– Second top six qualification position in succession for Oliveira
– 13th and highest grid slot so far for Iker Lecuona
– Binder misses out on possible Q2 slot after waved yellow flags in Q1
– Fourth Moto2™ Pole Position in five races for Raul Fernandez
– Moto3™ series leader Pedro Acosta declared unfit for the remainder of Saturday’s sessions after a crash and collision in FP3
The Motul TT Assen Grand Prix pulled MotoGP to a fourth event from the last five weeks and back onto the hallowed Dutch tarmac (resurfaced last year) that missed the world championship schedule in 2019, and for the first time since the inception of the FIM series in 1949. Despite a rainy Free Practice 2 on Friday afternoon, Assen remained dry throughout Saturday and Miguel Oliveira ensured direct Q2 qualification once again. The Portuguese was almost joined by teammate Brad Binder and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci who was able to set lap-times to remain stationed in the middle of the pack.
Binder, along with fellow ‘rookie’ to the TT Circuit Assen on a MotoGP machine, Iker Lecuona, fought throughout the short Q1 session but the South African was denied his fastest lap when Marc Marquez’s crash drew out the yellow flags and forced him to slow. Binder will enter the start grid in 21st position on Sunday with Petrucci in 18th. Lecuona pushed hard in Q1 and was only seven hundredths of a second from the final elimination berth for Q2. It was the Spaniard’s most competitive qualification of the season to-date.
Oliveira worked on his race set-up during FP4 and then bided his time to post his flying attempt during Q2. He broke the timing beam just 0.5 of a second from the eventual Pole Position. His 6th place was achieved with his penultimate lap in the session.
Race day begins with Moto3 at 11.00. Moto2 follows at 12.20 and then MotoGP at 14.00 CET.
Miguel Oliveira: “A tough qualifying. We have done a lot of work with the bike and tried a lot of ideas to help me go faster. We found a good compromise for agility and the grip but it’s not easy. We knew this would be a hard track for us but so far it has been quite positive. A second-row position is quite nice, and we have a long race ahead of us tomorrow. We’re looking forward to doing a good job.”
Iker Lecuona: “I felt quite strong, especially on my fastest lap. On the first run I made a mistake in sector one and without this I think I could have done a high 1:32 again. The bike was working very well, we have a lot of potential. I’m quite happy, thanks to the team as well, because we all have been working very well this weekend. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Danilo Petrucci:“Unfortunately, I touched the green out of the last corner on what was a really strong lap. A lap later, I missed the chequered flag and another try by just a second. Unluckily this means we have another P18 on the grid, which is not a great place to start. Anyway, we know that we have a good pace and will try to recover as many positions as possible tomorrow.”
Brad Binder: “A really difficult FP4 and qualifying, even if we did do a lot of laps and worked hard to find our way. I had an issue with the softer tire and some stability after a few laps but when we put in the harder tire the feeling was quite OK. In qualifying I couldn’t even complete one good lap and that’s why we’re 21st. It will have to be a hell of a fightback tomorrow.”
KTM GP Academy
The top KTM RC4 runner in Moto3 was CIP Green Power’s Kaito Toba who took 5th position in Q2 and will start the Grand Prix race from the middle of the second row. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia took 1st place in Q1 and then secured 10th in the final qualification run. The Spaniard was five spots ahead of Red Bull KTM Tech’3 Deniz Öncü. Championship leader Pedro Acosta was 18th but the teenager was declared unfit for the rest of the day after a crash and collision in the final chicane during FP3.
Red Bull KTM Ajo duo Raul Fernandez was a Q2 qualification master again in Moto2. The rookie Spaniard was just two tenths of a second away from teammate and championship pacesetter Remy Gardner giving the Ajo crew year another double front row appearance; the fourth from nine rounds.
Raul Fernandez: “I’m really happy to get another Pole Position. The last race was difficult but I’m back at the front this weekend. We were on top a lot throughout Free Practice and this is important for the confidence. I hope I can fight with Remy tomorrow, we’ll see because he is always very strong in the races. My goal is to go into the summer break with another podium.”
Northern Talent Cup
The 2021 Northern Talent Cup was back in action after circulating the Sachsenring in Germany last weekend. The first race at Assen took place after a very brief shower that created some damp and tricky sections of the track. At the flag it was Lorenz Luciano, 2nd in the current championship standings, who triumphed by fractions of a second.
Races: June 27th, 2021 – Moto3 11.00 CET | Moto2 12.20 CET| MotoGP 14.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Motul TT Assen
1. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Yamaha 1:31.814
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.071
3. Franceso Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +0.302
4. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) Honda +0.500
5. Johann Zarco (FRA) Ducati +0.580
6. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.636
13. Iker Lecuona (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:32.724
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:33.378
21. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:33.597
Results Qualifying Moto2 Motul TT Assen
1. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:36.356
2. Remy Gardner (AUS) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.186
3. Sam Lowes (GBR) +0.330
Results Qualifying Moto3 Motul TT Assen
1. Jeremy Alcoba (ESP) Honda 1:41.194
2. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN) Honda +0.212
3. Dennis Foggia (ITA) Honda +0.278
5. Kaito Toba (JPN) KTM +0.285
10. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.809
15. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.198
18. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo