Bagnaia: Assen MotoGP pole record was “impossible” to beat

Dutch Grand Prix poleman Francesco Bagnaia says he ended his qualifying early because he felt beating his new Assen MotoGP lap record was “impossible”.

Bagnaia: Assen MotoGP pole record was “impossible” to beat

Despite the threat of rain hanging over the Assen circuit on Saturday afternoon, the pole shootout session began with red hot pace as Pramac’s Jorge Martin set a new lap record of 1m31.708s.

But factory Ducati counterpart Bagnaia smashed this with just over four minutes of Q2 remaining to claim his fourth pole of the year with a 1m31.504s.

Bagnaia pitted after that lap as he felt setting a better time wasn’t possible, explaining he would not have minded being overtaken had a rival somehow beaten him.

“Yeah, it’s the reason I stopped in the box, because I said ‘doing more than this is impossible for me’,” Bagnaia said when asked if his 1m31.504s was the perfect lap.

“If someone overtakes me, it would be ok. But I’m very happy for this qualifying because this morning I was struggling a lot to be consistent and competitive.

“Thanks to my team we did a good job and in FP4 we found a way to work that helped me a lot with racing tyres, and also for the time attack we are always so competitive.

“I’m very happy for that – but more for the step in front we did.”

Bagnaia wasn’t challenged as the clock counted down the final seconds of Q2, with nearest rival Fabio Quartararo having a big moment at the Turn 5 hairpin on his last attempt.

However, the championship leader thinks that lap was “going to be a little bit worse” anyway and was happy to settle for second.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I’m getting used to fighting with the Italian bikes,” Quartararo said, as he slotted in between two Ducatis and ahead of the Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

“Always in qualifying it’s more complicated than in the previous year to make great qualifyings.

“I was really on the limit and the lap I did, I wanted to try the next lap that I knew was going to be a little bit worse. But I’m so happy, I think the front row was the goal for today.

“I think that moment was a little bit strange because it was not really a moment. I just slid and I lost my footing.”

Looking ahead to the race, Bagnaia believes it could be possible for himself and Quartararo to break away from the pack in the early stages as they did in Germany, despite that not being something that typically happens at Assen.

“For sure Fabio in this track is always so competitive,” added the Ducati rider, who has failed to finish the last two grands prix and is now 91 points behind Quartararo in the championship.

“I would like to have a fight, but to the end of the race and not just the first two laps.

“But I think other riders have done a great job today, like Aleix [Espargaro] and Jorge [Martin].

“I think it’s more difficult in this track to open a gap at the start, but we have demonstrated to be so competitive in the first laps already, and Fabio too. So maybe it will be possible to open a gap.”

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