MotoGP Assen: ‘I did not expect that today!’ - Dixon| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Inde GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon celebrated his second Moto2 pole position of the season with an unexpected 1’36.736 lap of the TT Circuit Assen on Saturday.
Having initially struggled in both wet and dry conditions across the opening two days of the Dutch weekend, despite favouring the 4.5km layout previously in his career, everything seemed to click for Dixon as he came in for fresh rubber in the closing stages of the 15-minute session.
“Honestly, I did not expect that today and all credit to the team then. I left it so late to come into the pits for a tyre,” Dixon explained from Parc Fermé.
“I didn’t think I had enough time. They got me out for one lap. Honestly speaking, on the out lap, I didn’t think it was going to be enough because I didn’t know if the rear tyre was going to be with me but no, I just I pushed like hell.
“Just a massive credit to the team. I’ve been struggling all weekend and got after it in that session. To the boys and to the team, after a big struggling weekend, that’s a massive repay to them and hopefully we can have a great race tomorrow.”
Reflecting on how late he’d left it to make his decision to change tyres, after struggling for the first part of the session, the Brit was in fine spirits.
“Well, I just got the news that my team have now moved to F1 because the stint of changing the tyre was super fast!” he joked.
“No, it was good but I made the split decision right at the last part and I was like ‘do I stay out or do I not? I don’t feel great with this tyre’ and then finally came in. I knew it was going to be tight so I knew I had to push on the out lap but then with the Dunlop it takes a couple of laps usually to come in so I pushed as hard as I could on the out lap.
“I went through sector one and I was like ‘I don’t think it’s good enough’ and then finally I see my first split and I was like ‘right, okay, it’s not bad’. So then I was like, right, I just need to continue the way I was doing and this tyre was a lot better than the one previous so yeah, it was a really nice lap. Obviously pressure lap but finally, the team performed in pit lane so I had to perform on the last lap. So that was good!”
While he starts from pole, alongside teammate Albert Arenas and fellow Brit Sam Lowes, the top four riders were covered by just half a tenth, reflecting the competitive nature of the intermediate class this season, so who does he see as his biggest challengers come race day?
“Yeah, I think Moto2 is always quite tight,” he acknowledged. “I don’t know because I’ve been struggling honestly in wet and dry conditions all weekend.
“I found a good way for qualifying. The team done a great job on that. But let’s see, you never know with Moto2. It’ll always be a breakaway pack but how many? I don’t know.”