Jorge Martin recovers from his massive FP2 crash to claim pole in Assen.
The Spaniard put in a spectacular 1:42.039 performance to put his Del Conca Gresini machine on a record-breaking 14th career pole in front of an enthusiastic Dutch crowd. This latest pole position breaks the record previously set by Alex Rins for most Moto3 pole positions. Martin will line up alongside Catalan GP winner Enea Bastianini alongside in second and Nicolo Bulega in third. Bulega finally had a change of fortune and put in an exceptional performance, silencing his critics and showing exactly why he’s part of the VR46 academy.
Aron Canet recovered after a late crash at turn five to grab fourth and head up the second row. Leopard Racing’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta will start in fifth, his best qualifying result of the 2018 season, with John McPhee alongside in sixth. McPhee showed exceptional pace, soaring into sixth from 18th during his final lap.
Championship contenders, Fabio Di Gianantonio and Marco Bezzecchi start from the third row in seventh and eighth respectively. Di Gianantonio was thankfully unharmed by his horrendous fast lowside crash at turn seven but his Del Conca Gresini machine sustained a lot of damage and he sat out of the remainder of FP3. Championship leader Bezzecchi made contact with the rear tyre of teammate Jakub Kornfeil, causing him to run off into the gravel. The Italian was able to keep his KTM machine upright and rejoin the track but he was unable to move any higher than his eighth position. Marcos Ramirez completes the third row in ninth.
CatalanGP podium finisher Gabriel Rodrigo qualified in a decent 10th position with Kornfeil in 11th and Adam Norrodin in 12th. After a crash with Kazuki Masaki early in the session after running wide at turn nine, Le Mans winner Albert Arenas qualified in 13th. Tony Arbolino had an eventful session as his bike ran out of fuel, causing him to push it back to the pits before the young Italian very nearly losing the bike at turn nine and running into the gravel. Arbolino was lucky to take 14th place ahead of Niccolò Antonelli in 15th.
Petronas Sprintra Racing’s Ayumu Sasaski grabbed 16th ahead of Livio Loi in 17th and Jerez winner Philipp Oettl in 18th. Rookie Dennis Foggia qualifies in 19th with Jaume Masia in 20th and Kaito Toba rounds out the seventh row in 21st.
Tatsuki Suzuki was unable to replicate his previous two qualifying performances and could only manage 22nd with Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Darryn Binder in 23rd. Andrea Migno had an abysmal qualifying and will start tomorrow’s race in 24th. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat finished the session in 25th with rookie Alonso Lopez in 26th and Japanese wildcard Ai Ogura in 27th.
Kuzuki Masaki’s KTM machine was reduced to a pile of carbon splinters after his crash with Arenas but, with some hard work from his RBA team, was able to get back out on track for once last lap to take 28th. Stefano Nepa starts in 29th. Dutch wild card Ryan Van De Lagemaat in 30th. 16-year-old Nepa was announced as John McPhee’s new teammate, replacing Makar Yurchenko, earlier in the week via the CIP Green Power team’s Facebook page with no explanation for the change.
Unfortunately, Kornfeil, Foggia, Toba and Sasaki have all received a 12 place grid penalty for ‘irresponsible riding’ after they were deemed to be riding too slowly in several sectors of the track. Norrodin always received a penalty for the same offence but, as he is a repeat offender, he will automatically start from 30th on the grid. The penalties will be a blessing for several riders on the grid who have qualified uncharacteristically far down.
Full results here.
Will Martin be able to bring home another win and put himself back into Championship contention or will Bezzecchi claw back the place? Or will Di Gianantonio finally get and hold on to that elusive first win?
Say your prayers, it’s the Cathedral of Speed.