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Assen MotoGP: Espargaro brothers lead first practice

Pol Espargaro beat his older brother Aleix to take the early advantage as MotoGP's Assen weekend kicked off with free practice on Thursday morning.

The Tech 3 rookie had remained anonymous for much of the 45-minute session before embarking upon his final run, when he began to rise up the order with a succession of quick laps.

Espargaro's fastest came moments before the chequered flag and his time of 1m34.530s was good enough to dispose of his sibling from the top of the timesheets by 0.189s. Aleix set his best while running on the soft tyre available to beat his Open Class competitors.

Jorge Lorenzo was quickest of the factory riders and finished ahead of Marc Marquez, who led for much of the session after spending 15 minutes in the garage as the Honda mechanics attended to the front of his bike in secrecy following an off-track excursion.

Bradley Smith enjoyed a brief spell at the top of the order, but the Briton made no further improvements after posting his best halfway through the session and ended the morning fifth, with last year's race winner Valentino Rossi in sixth.

Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa traded personal quickest times as the clocked ticked down, but it was the Italian who triumphed to claim seventh on his Ducati.

Team-mate Cal Crutchlow's difficult season continues as he finished the session in 13th and 1.765s off the ultimate pace.

Danilo Petrucci returned to action after recovering from his fractured left wrist he sustained at Jerez last month.

The Ioda Racing rider propped up the order with a time of 1m37.732s.

Pos Rider             Bike                   Time       Gap      Laps
 1. Pol Espargaro     Tech 3 Yamaha          1m34.530s            21
 2. Aleix Espargaro   Forward Yamaha         1m34.719s  +0.189s   17
 3. Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                 1m34.736s  +0.206s   19
 4. Marc Marquez      Honda                  1m34.770s  +0.240s   18
 5. Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha          1m34.915s  +0.385s   21
 6. Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                 1m34.974s  +0.444s   21
 7. Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                 1m35.069s  +0.539s   18
 8. Dani Pedrosa      Honda                  1m35.187s  +0.657s   18
 9. Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda          1m35.364s  +0.834s   19
10. Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda              1m35.885s  +1.355s   21
11. Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati          1m35.888s  +1.358s   19
12. Colin Edwards     Forward Yamaha         1m36.269s  +1.739s   19
13. Cal Crutchlow     Ducati                 1m36.295s  +1.765s   20
14. Scott Redding     Gresini Honda          1m36.353s  +1.823s   18
15. Yonny Hernandez   Pramac Ducati          1m36.363s  +1.833s   19
16. Karel Abraham     Cardion Honda          1m36.375s  +1.845s   16
17. Hiroshi Aoyama    Aspar Honda            1m36.521s  +1.991s   20
18. Broc Parkes       PBM Aprilia            1m37.209s  +2.679s   14
19. Nicky Hayden      Aspar Honda            1m37.275s  +2.745s   18
20. Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki   1m37.370s  +2.840s   17
21. Michael Laverty   PBM Aprilia            1m37.488s  +2.958s   18
22. Mike di Meglio    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki   1m37.498s  +2.968s   20
23. Danilo Petrucci   Ioda Suter-BMW         1m37.732s  +3.202s   16
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