Bouncing back: Viñales quickest on a rain-affected Friday

by | Jun 25, 2021 | Aprilia, Honda, KTM, motoGP News, Suzuki, Yamaha

Bouncing back: Viñales quickest on a rain-affected Friday

The Spaniard tops FP1 and FP2 at Assen as rain falls in the afternoon; Sachsenring Marc Marquez suffers huge highside, rider ok

Fastest in FP1, fastest in FP2. That equals a perfect day for Friday Motul TT Assen pacesetter Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), the Spaniard’s 1:33.072 sees the 2019 Dutch TT race winner finish 0.111s clear at the summit heading into Saturday. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) is second with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) third on a rain-affected afternoon in the Netherlands.

A hectic start to FP2

Plenty of time improvements were slammed in during the opening exchanges of a busy FP2, as the riders pushed to get a fast banker lap in the books with rain threatening. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Oliveira, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) all went faster than they did in FP1, before drama struck for the Sachsenring winner.

In the middle of Turn 11, Marc Marquez’s RC213V ferociously spat him off. A brutal highside was endured by the eight-time World Champion, thankfully the Spaniard was able to walk away but it was a big one. Marquez went back to his box and debrief with his team, however, he didn’t head back out for the remainder of the session. Moments after, Repsol Honda Team teammate Pol Espargaro was down at Turn 5, rider ok.

Marquez limps away after one of MotoGP™'s biggest highsides

After a frantic opening 15 minutes of FP2, the rain started to fall again at the TT Circuit Assen. Viñales was still quickest from Pol Espargaro, with Oliveira now P3 ahead of Quartararo as the atmosphere fell silent, the track wasn’t dry enough for slicks but also not wet enough to venture out on rain rubber straight away. The rain did then fall heavier and the riders – who chose to go out – were able to get a handful of laps in the adverse conditions.

Friday’s top 10

In the end, the rain ultimately dictated that no lap improvements would be made. FP1 pacesetter Viñales bounces back from a disastrous German GP to lead the way on Friday, just over a tenth from Pol Espargaro as the duo hold P1 and P2 with their Friday morning efforts. Oliveira, Quartararo and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) are the other riders in the top five, Marc Marquez’s FP2 time before the crash places the number 93 in P6.

Mir, who Marc Marquez was following when he crashed, managed to penetrate the top 10 after finishing P13 in FP1 – that could be crucial for the reigning World Champion. Zarco is 8th on Day 1, the Frenchman is followed by ninth place Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) – a solid day at the office for the Italian – as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) occupies the final provisional automatic Q2 place in P10.

FP3: dry or wet?

This will be the question on everyone’s lips as they open the curtains on Saturday morning. If the downpour comes like it did in the latter half of FP2, then the Q2 places are set from the dry running on Friday. Weather forecasts suggest we will get wet weather on Saturday, but it’s a question of when. Switch on MotoGP™ FP3 at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) to find out what Assen has in store ahead of qualifying.

Top 10 combined:
1. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:33.072
2. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.111
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.328
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.419
5. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.429
6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) 0.488
7. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.629
8. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.636
9. Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) + 0.867
10. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.921

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