Waves of drizzle soaked the track after the practice sessions, which meant a predictable wet qualifying session for the lightweight class and even more predictable crashes. The final five minutes surprised us with some rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds just enough for a last-minute fight between the two favourites for pole.
Despite a few nervous moments, Jorge Martin ticked another watch off his wish list, the Spaniard taking pole position with a final lap that put him over eight tenths of a second in front of his rivals. Bo Bendsneyder appeared to be in prime position for pole with twenty minutes remaining, the local rider leading for much of the session before having to admit defeat and accept second position on the grid. Nicolo Bulega appeared to enjoy his weekend a little more in the wet, the Italian completing the first row for the race in Assen.
More surprises awaited on the second row of the grid, where Nakarin Atiratphuvapat followed up on an excellent performance in practice with a fourth place in qualifying. He will share the second row with two other youngsters, Marco Bezzechi putting in a great lap for fifth place and Aron Canet putting his name down for another podium battle from sixth on the grid.
Joan Mir found himself in a spot of bother after uncharacteristically crashing out in turn three with twenty-five minutes remaining and a slowly improving track. The Leopard team managed to send him back out in the final five minutes but the championship leader could not improve on seventh position, three seconds down on Martin. He will have two brilliant Italians for company on the third row, Tony Arbolino and Manuel Pagliani impressing in the changing conditions.
The rest of the usual contenders either crashed, as was the case for the RBA duo, the Platinum Bay duo and Niccolo Antonelli, or struggled to post a competitive lap. Romano Fenati will start from fifteenth position, last year’s poleman Enea Bastianini will be seventeenth, John McPhee nineteenth, Fabio Di Giannantonio twenty-first and Andrea Migno twenty-seventh.
|21||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||2'01.627||4.032||0.102|
|24||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||2'01.796||4.201||0.047|
|29||28||Ryan VAN DE LAGEMAAT||KTM||2'03.629||6.034||0.862|