When qualifying for the Dutch TT at Assen wrapped up Saturday, the top 11 were within a half of second of each other.Impressive. But even more impressive was the closeness among top four, which were all within a tenth of a second.
Leading the pack after the 15-minute qualifying two session was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who claimed his 75th career pole position across all classes (47th in the premier MotoGP class).The reigning MotoGP Champion claimed the pole position – his second this season – by 0.041 of a second ahead of LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow, who won in Argentina. Taking the final podium position was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who finished 0.059 of a second back, and won last year’s Dutch TT.“So far this weekend, things are going better than we were hoping for,” Marc Marquez says. “The pole has not been one of my strongest points this year, and actually this will be the first time I’ll start form the top spot, because in Austin I earned the pole but was moved back to fourth.“I was very happy with the rhythm I could keep in FP3 and FP4 and now I’m even more happy for the Q2 result. We’re trying and working in a good way. At this track stability is one of the main targets to achieve and step by step we improved that a bit.“Our first goal is a podium finish but honestly we now have the possibility to fight for the victory. We must remain focused and work well in tomorrow’s warm-up to try and make another little step to improve the stability and to make the final choice for the tires.”Heading up row two is Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso – the final rider to post within a tenth of a second behind Marquez. The Italian will be joined on row two by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and the man who led Friday practice, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales.Rounding out the top 10 in 2018 Assen MotoGP Qualifying were Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro; Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco; Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone; and the man who won the past two rounds, Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo, who joins Repsol Honda in 2019.Heading into Assen MotoGP, Yamaha’s Rossi has the most wins with 10 (eight in the premier class) at the “Cathedral,” which is the only track to remain on the GP calendar since the series begin in 1949.After seven of 19 rounds, Marquez has 115 points – 27 ahead of Rossi, and 37 ahead of Vinales. The four-time MotoGP Champion only has one win at Assen, but is in the best position to take another in extend his points lead.Photos by Luciano Bianchetto
KTM RC 390 and Gordon McCall of Quail Motorcycle Gathering
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the new KTM RC 390. The entry-level KTM has always been an impressive motorcycle that has sold extremely well, however the factory has now taken the bike to another level, with top-spec features that are typically found on flagship machines. Clearly KTM has realized that even smaller engined machines should have high spec suspension, brakes and electronics packages. Nic tells us how well the new RC 390 is equipped, and what he thought of riding the smaller displacement rocket.
In the second segment I chat with automotive and motorcycle industry icon, Gordon McCall. Gordon is the Director of Motorsports at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, California.
This weekend of Saturday May 14th sees the annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering re-start after its Covid-forced hiatus, and having attended every one of the previous Motorcycle Gatherings, personally I’m very happy that the event is back on the schedule. Gordon chats about the event and a little of what’s happening this year. It’s a great event and if you feel like a trip to the gorgeous Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, you’ll get to meet Gordon, Roland Sands, and of course a large number of stunning motorcycles too.
From all of us at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!