Yesterday, Jorge Martin looked to be in trouble after a crash in FP2 which left him being carried away on a stretcher but today turned that around, despite an injured foot and thusly adjusted right Alpinestars boot, to take yet another Moto3 pole position by 0.310 seconds. Tomorrow it will be important for Martin to finish, not only to protect his foot but to also get some points on the board after the non-score in Barcelona two weeks ago. But Martin will not just want to finish, he will want to win, and it would be no surprise to see him break the pack, or at least try to, in the first laps tomorrow. Whether he can do it or not is a different story, but again he is probably the favourite for the victory tomorrow.
Two Italians join Martin on the front row: Enea Bastianini and Nicolo Bulega. The last time the pair started together on the front row was back in 2016, also in Assen. Bastianini has had a mixed weekend, climbing and tumbling through the times in almost equal measure, but he got a solid time on the board when it counted and will hope to be able to take back-to-back wins for the first time in his Grand Prix career tomorrow.
Nicolo Bulega, meanwhile, took his first front row start since Argentina last year, to show that Barcelona was no fluke, and his pace is truly back. Last time out in Barcelona, Bulega had the pace for the win but was taken out of contention by events out of his control – tomorrow he will look to rectify that, and maybe even take his first Grand Prix victory.
Aron Canet has shown superb pace this weekend and could fire himself back into championship contention tomorrow with a good result. Aron put himself in a good position to do so, too, qualifying third. A win tomorrow would be his first of the season, and could hardly be better timed, just before the end of the first half of the season.
Fifth place on tomorrow’s grid will be occupied by Lorenzo Dalla Porta, and the last place on the front row is taken by John McPhee, who has looked strong in the last two rounds and will be aiming to claim the podium that escaped him last time out in Montmelo.
Fabio Di Giannantonio is seventh on the grid, ahead of championship leader Marco Bezzecchi. Bezzecchi has been fast this weekend, but also has been suffering with the front end of the KTM, a common theme. But, the most important thing for Marco tomorrow is to protect his nineteen point championship advantage which he currently holds over the rider starting one place in front of him.
Marcos Ramirez goes from the back of the third row, whilst Gabriel Rodrigo, aiming for his second GP podium and second in a row, rounds out the top ten on the grid.
From here, things get complicated because of penalties. Yesterday, Adam Norrodin got a back of the grid penalty for his second offence of riding too slowly in three sectors in one session; whilst Dennis Foggia, Ayumu Sasaki, Jakub Kornfeil and Kaito Toba received 12 place grid penalties for the same offence, but they were first timers. Albert Arenas also picked a penalty up.
So, from eleventh back, the grid positions are: Tony Arbolino, Niccolo Antonelli, Livio Loi, Philipp Oettl, Jaume Masia, Tatsuki Suzuki, Darryn Binder, Arenas, Andrea Migno, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, Alonso Lopez, Ai Ogura (wildcard), Kornfeil, Kazuki Masaki, Stefano Nepa (replacing Makar Yurchenko), Ryan van der Lagemaat (Dutch wildcard), Sasaki, Foggia, Toba, Norrodin.
If Martin cannot break away tomorrow, it could be a cracking Moto3 Dutch TT, and a potentially crucial one for the championship.
Featured image courtesy of Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool