The Italian has become the 13th different pole sitter across the past 13 Grand Prix at the TT Circuit Assen
History was made at the Motul TT Assen as Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) smashed the lap record with a stunning 1:34.472, to lead his Championship rival Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) on the front row. Bezzecchi will be looking to reignite his Championship campaign, with Bagnaia eager to defend his lead. It’s an all-Italian front row in Assen as the polesitter’s teammate Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) snatched 3rd place on the grid too, just denying Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™).
“This place is fantastic!” – Front row reaction
Heavy hitters set for battle in Q1
Tensions were high ahead of Q1 in Assen with a plethora of big hitters ready to battle for a Q2 spot. Out of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Johan Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team ), and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), only 2 could go through to join the top 10.
Zarco won the first battle after the first run of flying laps came in at the Assen circuit. Miguel Oliveira was hot on his tail joining the Frenchman in the top two. The riders then went back to the pits and it was now or never to secure Q2 promotion.
Fabio Di Giannantionio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) jumped into the top two on the second stint but was bumped back down by Miguel Oliveira.
Meanwhile, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was tagged to the back of Bastianini, looking for a tow, but it didn’t pay off. First time round Bastianini pulled out of his flying lap after a mistake in the first sector, pulling off the racing line to allow riders through. Marquez was set on following the Italian however, and as Bastianini dropped anchor, Marquez slowed up too, and then the two collided as the Repsol Honda hit the back of the Ducati. The number 93 was out, and Bastianini wasn’t going to have time for another lap either.
WATCH: Marc Marquez crashes after contact with Bastianini
Despite efforts from all the field, the top two, therefore, remained untouched as it was Zarco and Oliveira who went through.
The tables are turning. Again!
All eyes were on the top three in the Championship as Bagnaia, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), and Bezzecchi were set to battle it out for pole. Or were they?
Bezzechi’s dominant display in practice sent a message to his Championship rivals, and Martin had a disastrous start to his Q2 session as the Spaniard crashed out at Turn 5 during his first stint. With no time set, the Sachsenring victor was forced to rely on his 2nd stint as he headed back to the box.
To add salt to the wounds for Martin, his Championship rivals flew to the top of the timesheets whilst the Spaniard watched on. Bezzecchi drew first blood to take provisional pole after the first shots were fired. Bagnaia was hot on his tail with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) sitting inside the top 3.
Quartararo then grabbed the paddock’s attention as the riders barrelled into their 2nd stint of flying laps. The Frenchman put in a strong final sector and jumped up to P1 to kick off the 2nd rush of fast laps. However, Bezzecchi was on a flyer and smashed the all-time lap record to break the hearts of the Yamaha camp.
Bagnaia’s best effort came soon after with Marini hot on his tail, but no one could better the time set by Bezzecchi as the Champion fell just short and slotted himself into P2. Marini was into the top three as well, but then went down shortly after and ended his session in the gravel trap.
With yellow flags out and thereafter no improvements from the field, the Italian was sat safely on course for a front-row finish.
This left Bezzecchi sat in P1 with just a 0.061s gap to Bagnaia, taking a history-making pole position to become the 13th pole sitter over the past 13 Grands Prix at the Assen circuit.
The 2021 World Champion looks in fine fettle at the Assen course after a strong practice saw the Frenchman return to the Q2 club. Quartararo snatched provisional pole midway through the session but was knocked down to P4 by the top 3. Still, he enjoyed his best qualifying performance of the year with the fast-flowing Assen circuit suiting his smooth, inch-perfect riding style. Could Assen be one of Quartararo’s best opportunities to begin a comeback?
With the Frenchman heading the 2nd row, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) are set to join him after bagging 5th and 6th. Binder will be one to watch as the lights go out, sat perfectly in the middle of row two onboard the fast-starting KTM.
A mountain to climb for Martin
Whilst Viñales, Zarco, and Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) are set to make up row three, Martin finds himself with a big gap to title rivals on the front row. After his Turn 5 crash, the best the Spaniard could muster was 0.698s shy of pole position which him in P10 on the front of row 4.
Oliveira took P11 in Q2, and then there’s Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). The Aussie will want a lot more when the lights go out. The action has only just begun at the Motul TT Assen as points are now up for grabs in MotoGP™.
Make sure to tune in as the story unfolds for the Tissot Sprint at 15:00 local time (GMT +2)! unfolds for the Tissot Sprint at 15:00 local time (GMT +2)!
Motul TT Assen: MotoGP™ Q2