Moto2: Bagnaia ahead in red flagged qualifying

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After topping every Free Practice session at the Motul TT Assen, Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) set a 1:37.608 to win the battle for pole position, beating Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and his VR46 teammate Luca Marini by less than a tenth of a second.

Bagnaia set his quickest time on his third flying lap to sit top of the timesheets as the Red Flag came out after a fall for Niki Tuuli (SIC Racing Team), with the Finnish rider crashing heavily at Turn 5. After a short delay, this meant there would be a three-minute mad dash to see if anyone could top the Italian’s benchmark – but it wasn’t to be. After announcing he would be staying with the Dynavolt Intact GP team for another two years, it was Schroetter who remained in P2 to secure his third consecutive front row start., and Marini also held station in third, earning a terrific first front row start of his Grand Prix career with just 0.081 seconds covering the front row at Assen.

Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) crashed heavily at Turn 7 towards the end of the session, but the Spaniard was able to set a 1.37.717 to qualify fourth for Sunday’s race. Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) lines up alongside his compatriot in fifth place, with Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) the leading KTM in sixth.

Catalan GP pole man and race winner Fabio Quartararo (Lightech – Speed Up Racing) spearheads the third row in seventh after another solid session, with Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) impressing in eighth and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) – despite a crash – in ninth.

Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was tenth on his Kalex machine, only 0.287 back from Bagnaia’s time, with Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in 12th – his best qualifying session of the season.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - who sits one point behind Bagnaia in the Championship - will start 17th for the second race running, can the Portuguese rider reproduce his Barcelona start in the Netherlands?

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer