|Tito Rabat -Also under the old record Photo:EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Moto3 and Moto2 do their qualifying on a Friday and racing on a Saturday this week, which can only mean one thing – the paddock has hit the Netherlands for the Dutch TT Grand Prix.
Practice held few clues as the man on the Moto3 pace every session was beaten in qualifying and Moto2 saw the lap record smashed when it looked untouchable. The weather holds more surprises in store with rain predicted for race day. Here’s how the riders line up.
Moto3 got the day off with a bang with all riders trying not to slow for fear of punishment, the track action was more hectic than ever.
Britain’s Danny Kent had been in charge in all the practice sessions, but it was to be Enea Bastianini who would place his Honda powered Gresini in first on the grid.
The Italian broke the lap record heading into the final five minutes, with everyone else failing to match his time as the clock ran down, his second pole after taking a career first at the last race in Catalunya.
Jorge Navarro had shown consistency heading into qualifying and turned his performance up a notch for second. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rookie was one place ahead of Karel Hanika, who clung to third with a time set on a strong early lap aboard his Red Bull KTM Ajo to complete the front row.
Leopard Racing rider Kent failed to find what he needed to push himself higher up the grid, but strong race pace saw him ready for Saturday in a confident fourth.
Fifth went to Husqvarna Factory Laglisse tow master Isaac Vinales, and sixth to Hanika’s Ajo team-mate Miguel Oliveira.
Fabio Quartararo seemed to find all of the late traffic, and lost several fast laps to leave him seventh on the second Estrella Galicia entry.
He is joined on row three by Sky Racing VR46 rider Romano Fenati and Kent’s team-mate at Leopard, Efren Vazquez. Despite a crash Francesco Bagnaia still managed to hold the final spot inside the top ten for Mapfre Team Mahindra.
John McPhee found some improvements but still lacked speed, leaving the Briton down in 23rd, just behind his team-mate Alexis Masbou in 21st.
Niccolo Antonelli crashed at the very start of the session and returned to the track in the final minutes for 19th.
Moto2 was all about the battle between Johann Zarco and Tito Rabat, taking it in turns to break the lap record, a record which looked safe until Rabat first lowered it by a huge chunk before Zarco took even more off as he expertly took the Assen curves.
It was to be that lap, just Zarco’s 14th set with sixteen minutes remaining,which would remain as the new record pole time for the Ajo Motorsport man as the session became static with little movement anywhere on the timesheets.
With Tito Rabat assured second for Eg 0,0 Marc VDS and with a huge number of laps under his belt in preparation for the Assen race, the only other rider with a time in the same second was Sam Lowes, doing all he could to be competitive on his Speed Up to complete the front row in third.
Demonstrating perfectly the lack of advancement was Simone Corsi who set a time good enough for fourth on his third lap, then fell off on his seventh after just a handful of minutes – the Athina Forward racing rider found himself still fourth with that same lap at the close of the session.
Also on row two are AGR Team’s Jonas Folger in fifth and improver Xavier Simeon, taking sixth with a rare late move up the board for Gresini.
Row three will feature top rookie Alex Rins in seventh for Paginas Amarillas HP 40 and Tom Luthi in eighth for Derendinger Racing Interwetten.
Lorenzo Baldassarri secured ninth for Forward, giving them two bikes inside the top ten, with that tenth spot going to Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider Taka Nakagami.
There were also late crashes for Alex Marquez and Ratthapark Wilairot.
Franco Morbidelli will line up at the back of the grid behind wild-card Jasper Iwema, after being demoted there for his part in Axel Pons’ Catalunya crash.
For the full Moto3 qualifying result, click here
For the full Moto2 qualifying result, click here.