If there’s one track where we should know what’s going on, it’s Assen. The only ever-present in the GP calendar since we started in 1949. But as usual this year, conditions conspired to confuse more than a little. Sprinklings of rain today and the real threat of the weather getting serious tomorrow meant plans had to be abandoned and some time-attack settings thrown in to make sure you weren’t stranded and had to go through the first qualifying session.
So, we know that Yamaha tested the new chassis that they brought to the Barcelona test against the current one, but we don’t know whether it’s any better on a grippy track like it seemed to be on the ice rink of Catalunya.
As it is, works and satellite Yamahas are quick while no-one is really sure about the rest. Marc Marquez is third but a massive 0.6sec off Vinales’ best time of the day while Dani Pedrosa only just got in the top ten. There are three Ducatis in the top ten, with Dovizioso the fastest just behind Marquez and Karel Abraham came within an ace of making it four.
Not surprisingly, Jorge Lorenzo is not one of them. The ghosts of his 2015 collarbone-crunching crash still haunt him here and he wasn’t helped by an early crash on his team mate’s oil, spilled when a hose or junction failed.
So today’s times are likely to decide who goes directly in to Q2, and Jorge will have to do it the hard way.