Flying Frenchman Fabio Quartararo topped the third MotoGP free practice session at Assen this morning, setting a new outright lap record for the Dutch track to beat Danilo Petrucci by a tenth with Maverick Vinales in third overall.
The Petronas Yamaha rider put in a 1’32.471 on soft Michelins all round to burst the previous record - a 1’32.627 by Valentino Rossi since 2015 - and it was disaster for The Doctor as the 1’32.881 he put in for fifth place was cancelled and he was demoted to 14th place for exceeding track limits at the Timmer Chicane.
Ducati’s Petrucci had set a new lap record as he took top spot with 1’32.580 with his final run on soft rubber but Quartararo had other ideas. Vinales didn’t improve on his pace from yesterday but the 1’32.638 he set in free practice two was enough to make it into Q2.
The Spaniard has one bike with a set of 2018-spec Ohlins forks in it - the same as Quartararo uses - to see what advantage might be being gained by the satellite rider.
Quartararo, meanwhile, had to contend with an errant radiator overflow bottle which appeared from his fairing as he went through Hoge Heide on a lap that would have put him top with 20 minutes left to run.
Reigning champion Marc Marquez, who had Andrea Iannone in tow again, ended in fourth place with a 1’32.668 while Taka Nakagami flew up to fifth place with a 1’32.890 which pushed team-mate Cal Crutchlow to the brink of a Q1 place.
Crutchlow fought back with a 1’32.956 on the LCR Honda but a lap from Franco Morbidelli, then one from old friend Jack Miller saw him slip further back but he clung on for dear life in ninth as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso ended in eighth with a 1’32.922.
Joan Mir was the fastest of the Suzuki men, claiming the final automatic Q2 place with a 1’33.068 and that saw team-mate Alex Rins join Rossi in Q1.
Despite caravanning Marquez, Iannone ended in 12th place but only seven-tenths off the pace. Pecco Bagnaia finished in 13th with Rossi 14th. Aleix Espargaro completed the top 15.