The sky was clear, the asphalt was hot and expectations were high for Yamaha and especially Fabio Quartararo in the lead up to the premier class qualifying session, with the 50-shades-of-blue bikes topping every session disputed so far in Assen. Luckily for them, they did not disappoint, the Frenchman putting together an flawless Q2 to score back to back pole positions and improve on his own lap record from earlier today. The Petronas bike will be in familiar company on the front row, being joined by Maverick Viñales and a similarly-coloured bike of Alex Rins. On the back of an excellent Q1 run, the Suzuki man flew in Q2 but could not quite stop the Yamahas.
Meanwhile, Marc Marquez was flipping through his old book of tricks, the world champion chasing Andrea Dovizioso’s tail on his final run. The Italian desperately needed a fast lap after he was last on the first run but the timing was not quite as good as the last time Marquez tricked the Ducatis and the Spaniard failed to qualify on the front row for the first time this year. He opens row two and also the highlights reel for the day with another save from 67 degrees of lean in turn one. With only three riders within a second of the poleman, Joan Mir and Cal Crutchlow missed the cut but completed the second row of the grid.
Danilo Petrucci did not produce much noise in Q2 and qualified seventh, the Ducati ahead of Takaaki Nakagami’s Honda and Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha. The cat and mouse game with Marquez did not do Dovizioso any favours, the Italian stuck on row four between Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro. The KTM wowed in Q1, when despite his hand injury, the younger Espargaro demoted Pecco Bagnaia and Valentino Rossi from a Q2 place, dealing another blow to an already painful weekend for Rossi, who will line up 14th.