#DutchGP Assen, Saturday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

 In MotoGP, News


Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) is back on top! The Italian took the Tissot Sprint win at the Motul TT Assen in some style, outpacing title rival and reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) to gain some precious points back on his compatriot. Third place saw Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) come home for his first Sprint rostrum, but after a slightly controversial penalty for Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)…

It was a manic start and none more so than Binder as the South African shot to the inside line and was immediately up into third behind Bagnaia and Bezzecchi. The number 33 didn’t wait long to attack either, slicing through into second and left with a small gap to Pecco in the lead ahead of him. But neither did Bezzecchi waste any time, pouncing immediately once he was back on the back of the 33 and then setting off in pursuit of Bagnaia. That mission didn’t take long either. By 10 to go, he was through and putting the hammer down.

Bagnaia followed by Binder followed by Quartararo and then Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), up from 10th on the grid, was the group on the chase behind the number 72. Soon enough, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) joined the party too, with Luca Marini the big loser off the line as the Mooney VR46 Racing Team rider dropped from the front row to seventh once the shuffle calmed down.

As Bezzecchi eked out a tenth here and a hundredth there, the first key move was Aleix Espargaro getting past a slightly scrappy Martin, and as the laps ticked down Quartararo started to home in on Binder. The gap from Binder to Bagnaia ahead was around a second, but from Bagnaia to Bezzecchi? Now, it was coming down. With three to go, the reigning Champion took nearly four tenths out of the lead, just as Aleix Espargaro joined the party in the fight for third.

Bezzecchi, however, wasn’t going to let that happen. The hammer went down again and he was able to hold onto an impressive and convincing win, setting himself up for an assault on the top on Sunday.

Just behind him, onto the last lap it first looked as though Quartararo was going to make a move on Binder, but then the South African was the rider on the move. Homing in on Bagnaia in the fight for second, he was close but not quite close enough to make a final chicane dive… but the drama wasn’t over. After a track limits warning earlier in the Sprint, the number 33 was given a Long Lap just at the flag after heading onto the green one too many times, which becomes a three-second penalty. And that, therefore, makes it a pitch perfect Sprint for Bezzecchi, a solid second for Bagnaia, and the first podium on Saturday for Quartararo after the Frenchman only previously scored a single point over the first seven Sprints.

Aleix Espargaro is therefore fourth, ahead of Binder demoted to fifth by that penalty. Martin takes sixth for some damage limitation after his P10 in qualifying, but he’ll want a lot more on Sunday. Likewise Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), who took seventh from seventh on the grid.

Enea Bastianini (Ducato Lenovo Team) was next up as he made some serious progress when the lights went out despite a tough qualifying, and he was the protagonist of a moment at the final chicane with Marini as he attacked and the Mooney VR46 rider straight-lined the chicane. It wasn’t quite the gravel trip of 2015, but in 2023 it saw the number 10 get a time penalty that drops him to tenth behind Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™).


Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUp) rolled out the Alonshow on Saturday to denyJake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) pole by just 0.009s at the Motul TT Assen. Ai Ogura (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia) holds the all-time lap record after Practice 3, and the Japanese rider bagged P3 on the grid in an incredible return to form.

Dixon set the pace early on but a strong lap from Lopez in the final minutes denied the Brit the pole position in Assen. A crash from Aron Canet (Pons Wegwow Los40) brought out the yellow flags in sector one too, meaning the riders were unable to threaten Lopez’s time.

The poleman’s teammate Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tool SpeedUp) heads the 2nd row in P4, with Sam Lowes (Elf MarcVDS Racing) and Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) joining him. Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) will start from the front of row three ahead of Albert Arenas (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing), with Championship leader Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) rounding out the top 10.


David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) set a scintillating 1:34.181 to take pole position at the Motul TT Assen by 0.291s, sercuring his maiden pole in style. Joel Kelso(CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP) believes he’s found a big step forward with his CFMoto machine, which has put him in the middle of the front row ahead of Sunday’s race, with Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) rounding out the top 3. Championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) failed to deliver after a tough Q1 session saw the no. 96 end up dead last on the grid.

The Moto3™ contenders were given the perfect opportunity to capitalise on a struggling Holgado, and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) latched himself onto an on-form Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) to take the top spot after the first shots were fired. The 2nd run of laps came around and Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) was looking strong as he set the fastest lap of the weekend so far to snatch the top spot from Öncü. The times continued to tumble as Muñoz pulled out the lap of his life to smash the lap record and deny the field of the top spot, with Masia then crashing out half lap later too, rider ok.

After Kelso and Rossi sliced up, Sasaki was bumped down to P4 and will front row 2 ahead of Öncü and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team). Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took P7 ahead of Masia who despite topping practice, only had enough for row three. Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) took the final spot on the third row, with Romano Fenati (Rivacold Snipers Team) rounding out the top 10.


Source: motogp.com


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