Aleix Espargaro overtakes Quartararo in FP3 despite shunt

Wet and rainy conditions on Friday had given way to the start of the first all-dry session of the Assen FP3 weekend.

It would take just nine minutes for Francesco Bagnaia’s best lap in Friday’s drying FP2 session to be overturned, with Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales making the first move.

The poleman from Assen last year was the fastest of all with a 1m32.960s, which he would improve about six minutes later to 1m32.911s to edge his former Yamaha team-mate Quartararo.

His team-mate Aleix Espargaro cracked the top three and will be one of the most relieved riders on Saturday morning after a technical infraction in FP2 resulted in the cancellation of all his laps on slicks. It demoted him to last on the combined timesheets and threatened his Q2 hopes.

But he took over from Vinales with just under 12 minutes of the 45-minute session remaining, with a 1m32.518s on a new soft back slick.

Espargaro continued to improve with a 1m32.164s set moments later, but was denied any further gains when he crashed into Turn 3 late in the session.

Championship leader Quartararo finished second with a 1m32.166s to edge Espargaro by 0.002s, although that lap was canceled after the checkered flag.

However, a previous 1m32.205s still kept him second as Vinales initially completed the top three. But he too had his best lap cancelled, which dropped him to seventh place.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport footage

Alex Rins made late gains to fourth to carve out a place in Q2 in qualifying, but Suzuki teammate Joan Mir – who had a loose fairing at the start of FP3 – missed the cut in 11th by 0.084s.

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami surged to fifth with his final lap to edge out VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi and Ducati factory team’s Friday pacesetter Bagnaia – The cancellation of the Vinales lap has promoted Rins to Bagnaia.

Pramac duo Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco, who crashed out at Turn 7 late, slipped in behind Bagnaia, with Jack Miller in sister factory team GP22.

There were also crashes for Gresini duo Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio, as well as Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli – all three riders went through to Q1.

Morbidelli was also given a penalty for a long lap to serve in Sunday’s race for stranding two riders in FP2 on Friday.

No KTM rider reached Q2 directly in FP3, with Brad Binder the RC16 leader in 14th ahead of teammate Miguel Oliveira.

Ahead of FP3, Honda announced that Pol Espargaro had withdrawn from the rest of the weekend due to injuries he suffered in Germany. His teammate Stefan Bradl was 22nd at the end of FP3 on the only remaining factory team Honda.

Qualifying for the 2022 MotoGP Dutch GP starts at 2:10 p.m. local time (1:10 p.m. BST).

MotoGP GP of the Netherlands FP3 results:

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