Assen GP – Friday Qualifying Quotes 250cc & 125cc

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3rd Álvaro Bautista 1.40.210 (22 laps):
“I had a few problems with the front end in corner entry this afternoon, which I think is because we were running a used front tyre and a new rear. About halfway through this afternoon’s qualifying we started to make some progress with the bike and I began to enjoy myself. In the end it was a good session, with a good pace, so I hope I can keep riding like I want to tomorrow in both the warm-up and the race. We were really close to pole but the most important thing was to be on the front row and we’ve done that. I’d like to improve the bike a little more before the race tomorrow just to be on the safe side but I think the fight will be between the same people as Barcelona, with Aoyama and Barberá both looking good. This morning we tried a few things with the front-end set-up and went down the wrong route at one point, which is what led to the crash, but I’m not worried because we know what the problem was.”

9th Mike Di Meglio 1.41.072 (19 laps):
“I had two crashes this morning so it didn’t leave us much time to test anything. One of them was caused when I tried to dodge another rider and the other was when I braked too hard into turn six. Luckily it was nothing more than a scare and I was able to continue riding. My mechanics did a great job to put both bikes back together so that I could ride again in the morning and then in the afternoon. We had a few chassis issues that meant we couldn’t quite find the perfect set-up but I’m confident we can work it out in the warm-up. The main thing is to get the Aprilia turning better because I’m struggling with the direction changes.”

5th Aleix Espargaró 1.40.796 (21 laps):
“I’m really happy with how the weekend is going. It is still early days but the results have been very positive so far. I started out yesterday looking to give it my best shot and I’ve worked hard since then, clocking up a lot of laps and gathering my confidence on this bike. Little by little I’ve started to enjoy myself and I was able to ride aggressively today. I have recovered the spirit I had in the last six races of last season although I spent half a lap behind Marco this afternoon and I could see that I am still some way off the pace of the guys at the front – basically because I don’t have the same feel they do with the front. I’ll try to get a good start tomorrow, stick it out in the second group and see what happens. The team have really got behind me, they are helping me a lot and I’d love to be able to pay them back with a good result.”


2nd Julián Simón 1.45.441 (16 laps):
“I saw Cortese waiting for me on the penultimate lap in the chicane but there wasn’t much time left so I just had to go for it. I pushed hard but I couldn’t get away from him, so congratulations to him because it was a good lap. In generally I’m happy with today despite trying a tyre I didn’t like. We’ve also had a problem with the gearbox, I couldn’t get in and out of sixth well, but I think we’ll be competitive in any condition tomorrow. It will be interesting tomorrow because I think it could be a much closer race than usual, there are a lot of guys with a chance of running at the front. I’ll go out and give my best to try and get clear of the group so I don’t get involved in any fighting and risk a crash. My objective is to win but above all maintain my lead in the championship so I won’t be risking anything.”

5th Bradley Smith 1.45.712 (19 laps):
“It is typical at Assen to have riders hanging around looking for a tow but when you only have one qualifying session you have no option but to push as hard as you can for a good time even if somebody tags along. Anyway, I’m happy with the job we have done, my pace is good and I was able to push as hard as I wanted to. My Aprilia is working really well and I’ve felt comfortable all day. I’m fifth on the grid and we’ll have to wait and see what the weather does because the forecast is for rain. My pace in the dry is good, even on a used tyre, so I’m calm. If it is a dry race I’m sure we’ll see a group of seven or eight riders fighting for the win, so it is going to be a tough race. The most important thing will be to stay in the group and we’ll see what happens as the race progresses.”

9th Sergio Gadea 1.46.125 (19 laps):
“The session went well this morning, as did the afternoon, although we made a change to the gear ratio that cost us a bit of engine performance in T4, which is the section I like the most and where I usually make up the most time. I had to be really light on the brakes but I’m happy because our pace throughout the session was in the low 46s and I was able to set my qualifying lap on my own. We’re ninth on the grid but I’m sure I can run with the lead group tomorrow and it’s going to be a hard fight. This is a fast and fun circuit with a lot of overtaking points so it is to be expected that so many riders want a piece of the action at the front.”

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