It was a tale of two men atop the timesheets on Day 1 of the Motul TT Assen, with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) fastest on Friday morning from Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) before the duo switched around in the afternoon. Viñales’ fastest overall, however, was a margin further ahead – with the Spaniard 0.180 faster than the Frenchman. In the morning, Quartararo’s advantage was less than a tenth.
One big headline outside the timesheets on Day 1, however, was Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team), with the Spaniard declared unfit for the rest of the weekend. The five-time World Champion fractured a vertebra in his fast FP1 crash at Turn 7 and is now expected to head for Barcelona for further examination.
Back to the timesheets though and despite the Yamaha duo at the top, it wasn’t complete domination on Day 1 for the Iwata marque. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) was third overall and that despite suffering a fast crash in FP1, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso slotting into fourth. ‘DesmoDovi’ had a better latter session, improving from outside the top ten on Friday morning to set the initial pace in FP2 and eventually just beat Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) to fourth. Rins, who came second last season at Assen, completed a top five where the timesheets really started to tighten with less than a tenth splitting him from Dovizioso.
It got even closer just outside the top five. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) put in an impressive day and his best showing yet for Noale factory Aprilia as he took sixth, up from ending FP1 just outside the top ten. The Italian was 0.050 off Rins and 0.058 ahead of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), and although he did suffer a crash near the end of play, he was unhurt and happier with direction.
In P8 it was an infinitesimal 0.002 that separated rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) from Marquez after another top day for the 2017 Moto3™ World Champion, and he beat ten-time Assen winner Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by a tenth too. Rossi takes P9 overall after a late lunge up the timesheets, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) doing the same to take the final provisional place in Q2.
Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) took P11 and impressed to beat veteran teammate – and 2016 Assen winner – Jack Miller, who was 13th, with Karel Abraham (Reale Avintia Racing) impressing in P12 on Day 1.
The top ten after FP3 will go through to Q2, and that final chance to move up the timesheets starts at 9:55 (GMT+2) on Saturday morning. Will Quartararo strike back? Can the likes of Miller move forward? Find out then, before qualifying from 14:10 decides the grid for Round 8 at the awesome TT Circuit Assen.
1 – Maverick Viñales (SPA – Yamaha) 1’32.638
2 – Fabio Quartararo* (FRA – Yamaha) +0.180
3 – Danilo Petrucci (ITA – Ducati) +0.314
4 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA – Ducati) +0.585
5 – Alex Rins (SPA – Suzuki) +0.667
*Independent Team rider