until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Assen MotoGP practice: Bagnaia on top, fraught Friday for Martin

by Matt Beer
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Pecco Bagnaia's chances of hacking into Jorge Martin's 18-point MotoGP championship lead look good at the Dutch TT after an extremely strong Assen Friday for the reigning champion and a fraught afternoon for Martin.

Bagnaia had topped the Friday morning session - remarkably the first time in his MotoGP career that the double champion had led an opening practice - and followed it up with more of the same in the afternoon session that decided the automatic Q2 places, leading with a new track record 1m31.340s.

Martin had a low-key morning then was nearly half a second off Bagnaia's pace in fifth in the afternoon.

And he may yet face a penalty for going slowly on the racing line following a frightening late incident in which Jack Miller's KTM lost a wing having clipped the Pramac Ducati as he came upon it.

The Aprilias of Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro were second and fourth, sandwiching a great run from Gresini Ducati's Alex Marquez.

But Espargaro's session came to a painful end with a violent crash going into the final chicane in which he headbutted the screen at the front of his bike and then had a very heavy landing on his lower back in the gravel. He was taken away from the scene on a stretcher but initial medical checks at the track suggested he escaped with bruising.

Marc Maquez was two tenths down on his brother in sixth, followed by the only KTM in Q2 so far - that of Brad Binder, as Pedro Acosta ended a disappointing opening day in 15th.

Enea Bastianini made it straight to Q2 despite crashing his Ducati in the final minutes, something he'd looked like doing a few times earlier on but catching it on those occasions.

Raul Fernandez's year-old Trackhouse Aprilia and Martin's team-mate Franco Morbidelli complete the initial Q2 pack.

Fabio Quartararo only narrowly missed out though as Yamaha's latest engine made its debut and took him to 11th and team-mate Alex Rins to 14th.

They were split by the VR46 Ducatis of Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio, whose day was cursed by track-limits offences. One cost him the top spot in first practice and another left him in Q1.

Joan Mir - yet again - was the session's other crasher, as he and Repsol Honda team-mate Luca Marini brought up the tail of the field behind Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori and Tech3 struggler Augusto Fernandez.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks