Alvaro Bautista takes best grid slot of the season at Assen
Jorge Lorenzo struck first in qualifying for the Dutch TT, clocking a 1’33.600 on his first flying lap out of the garage but a succession of fast laps in an intense finale saw him drop to tenth place on the grid, despite finishing just four tenths shy of the best lap set by pole man Marc Márquez.
One of the closest sessions in recent times saw four riders qualify within less than a tenth and as many as eight riders covered by 0.3 seconds. Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi will accompany Márquez on the front row at Assen.
The Ángel Nieto Team and Álvaro Bautista enjoyed their best qualifying session of the season at the Dutch TT, with the Spaniard finishing twelfth fastest to secure a fourth row start for the race tomorrow.
Bautista passed directly to Q2 after finishing ninth on the combined free practice time-sheets, but crashed in FP4 and did not have the same bike available for Q2 as a result. However, a twelfth-place start means he won’t have as far to come through the pack as he did at Mugello or Barcelona, for instance, and he should be able to lap closer to the lead group from the opening laps.
12th Álvaro Bautista 1:34.015:
“It was a bittersweet day because this morning we worked on the tyres and in the end we managed to go straight through to Q2, which was a realistic objective for us, but in qualifying I didn’t feel as comfortable. The crash in FP4 was a shame because I had to take the other bike for qualifying. I am confident for the race though because we are usually strong on a Sunday in terms of our race pace so hopefully I can get a good start and stick the pace of the front guys.”