MotoGP Dutch GP: Aleix Espargaro pips Quartararo in FP3 despite shunt

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro edged Fabio Quartararo to top spot by 0.041s seconds in third practice for the MotoGP Dutch Grand Prix despite a late crash.

MotoGP Dutch GP: Aleix Espargaro pips Quartararo in FP3 despite shunt

The damp and rainy conditions of Friday had given way for the start of the first fully dry session of the Assen weekend in FP3.

It would take just nine minutes for Francesco Bagnaia’s best lap from the drying FP2 session on Friday to be toppled, with Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales making the first move.

Last year’s Assen poleman went fastest of all with a 1m32.960s, which he would improve around six minutes later to a 1m32.911s to lead his former Yamaha team-mate Quartararo.

Team-mate Aleix Espargaro slotted into the top three and will be one of the most relieved riders on Saturday morning, after a technical infringement in FP2 led to all of his slick tyre laps being cancelled. That demoted him to last on the combined timesheets and threatened his Q2 hopes.

But he took over from Vinales with just under 12 minutes of the 45-minute session remaining, with a 1m32.518s on a fresh soft rear slick.

Espargaro went on to improve with a 1m32.164s set a few moments later, but was denied any further gains when he crashed going through Turn 3 at the end of the session.

Championship leader Quartararo cemented second with a 1m32.166s to shadow Espargaro by 0.002s, although this lap was cancelled after the chequered flag.

However, an earlier 1m32.205s still kept him second as Vinales initially rounded out the top three. But he too had his best lap cancelled, which dropped him to seventh.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Alex Rins made late gains to fourth to bag himself a place in Q2 in qualifying, but his Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir – who had a fairing come loose at the start of FP3 – missed the cut in 11th by 0.084s.

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami leaped up to fifth with his final lap to head VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi and Friday pacesetter Bagnaia on the factory team Ducati – Vinales’ lap cancellation promoted Rins down to Bagnaia up a spot.

Pramac duo Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco, who crashed at Turn 7 late on, slotted in behind Bagnaia, with Jack Miller on the sister factory team GP22.

There were also crashes for Gresini duo Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio, as well as Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli – all three riders dropping into Q1 as a result.

Morbidelli has also been handed a long lap penalty to be served in Sunday’s race for blocking two riders in FP2 on Friday.

No KTM riders made it directly into Q2 in FP3, with Brad Binder the leading RC16 in 14th ahead of team-mate Miguel Oliveira.

Ahead of FP3, Honda announced Pol Espargaro had withdrawn from the rest of the weekend due to injuries he sustained in Germany. Team-mate Stefan Bradl was 22nd at the end of FP3 on the sole remaining factory team Honda.

Qualifying for the 2022 MotoGP Dutch GP gets underway at 2:10pm local time (1:10pm BST).

MotoGP Dutch GP FP3 results:

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 19 1'32.164  
2 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 22 1'32.205 0.041
3 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 20 1'32.320 0.156
4 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 21 1'32.355 0.191
5 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 20 1'32.382 0.218
6 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 20 1'32.440 0.276
7 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 22 1'32.487 0.323
8 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 21 1'32.592 0.428
9 France Johann Zarco Ducati 18 1'32.726 0.562
10 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 19 1'32.878 0.714
11 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 20 1'32.962 0.798
12 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 17 1'32.999 0.835
13 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 16 1'33.036 0.872
14 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 18 1'33.128 0.964
15 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 19 1'33.148 0.984
16 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 14 1'33.177 1.013
17 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 15 1'33.261 1.097
18 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 21 1'33.281 1.117
19 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 23 1'33.346 1.182
20 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 20 1'33.605 1.441
21 Australia Remy Gardner KTM 19 1'33.639 1.475
22 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 19 1'34.180 2.016
23 Spain Raúl Fernández KTM 19 1'34.623 2.459
24 South Africa Darryn Binder Yamaha 19 1'34.957 2.793
  Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 0    
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“Intense pain” forces Pol Espargaro withdrawal from MotoGP Dutch GP
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