MotoGP Assen: Sasaki scores Moto3 pole

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s Ayumu Sasaki confirmed his comeback with a storming Moto3 pole position at Assen TT Circuit.

The Japanese rider, who was initially expected to be out of action until after the summer break, secured control of Sunday’s grid with a 1’41.296 lap from Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki and Sachsenring winner Izan Guevara.

The first qualifying session of the weekend saw KTM’s Daniel Holgado head the times from Tech3’s Adrian Fernandez. The former facing a long lap penalty for Sunday’s race after crashing under yellow flags in FP3.

PruestelGP’s Xavi Artigas and CIP Green Power’s Kaito Toba completed the four promotion places at the halfway stage with MT Helmets’ Diogo Moreira and MTA’s Stefano Nepa the first adrift from VisionTrack’s Scott Ogden.

The late push came in just the final minute as the majority of the pack reeled out en masse once again. The top two circulating adrift from the rest but hitting the chequered flag before any improvements were claimed. Nepa the only rider in the pursuing pack able to improve into the promotion places, from fourth. Ogden disappointed to close the session in tenth.

KTM continued to lead as Q2 fired up with Red Bull Ajo’s Jaume Masia now in charge thanks to a 1’41.811. Sasaki and Fernandez trailed the Spaniard with CIP’s Joel Kelso, Holgado and CFMoto’s Xavi Artigas staking early claims on the second row.

The next lap shuffle found rookie David Muñoz displaced by Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki at the top of the times with Dennis Foggia and John McPhee in ninth and tenth.

Sic58’s Lorenzo Fellon sat in sixth as the Frenchman battled with a battered hand following his earlier crash. Foggia striving for improvements in the final minute as the pack tripped themselves up further back. McPhee crashing out from tenth at the first corner for his last attempt bringing out the yellow flags. Suzuki doing likewise at turn seven with a fast crash from provisional pole as Sasaki struck with a 1’41.296.

Guevara claimed the final place on the front row in third from Muñoz, a late charging Foggia and Masia with Fernandez, Fellon and Artigas rounding out row three. Kelso headed the fallen McPhee and Holgado in 10th to 12th with Ryusei Yamanaka, Nepa, Andrea Migno, Riccardo Rossi, Öncü and series leader Sergio Garcia completing the set.

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