After 85 years of Saturday races at the TT Circuit Assen it was qualifying that took centre stage today, although the drama and excitement was as high as ever. With a wet track for a Q2 session that started with crashes for Maverick Viñales and Marc Márquez, the formation of a dry line saw Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso time a perfect run for pole position, with the Italian manufacturer taking five of the top twelve positions including a front row start for Scott Redding in third place and Team Aspar rider Yonny Hernández sealing sixth. Valentino Rossi completes the front row in second place on the Yamaha.
Team Aspar rider Hernández came within touching distance of his best ever grid position as he secured the best qualifying result for the team since Aleix Espargaró qualified sixth for the San Marino Grand Prix in 2013. Hernández came through Q1 in second place, just 0.053 off first, to fight for a top twelve position in Q2, waiting five minutes before entering the track on his only remaining wet tyre. He immediately moved towards the top of the order and maintained his position there to ensure a creditable second-row start. Eugene Laverty managed to bounce back from a crash in free practice to qualify in sixteenth place, despite also struggling with an electronic issue during qualifying.
6th Yonny Hernández 1.46.828: “I am really happy – it was about time we gave the Aspar Team something to smile about and also myself after the season we have had so far. I want to say thanks a lot to the team, who have always believed in me and supported me, it is nice to give them this nice moment. It is a second row start that we have worked hard for, we have found a really good pace on the wet tyres. We have to enjoy the moment but not lose sight of tomorrow. If it is a dry race we will try to finish and pick up some more points. If it is wet then we have a chance of a top six or top ten finish. After going through Q1 we only had one tyre for Q2 so we did a really good job.”
16th Eugene Laverty 1.49.678: “Today was positive in one way because this is the best MotoGP bike I have ridden in the wet. Unfortunately we had a problem at the beginning of practice where I was losing almost 20km/h on the straights. I should have come in immediately but I wanted to make at least some laps before I came in to fix what turned out to be an electronic problem. I only had two laps at the end to set a time but in the wet you need time to build your rhythm. We missed a good opportunity to arrive in Q2 because the potential of the bike today was much higher than we have been able to show.”