MotoGP Assen: Rookies reign in the rain as Munoz commands Friday’s Moto3

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Picture: GeeBee Images

BOE Motorsports David Muñoz claimed Friday honours at a wet Assen TT Circuit having dominated across both free practice sessions.

VisionTrack’s Scott Ogden narrowly missed out on a top three position with Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki and MT Helmets’ Ryusei Yamanaka completing the leading trio in the closing stages.

A soggy FP1 welcomed the lightweight class as Friday practice began at the TT Circuit. Matteo Bertelle missing from action following his Sachsenring crash last Sunday due to injuring his knee ligaments with Red Bull Rookies rider Luca Lunetta standing in for his countryman on the QJ Motors Avintia.

Rivacold Snipers’ Alberto Surra took charge of the initial times with a 1’58.144 lap before BOE’s Muñoz bettered by one and a half seconds. The Italian answering the challenge with his third effort, just 0.167s splitting the leading pair as the only two so far under the 1’57 barrier.

Britain’s Ogden began his Assen weekend from eighth in the early standings before the times started to shuffle - despite a mosquito bite swelling his eye ahead of the action. Izan Guevara rising to the top with a 1’55.411 as Muñoz and Jaume Masia remained in check in the top three. Suzuki bettering Surra further back before the Sic58 duo of Lorenzo Fellon and Riccardo Rossi arrived to fourth and fifth.

Surra and Munoz continued to battle for overall dominance as confidence improved after ten minutes on track. The rookie running a full second clear of his closest rival as the Italian answered to remain in check before a dominant 1’52.406 became the time to beat.

Ogden sat sixth after 15 minutes of action with Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s John McPhee rounding out the top ten. The Brits both running 1’54 pace before Ogden stormed to second thanks to a 1’53.182, albeit seven-tenths adrift of the BOE rider.

Deniz Öncü claimed the runner’s up position with his eighth attempt as the mid-session played out. McPhee arriving to third with a 1’53.094 to demote Ogden to fifth as Suzuki slotted the Leopard machine into fourth at the halfway stage. Teammate Dennis Foggia circulated in 17th on the second Honda.

Conditions deteriorated in the second half as rain continued. Muñoz saving a major moment through turn two as the final ten minutes began with Surra less lucky at the same corner seconds later. McPhee losing the rear through turn 11 but also managing to save his Husqvarna in the final minute.

Championship leader Sergio Garcia concluded the opening session eighth in the times, narrowly behind teammate Guevara, with Masia and Fellon completing the top ten.

While the rain had all-but-stopped in time for FP2, heavy downpours during the lunch break left a sodden track for the final 40 minutes. Muñoz began the afternoon as he finished the morning, on top of the times with a pace-setting 1’52.357. Suzuki briefly faster with his fourth attempt before the 16-year-old hit back with a dominant 1’51.483 to maintain command.

Ogden’s wet weather prowess continued, in third, as the pack caught up. Öncü, Fellon, Surra and Mario Aji bettering before the Brit improved twice in quick succession, back into the top three with a 1’51.549. McPhee the only rider in Q2 contention yet to improve on his FP1 effort, from ninth overall.

The Scot improved at the halfway stage with a 1’52.027 to eighth. Aji and Surra joining the leading quintet with Öncü and Fellon running sixth and seventh, a second adrift of the target time as Muñoz continued to advance out front. McPhee’s ninth revolution promoted the Husqvarna to fifth, 0.09s ahead of Ogden as conditions cleared before he struck for third with a 1’50.9 next time around.

Foggia made his way into the top 14 with his 11th effort of the afternoon. The Leopard rider finding 12th ahead of Xavi Artigas and Ayumu Sasaki with Masia so far adrift of the promotion zone as the final quarter of an hour arrived.

McPhee was briefly in command with a 1’50.386 until Suzuki claimed the first 1’49 of the day. Guevara returned to front-running form as the clock counted down with Fellon heading the rookie sensation in the top five.

The closing ten minutes found Carlos Tatay rise to sixth as Fellon bettered to third. Snipers pair Surra and Andrea Migno circulating in tandem in seventh and eighth as Ogden sat tenth. Foggia and Garcia once again adrift of promotion from 17th and 20th respectively with five minutes to go.

Tatay continued his late climb, to fourth as Muñoz entered the top three. Fellon demoting McPhee one position as the SIc58 rider sat in second with Tatay and Migno doing likewise next time around, the Scot now in fifth.

The best conditions of the opening day allowed the standings to shuffle thoroughly in the final three minutes. Suzuki advancing the pace with a 1’49.672 as Ogden answered in second, two-tenths adrift with Muñoz third. The trio setting red sectors with their closing efforts as BOE claimed the Friday honours on the tail of Öncü with a 1’49.491 from Suzuki and Ogden while the Turkish rider settled for ninth. Ryusei Yamanaka spoiling the party for the VisionTrack rider to take third int he fading seconds.

Migno completed day one in fifth from Tatay and teammates Fellon and Rossi with Masia heading McPhee, Guevara, Ivan Ortola and Garcia in the top 14.

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