More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Bagnaia beats Quartararo to pole to reignite the title fight at Assen
Four riders broke the old lap record at the Motul TT Assen, but it’s Bagnaia fastest of all on Saturday
Saturday, 25 June 2022
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) has a new all-time lap record to add to his growing collection. The number 63 shaved three tenths off the old in setting the new, and after an eventful Q2 he has key rival – and 2021 Assen winner – Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) alongside him on the grid for the Motul TT Assen. The first rider through the barrier of the old lap record, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), completes the front row.
It was Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and KTM teammate Brad Binder on to move through after the first runs, with some drama for Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) as he crawled to a halt at pit exit with an issue. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then had a tip off at Turn 5, but got back on track to continue.
With a minute and a half left on the clock, Brad Binder turned the tables on his teammate to sit top and by just 0.065. Mir couldn’t quite find enough and ended the session fourth, with Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) pipping the 2020 Champion to line up in P13.
Martin was on provisional pole after the first flurry, setting a new lap record ahead of Quartararo in second. But Bagnaia headed out and immediately took over by a couple of tenths, laying down the gauntlet once again. Quartararo closed in, but remained second.
Drama then hit for Martin as the number 89 slid out at Turn 5, a slow one but putting a dent in his session – and bring out yellow flags too, cancelling laps for Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). After a crash for Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) the same complication hit for a few more riders, and then a different one for Quartararo.
On his final attempt the Frenchman had an out-the-seat moment at Turn 5, just able to stay on board but the lap gone. That meant it would be Bagnaia on pole, with fellow challengers unable to improve either as a combination of yellow flags and the simple fact the Italian had scorched in a new lap record keeping him a nice tenth clear on pole.
Bagnaia vs Quartararo vs Martin, the latter within only 0.088 of the reigning Champion, makes for a tantalising front row for the Motul TT Assen.
Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) continued his impressive rookie speed with fourth place, under the lap record and having also gone straight through to Q2, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) looking for more from fifth. Miller lines up sixth, and there was no harm done in his slow off – but there was a little after, as the Ducati rider was slow on line, disturbed Viñales and was given a Long Lap for the race given it’s the second similar incident this season.
Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) had a more under the radar session but as ever showed some good form with seventh, ahead of Oliveira, Rins and Binder. All three will want more from the race but after a tough run of qualifying in 2022 so far for KTM – usually remedied on race day with some serious comebacks – into Q2 and in the top 10 is solid Saturday step.
Viñales, after some serious speed in Free Practice, will have to start 11th, and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) lines up in P12.
Mir and Bastianini will be two riders especially eager to charge through once the lights go out, with an especially interesting grid awaiting us on Sunday at the Motul TT Assen. Can Pecco start a comeback before the summer break? Will Quartararo put in another masterclass? Or can someone else take to the top step at the Cathedral? We’ll find out from 14:00 (GMT +2)!
Francesco Bagnaia: “I’m very happy because we did a great step in front from this morning. I didn’t feel good this morning so we did a step in front. From the start of FP4, I felt better, and to do the pole position in a track like this that for sure it’s not the best for our bike, so I’m very happy.”