Doubling down: Quartararo becomes the youngest ever to take back-to-back premier class poles
The rookie breaks another record or two as he puts in the fastest ever lap of the TT Circuit Assen
‘Fast Fabio’ is an easy moniker to bestow, but it’s much harder to live up to. And yet, rookie Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) just won’t stop breaking records. At the Motul TT Assen the Frenchman put in the fastest ever lap of the track in qualifying to take his third pole position overall, and in doing that he also becomes the youngest ever rider to take back-to-back poles in the premier class. 0.140 is his advantage over Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as the pattern of the two taking it in turns at the top continued, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) taking third as he blasted from Q1 to the front row.
Before pole was decided, it was that Q1 that would prove crucial for one big name: Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). The ‘Doctor”s difficult day at the office began earlier in FP3 as his lap that would have seen him move through to Q2 was cancelled for exceeding track limits, and that left him fighting it out in Q1. In that Q1, he eventually finished fourth and will therefore start from P14, with Rins and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) the two men moving through.
Rins held the advantage first as the Suzuki man started Q2 on provisional pole, but on the second runs Viñales had something to say about it. The number 12 machine put in a stunning lap with a few minutes left on the clock to cut a few tenths off Rins’ best effort, and he was the man with the target on his back as Quartararo began his assault. But then, Quartararo began his assault.
Keeping it together to perfection and able to pull out nearly a tenth and a half by the time he crossed the line, the Frenchman made some more history – and celebrated so hard, it made his airbag go off in his suit!
Behind that little slice of history, there’s one habitual front row starter missing from the top three: Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). The reigning Champion starts fourth and misses out on a place in the fastest trio for the first time this season, and he’ll be looking to slice through early off the line. Alongside him, rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) put in an impressive effort to take a best-yet fifth, just into the 1:33s, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) completing the second row.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team), third on Friday, is the top Ducati in qualifying and heads up an incredibly tight third row, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in P8 and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) locking it out in ninth. The three men are covered by just 0.032.
2016 Assen winner Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) completes the top ten and he was also just hundredths adrift, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) a few further tenths off the Australian in P11. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the final man in Q2 in P12, not far off the Italian ahead of him.
Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) starts just ahead of Rossi, with the number 46 facing down a few of his VR46 Riders Academy proteges in his mission to move forward on Sunday. He’s won ten times at Assen, and he is the Sunday miracle maker. Can he get in the fight at the front?
The front row will all be gunning to be first into Turn 1, and each of them will be aiming squarely for the top step. Marquez will be a threat as always, Dovizioso will need to replicate his stunning starts…and Rossi will be on the hunt. Last year’s Dutch TT was one of the spectacles of the season, don’t miss the rerun in Round 8 with MotoGP™ lights out at 14:00 local time on Sunday (GMT+2).
Qualification for the Motul TT Assen saw Red Bull KTM take 12th and 18th positions on the grid at the famous circuit for the eighth round of nineteen in 2019 MotoGP. Pol Espargaro grappled with a painful right hand to set a lap-time 1.7 from the Pole Position effort, while Johann Zarco was seven places behind and just several tenths of a second adrift.
Fantastic summer conditions greeted the second and critical day of action at the Motul TT Assen for the oldest and one of the most prestigious Grands Prix on the calendar. The grandstands were already busy for the 71st running of the Dutch round and across a fast track that was bumpy in key spots but also offered considerable grip.
Pol Espargaro came to Assen struggling with a painful right hand as a consequence of his crash in the IRTA test directly after the previous race in Barcelona. The Spaniard had difficulty while turning and braking into certain corners but still persevered to make the cut in Q1 with his last (and quickest) effort of the weekend so far. Pol then tried to make inroads in the top ten with three attempts but finally rested his hand and accepted 12th after the fifteen-minute chrono.
Johann Zarco took profit of the work made in the last test in Catalunya to further develop his style and feeling with his racebike. The Frenchman dropped his fastest lap by 1.4 seconds between FP1 and FP2 and set his best time of the weekend in Q1 today but a late, slow speed fall in the session ended any more potential improvement.
Next door in the Red Bull KTM Tech3 pitbox, Miguel Oliveira was marginally faster than Zarco and will roll into 17th place as Hafizh Syahrin was the third of the KTM group in 19th.
Pol Espargaro: “For sure I am not riding as I want or I wish but it is what I have right now. It is better than in Barcelona where I could not move two fingers or my wrist up or down. We expect the race tomorrow to be really hot and very tricky for everyone. The whole grid might slow the rhythm and I will feel a bit more comfortable. Let’s see what lap-time I can hold.”
Johann Zarco: “Apart from FP3 we made improvements and went quicker in each session. I had a good solution that gave me a great feeling in FP2 and we were hopeful for Saturday but we reached a limit and couldn’t go any faster. A hard Saturday. In the top fifteen would be my first satisfaction tomorrow and to have a constant race. 26 laps will be long but I will be focussed on it and see if the others are struggling more than me with the used tyre.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I think we had a decent qualifying today. In the last run I felt I had a bit more potential to improve the lap time. Finally the sixth row on the grid is not so bad overall. We really want to finish in the points again so starting already close to these positions is an important step. I’m confident for tomorrow.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “I felt quite well and overall the qualifying times were really tight. For sure it will be interesting for tomorrow’s race. I try to make a good start, which is very important and of course give my best to stay on the bike. It should be a bit colder on Sunday, so I hope we did the right choice regarding the tyre. After two DNF’s, I really just wish to finish the race and come back with a smile.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder set the fastest lap after Free Practice 1 & 2 on Friday. The South African was part of a typically tight and tense Qualification period today and went through Q1 to seal 2nd on the grid, just a tenth of a second from Pole Position. Jorge Martin was 14th. In Moto3 SKY Racing Team VR46’s Celestino Vietti took his KTM to 5th position while Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Can Öncü was 17th for one of the rookie’s higher qualification rankings of the season so far.
Races: June 30, 2019 – Moto3 11.00 | Moto2 12.20 | MotoGP 14.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP TT Circuit Assen 2019
1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha 1:32.017
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +0.140
3. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki + 0.441
4. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda +0.714
5. Joan Mir (ESP), Suzuki +1.068
12. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +1.297
17. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 1:33.706
18. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM 1:33.776
19. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 1:33.869
Cal Crutchlow got the best out of his RC213V to claim a spot on the second row of the grid for Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix. Having secured an automatic place in Q2 at a sun-drenched Assen, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider battled hard to finish as the second best Honda in qualifying and will now look to take advantage in tomorrow’s race.
Having worked tirelessly on his set-up overnight, the Briton did enough to progress to Q2 as he posted the ninth fastest lap in a highly-competitive FP3 session. He then produced an excellent late surge in qualifying to shoot up the order and, after team-mate Takaaki Nakagami’s demotion, will now begin Sunday’s showpiece in sixth position.
Cal Crutchlow – 6th
(1’33.228 – lap 3 of 8)
“I qualified sixth, but I didn’t really have the pace for sixth, it was just lucky that nobody had the pace to get past me on the second run. We’re working hard, but the reality is we’re probably about the tenth quickest guy, but last year it was a ten-man battle at the front at one point so we’ll have to try and make some improvements in the morning. I didn’t feel much better on the bike today even though we tried more or less everything as always, from my point of view it’s clear where we’re losing time and we are working on it. We’re trying our best and I’m pleased to be on the second row”.
MOTOGP QUALIFYING AT ASSEN
FIFTH ROW FOR ALEIX AND SEVENTH FOR ANDREA IN THE GP OF HOLLAND
Tomorrow, Aleix Espargaró will start from the fifth row with the fifteenth best time, whereas Andrea Iannone will have to try to make up positions, starting from the seventh row.
A brave Aleix Espargaró continued to improve and, despite the two fractures to his left leg, he battled to go through into the top twelve. In Q1, a high traffic situation on the track slowed him down on his flying lap, keeping him from launching an assault to go through to Q2. He finished fifteenth with a time of 1’33.547 and tomorrow he’ll start from the fifth row.
Andrea Iannone, after finishing the first day in sixth place, improved his times in FP3 this morning, lapping at 1’33.205 and came close to going through to Q2, missing it by just 137 thousandths. However, partly because of the high heat in the early afternoon, he lost that good feeling with his RS-GP in the decisive moment, lapping with higher times in qualifying and finishing twentieth (at 1’33.960) which places him on the seventh row.
“I must say that the situation with my leg has improved a lot compared to yesterday. I had a pain relief infiltration treatment for the first time and the pain decreased, but there is still poor mobility that limits me, especially in the direction changes. This circuit is not ideal in these conditions. You have to use your body a lot and I struggle when I have to push on the footpegs. In any case, I think that our pace is good. There are three very fast riders, but the rest of the group is rather compact. It could be a fun race.”
“Yesterday we started from a good base. I am able to push well and straight away, but with the increase in temperatures, things got worse for us. The bike is very twitchy. I struggle in both braking and acceleration. There is a grip problem in general that will be complicated to manage tomorrow over 26 laps in the race.”
Danilo Petrucci, 7th in qualifying practice at Assen, will start the Dutch GP from third row. Eleventh place on the grid and fourth row for Andrea Dovizioso
The Ducati Team resumed action today at the Assen TT Circuit (Netherlands), home of the eighth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, for the Dutch Grand Prix qualifiers. Despite the strong start in yesterday’s sessions and the good pace shown in race configuration during today’s free-practice, the radical change of weather conditions – with 30 degrees in the atmosphere and more than 50 on the tarmac – hindered the flying-lap performance of both Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso, who will start tomorrow’s race in seventh and eleventh position respectively.
Due to lower grip levels caused by the rising temperatures, Petrucci posted a personal best of 1:33.282 and will open third row on the grid tomorrow. Dovizioso clocked a 1:33.692 and will start from fourth row.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1:33.282 (7th)
“I tried to push as hard as I could, taking also some big risks, but the higher temperatures troubled us a bit, as both the grip and the overall stability diminished. Undoubtedly we expected to be able to do better. It’s a pity, because this morning in FP3 I felt so comfortable that I told the team I had the best bike I’ve ever ridden here at Assen, and I posted the provisional lap record. To be honest, it has also been a bit chaotic out there in Q2 because all riders were sort of guarding one another closely. Tomorrow it shouldn’t be as hot, or at least I hope so: we’ll analyze the data to make sure we can express our full potential during the race.”
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1:33.692 (11th)
“It’s been a bit of a strange day, with really high temperatures. After starting off on the right foot in free practice, unfortunately we couldn’t be as competitive during qualifying. It’s a shame because starting from fourth row complicates our plans a bit, but I wasn’t able to complete a ‘clean’ lap. We’re more competitive in terms of pace, we still have to improve but I believe we can ride a solid race. A lot will depend on what weather conditions we’ll find tomorrow. At any rate, we won’t give up and we’ll try to be fast in any condition.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP TO START CATHEDRAL CHALLENGE FROM 1ST AND 5TH ROW
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales gave a strong performance today at a hot TT Assen Circuit and ultimately secured 2nd place on the grid for tomorrow’s Motul TT Assen race. Team-mate Valentino Rossi had a more difficult time of it in the Netherlands today. Taking part in the Q1 session, he was unable to secure a spot for Q2 and qualified in 14th place.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales continued the positive momentum he had on Day 1 at the TT Circuit Assen, following it up with a strong Q2 session. He put in some blistering laps, setting the second fastest time. Valentino Rossi was unable to ride the hot lap he had in mind. He missed out on a Q2 spot and will start tomorrow’s race from the fifth row on the grid.
Viñales showed great pace all day, and he wasn‘t shy to push in Q2. He was the last rider to hit the track, to ensure himself of some clear space and used it to his advantage. His first lap put him in fourth place, but he was just getting warmed up in the bright Dutch sunshine. He was briefly pushed back to fifth, but replied by clocking the provisional third fastest time and entered the garage with over seven minutes remaining.
This time the Spaniard changed tactics. A quick minute later he dashed out of pit lane to be the first rider to start his final pole position effort. He was putting on his A-game, setting a 1‘32.157s to take pole, with a 0.304s advantage. However, the fight wasn‘t over. A charging Fabio Quartararo spoiled Viñales‘ plans. It was mainly between the two Yamaha men to take the honours, but the number-12 rider was unable to improve on his best lap on the next two attempts and finished the session in second place, 0.140s from first.
It was a disappointing qualifying day for Rossi. He was originally set for a place in Q2, but after the chequered flag came out in FP3, his hot lap was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. As a consequence, he had to take part in Q1.
The Doctor opted for letting most of the rider field exit pit lane ahead of him, before starting his shoot-out. His first lap put him in provisional third place, but the pace was heating up. Unable to improve on his next try (which was also cancelled), he returned to the pits to make some changes whilst lying in fifth place.
With three and a half minutes left, he started his second run on fresh tyres. He put in a 1‘33.336s, briefly moving up to third, and only just missed out on a top-2 result, but later also this time was annulled. He had one more lap left and, though losing some momentum in S2, ended the session in fourth place, with a 1‘33.466, 0,756s from first. He will start tomorrow‘s race from P14, on the fifth row of the grid.
“Starting from this morning, we had mixed results in the garage. On the bright side, Maverick’s speed is impressive. He featured at the top of the timesheets for almost every session this weekend, and it’s not just his one-lap speed that’s strong, he also has a competitive pace. His first-row start gives him a good chance to be a contender at the front in tomorrow’s race, and we think we still have some room for improvement in sector 3. Valentino was originally also lined-up to take part in Q2, but exceeding track limits in FP3 cost him dearly. He had to take part in Q1 and, to make matter worse, didn‘t have a good feeling on his first time attack. The second run was better, but it wasn’t enough to get him through to Q2. He will have to start from more towards the back than we had anticipated, but Assen is known for its multi-rider battles at the front, so the aim for him is to have a good start and opening laps tomorrow.”
“I’m really satisfied. We worked really hard throughout the whole weekend, especially in FP3, when we worked more for the race than focusing on one lap, so this means we have a good set-up. It’s important for tomorrow to have a ‘normal’ and clean race, so I can push from the first lap until the end. I have nothing to lose, so I’ll be pushing 110%. It’s also very important to be consistent and precise on the track, so you don’t miss any corners. I will try to be at my best level tomorrow and get out in front, because it’s important for me to ride my own lines. I’m going to start from the front row and fight hard.”
“It’s a great shame, because this morning I wasn’t so bad. I set a very good time on my last lap to get directly into Q2, which is always crucial. But unfortunately I touched the green exit on the last chicane and they cancelled the lap, so I had to go through Q1. I was still quite optimistic, because I was quite strong this morning, but with the higher temperatures I had more problems and less grip. Unfortunately, I was slower, so it was not enough to get into Q2.”
TAKA ON THE THIRD ROW IN ASSEN
PRESS RELEASE: 29 June 2019| Assen GP Qualifying
Takaaki Nakagami will start Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after an impressive performance at a scorching Assen on Saturday. Having finished Friday down in 16th position, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider made huge strides and demonstrated that he should be able to battle towards the front of the field tomorrow.
Needing to find plenty of improvement to secure an automatic spot in Q2, the Japanese star put in a superb display in the morning’s FP3 as he went fourth fastest, just behind Honda colleague Marc Marquez. He then posted the sixth quickest lap in qualifying but was subsequently demoted two places for cutting the track. Despite that disappointment, Taka believes he’s in good shape ahead of Sunday’s race.
Race ready Marquez secures fourth on the grid
Marc Marquez saves another incredible moment on his way to head the second row of the grid for Sunday’s Dutch GP.
Saturday’s action at ‘The Cathedral’ started in typically exciting fashion as the MotoGP World Championship fought for the top ten places in Free Practice 3. A late charge moved reigning champion Marc Marquez up to third in the session with a 1’32.688 and granted him direct passage into Q2.
Setting a 1’32.731 around the 4.5km TT Circuit Assen, Marquez was able to secure fourth as track temperature reached 49°C and the all time lap record was obliterated. Marquez’s penultimate flying lap was upset by a massive moment at Turn 1, the Repsol Honda Team rider performing one of his trademark saves to remain upright.
This is the first time Marquez has not started on the front row of the grid for a MotoGP race in 2019. Having worked with Sunday’s race in mind all weekend, Marquez is confident in his ability to fight his way forward.
Marc Marquez will line up as the lone representative for the Repsol Honda Team on Sunday for the 26-lap MotoGP race after Jorge Lorenzo was declared unfit after his fall in FP1.
“I’m happy with the race pace and we knew before the Qualifying that it would be tough as there is more competition than normal. It looks like in the morning it is a little tricky but then in the afternoon when the conditions get warmer we are there. I think it’s going to be a very close race tomorrow and there are four or five of us with good pace. Normally it’s a circuit where we struggle, but in Mugello normally we struggle and we got second and in Montmelo we struggled and won.”
BEST 2019 QUALIFYING FOR SUZUKI IN 3RD AND 5TH PLACES
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 29.
Alex Rins: 3rd – 1:32.458
Joan Mir: 5th – 1:33.085
• Alex Rins fights through Q1 to take front row.
• Joan Mir takes best ever qualifying position with 5th.
• Season best grid slots for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.
A much brighter morning FP3 session at Assen circuit saw everyone trying to improve their lap times, something which didn’t actually happen until towards the end of the session. Alex Rins and Joan Mir quickly found themselves in the ‘knock out zone’ and pushed into Q1 despite setting strong lap times. Joan initially finished 11th, but when Rossi had a lap cancelled he was promoted back into the Top 10. Alex completed the session 11th.
With the pace and the track both hotting up in FP4, Alex and Joan set about perfecting their settings for qualifying, they closed the session in 3rd and 6th respectively.
Alex put together an excellent Q1 session, topping the session on his first flying lap and scarcely looking back. He continued to improve, bringing his time down to an impressive 1:32.710, topping the session, and graduating to Q2.
The Team SUZUKI ECSTAR pair were ready to attack in final qualifying, both staying close to the top of the time sheet throughout the 15-minute session. Feeling comfortable and quick, Alex took a front row with 3rd, while Joan achieved his best qualifying so far with 5th place.
These second and third row starts also mark the best qualifying for the team this season.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“It’s been the best Saturday of the season. Alex did an incredible recovery, coming through Q1 and then getting on the front row. Joan was brilliant too, he went directly into Q2 and then managed to qualify in 5th. Having both riders in the Top 5 gives us a good start for tomorrow. They both have strong pace so let’s see how the race develops. Many thanks to all the team for the hard work.”
“Coming from Q1 was difficult, I had to give my absolute all to get into Q2. I feel quite strong, especially as I was using a used rear tyre and still set a fast lap. Tomorrow will be a tough race for sure, there will be a lot of riders close together I think, but I’m starting in a good position – on the front row. We’ve done a lot of good work so far this weekend and I’m ready to fight for a win.”
“I’m happy about today’s qualifying, the team and I have worked really well during the weekend and I’ve been getting faster and closer to the top guys. I made some mistakes today so I feel my lap time could have actually been better. This is my first time starting on the second row, so I’m really pleased about that; thanks to the team.”
GP of the Netherlands – Qualifying Classification:
1. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’32.017
2. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’32.157 0.140 / 0.140
3. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’32.458 0.441 / 0.301
4. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1’32.731 0.714 / 0.273
5. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’33.085 1.068 / 0.354
6. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 1’33.228 1.211 / 0.143
7. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati Team 1’33.282 1.265 / 0.054
8. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1’33.295 1.278 / 0.013
9. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1’33.314 1.297 / 0.019
10. Jack MILLER Pramac Racing 1’33.323 1.306 / 0.009
11. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 1’33.692 1.675 / 0.369
12. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’33.762 1.745 / 0.070
13. Francesco BAGNAIA Pramac Racing 1’33.221 Q1
14. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1’33.466 Q1
15. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’33.547 Q1
16. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing 1’33.583 Q1
17. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1’33.706 Q1
18. Johann ZARCO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’33.776 Q1
19. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1’33.869 Q1
20. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’33.960 Q1
21. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing 1’34.580 Q1