders top time.
Also making the front row of the grid were Frenchman Johann Zarco for Ioda, the first of just two Suter machines inside the top ten and the championship leader, Marc VDS man Scott Redding.

Espargaro’s team-mate Tito Rabat starts fourth ahead of Belgian Xavier Simeon in fifth. Ant West scored an excellent sixth for QMMF Racing, making him the highest placed on the grid of the Speed Up riders, closely followed by Mattia Pasini in seventh for Forward racing.
Mika Kallio put his Marc VDS bike in eighth, while sole Motobi user Mike Di Meglio starts ninth for JiR. Technomag carXpert’s Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter completes the top ten.
Wild-card Gino Rea had a great qualifying on his FTR and starts 24th for just his second race of the year, outqualifying fellow Brits and championship regulars Danny Kent (25th for Tech3) and Kyle Smith (30thfor Avintia Blusens)
Moto3 Assen Qualifying Top Ten:
    1.Miguel Oliveira POR Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 1m 43.588
    2. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (KTM) 1m 43.588
    3. Maverick Viñales SPA Team Calvo (KTM) 1m 43.649
    4. Luis Salom SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 43.671
    5. Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (KTM) 1m 43.673
    6. Jonas Folger GER Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 (Kalex KTM) 1m 43.901
    7. Niklas Ajo FIN Avant Tecno (KTM) 1m 44.330
    8. Isaac Viñales SPA Ongetta-Centro Seta (FTR Honda) 1m 44.424
    9. Arthur Sissis AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) 1m 44.470
    10. Niccolò Antonelli ITA Go&Fun Gresini Moto3 (FTR Honda) 1m 44.769
Moto2 Assen Qualifying Top Ten:
    1.Pol Espargaro SPA Tuenti HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 38.734
    2. Johann Zarco FRA Came Iodaracing Project (Suter) 1m 38.833
    3. Scott Redding GBR Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 38.879
    4. Esteve Rabat SPA Tuenti HP 40 (Kalex) 1m 38.973
    5. Xavier Simeon BEL Desguaces La Torre Maptaq (Kalex) 1m 39.096
    6. Anthony West AUS QMMF Racing Team (Speed Up) 1m 39.272
    7. Mattia Pasini ITA NGM Mobile Racing (Speed Up) 1m 39.279
    8. Mika Kallio FIN Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 39.294
    9. Mike Di Meglio FRA JiR Moto2 (Motobi) 1m 39.297
    10. Dominique Aegerter SWI Technomag carXpert (Suter) 1m 39.300
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