Rain threatened Friday’s opening day of free practice at TT Circuit Assen for the Dutch TT, but the dry conditions remained for riders to put in some potent lap times.This was not the case Saturday during qualifying for round eight of the 2017 MotoGP Championship at “The Cathedral,” which is the only circuit to consistently remain on the schedule since GP began in 1949.
Under rainy conditions, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco claimed his maiden MotoGP pole. The rookie rider became the first Frenchman to claim a GP pole since Olivier Jacque in 2002. Zarco claimed the 2017 Assen MotoGP pole with a best lap of 1:46.141 around the 2.82-mile track containing 18 corners—over 13 seconds off Vinales top time on Friday.Joining Zarco on the front row for Sunday’s 26-lap Dutch Grand Prix are Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci.The three-time reigning MotoGP Champion Marquez crossed finished 2017 Assen MotoGP Qualifying 0.065 of a second behind Zarco, and Petrucci 0.385 behind. This was also Petrucci’s first-ever front row start in the premier class.Heading up row two is Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, the nine-time World Champion who is the most successful rider at Assen with nine wins across all classes. Rossi will be joined on row two by Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Scott Redding, who topped FP3 despite a crash, and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Jonas Folger.Qualifying on row three were Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati), LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow and the man who won the last two outings at Mugello and Catalunya, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team).Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) qualified on top of row four after making his first-ever Q2 appearance. He is joined by Vinales and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.Heading into Sunday’s Assen MotoGP, Vinales has the 111 points, four ahead of Dovizioso, and 23 ahead of Marquez.2017 Assen MotoGP Qualifying Results
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.