Sensational second for Alex Marquez on Assen grid, Rins lines up 5th
On a dry track and with no rain falling, the Moto3 riders undertook their qualifying session for the Dutch TT this afternoon. Of the Repsol riders, rookie Alex Marquez came close to taking his first World Championship pole position –only missing out to Miguel Oliveira on a technicality. Teammate Alex Rins, who made a mistake under braking during his last hot lap attempt, will start from fifth.
In the morning, in the third practice session, Rins set the fastest time in the wet and Marquez was third quickest –0.612 off his teammate. In the afternoon the track dried and the qualifying session featured a close fight for the fastest time between several Moto3 stars: Rins, Viñales, Salom, Oliveira and Folger fought tooth and nail for pole position, which eventually went to Oliveira.
Marquez had clocked exactly the same time as the Portuguese, but World Championship rules state that in the event of a tie, pole is decided by the second fastest lap between the two parties. This, Marquez will take off from second on the grid.
Rins will begin the race from the second row, after claiming the fifth fastest time. He made a costly mistake under braking during his last lap, which prevented a push for pole. Despite this minor setback, he was just 0.085 slower than Oliveira. Rins has a good pace and is a favourite to battle for the win tomorrow. The top five riders, were separated by the slimmest of margins in qualifying, indicating a close contest tomorrow in the Netherlands.
“This morning we went quite well in the wet. We set the fastest time of the first session, with a very good pace. In qualifying we managed a fairly positive pace and time. I was 0.085 off pole, so I guess tomorrow will be a race run in a front group. There are many riders ahead, so we have to think about things on the bike, without going crazy. I am happy with the work we have done today. If tomorrow is a dry race in the end, we can do well, as I feel more comfortable in those conditions. If it is wet, then I am calm because this morning we set good times.”
“The qualifying session went very well. At first I struggled a bit, because I was slow to change my riding style from the wet to the dry, but step-by-step we have improved. On the last lap I was able to push as much as possible and take second position, so I’m pretty happy. I still lack some pace for tomorrow, but I think we have to be satisfied. The race will be tight because, as we have seen, the top five are very closely matched. I will try to give 100%, be vigilant at all times and focused from the start. It will be a tough race.”
Source: Repsol Media