On the back of a week where Formula 1 has been criticised for being boring, MotoGP proved why it is anything but boring, and frankly, should be the number one motorsport in the world. But that’s just my opinion…
This weekend’s MotoGP finds itself at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’, more commonly known as the Dutch GP at the TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands. Last year’s epic race saw an all-Spanish podium with eventual champion Marc Marquez on the top step. Will it be a familiar face or newcomer who will be bringing the heat this year? From the looks of qualifying Marquez has a lot of work to do if he wants to make it two in a row in Assen.
If you missed the qualifying sessions today, do yourself a favour and catch up, as in now, before reading any further. The Dutch GP qualifying did, in no way, disappoint and as the above- mentioned headline suggests there is a new threat to the MotoGP throne and it is none other than Petronas Yamaha SRT’s rookie Fabio Quartararo.
For the first time this year the reigning world champion and current championship leader – Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez – will not be starting from pole position and that’s thanks to the two Yamahas of Quartararo and Maverick Vinales, and Suzuki’s Alex Rins.
Not only did the Yamaha-rookie set the fastest lap, he also shattered MotoGP veteran Valentino Rossi’s lap record set in 2015. The 20-year-old’s impressive rookie year continues as he became the youngest back-to-back pole-sitter ever.
So far this weekend it has been the Yamahas with the best pace and seemingly the best bike at the TT Circuit Assen Circuit, with the exception of Rossi, who failed to reach Q2 and will be starting from the fifth row on the grid in P14. On his poor result, Rossi said he doesn’t feel comfortable with his YZR-M1, adding he simply wasn’t going fast enough in the fast parts of the track and that his team will have work to do ahead of the race tomorrow. Rossi wasn’t the only top rider who struggled. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso could only manage a result of P11 while his teammate and Mugello winner Danilo Petrucci will start from P7.
A name missing from the time sheets was Repsol Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo. The three-time world champion suffered a massive crash in the closing stages of FP1 on Friday which saw him fracture his vertebra ruling him out for the next two races.
If the qualifying session is anything to go by we’re in for a cracker at the Dutch GP tomorrow – will Marquez find himself in his favourite position – P1 (of course) – or will a new face be dethroning him? This is one race not to be missed.
TT Circuit Assen
The Dutch GP is held at the TT Circuit in Assen, Netherlands. The 4.5km circuit has 18 corners, six left and 12 to the right, with the longest straight being 487m long.
DutchGP Qualifying Results:
1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – 1:32.017
2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.140
3. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.441
4. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.714
5. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 1.068
6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 1.211
7. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) + 1.265
8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 1.278
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 1.297
10. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 1.306
11. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 1.675
12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 1.745