Dutch Grand Prix pole sitter Francesco Bagnaia said he ended qualifying early because he felt it was “impossible” to break his new MotoGP lap record at Assen.
Despite the threat of rain looming over the Assen circuit on Saturday afternoon, the penalty shoot-out began with blistering pace as Pramac’s Jorge Martin set a new lap record of 1m31.708s.
But his factory Ducati counterpart Bagnaia smashed him with just over four minutes of Q2 remaining to take his fourth pole of the year with a 1m31.504s.
Bagnaia stopped after that round as he felt it was not possible to set a better time, explaining that he would not have mind being revised if a rival beat him in some way. or another.
“Yeah, that’s why I stopped in the box, because I said ‘do more than that, it’s impossible for me,'” Bagnaia said when asked if his 1m31.504s was the perfect lap.
“If someone overtakes me, it would be ok. But I’m very happy with this qualification because this morning I had a lot of trouble being consistent and competitive.
“Thanks to my team we did a good job and in FP4 we found a way of working that helped me a lot with the racing tyres, and also for the time attack, we are still so competitive .
“I’m very happy for that – but more for the step forward we’ve taken.”
Bagnaia was unchallenged as the clock ticked down the final seconds of Q2, with closest rival Fabio Quartararo having a great moment at the hairpin at Turn 5 on his final attempt.
However, the championship leader believes the lap “was going to be a bit worse” anyway and was happy to settle for second place.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport pictures
“I’m getting used to fighting with Italian bikes,” Quartararo said, as he stepped between two Ducatis and ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
“Still in qualifying, it’s more complicated than the previous year to do good qualifying.
“I was really on the edge and the lap I did, I wanted to try the next lap which I knew was going to be a bit worse. But I’m so happy, I think the front row was the goal for today.
“I think that moment was a bit strange because it wasn’t really a moment. I just slipped and lost my footing.
Looking ahead to the race, Bagnaia thinks it might be possible for him and Quartararo to break away from the peloton in the early stages like they did in Germany, although that’s not something that usually happens in Assen.
“Of course Fabio on this track is still as competitive as ever,” added the Ducati rider, who has failed to finish the last two Grands Prix and is now 91 points behind Quartararo in the championship.
“I would like to fight, but until the end of the race and not just the first two laps.
“But I think other riders did a good job today, like Aleix [Espargaro] and Jorge [Martin].
“I think it’s more difficult on this track to open a gap at the start, but we have already shown that we are so competitive in the first laps, and Fabio too. So maybe it will be possible to open a breach.