News/ Motorsport/ Bagnaia Blazes to New Lap Record, Aprilia Impresses in Tense Dutch GP Second Practice

Bagnaia Blazes to New Lap Record, Aprilia Impresses in Tense Dutch GP Second Practice

Assen, Netherlands - June 28, 2024 - The MotoGP paddock roared back into life today at the iconic TT Circuit Assen for the Dutch Grand Prix. After a thrilling second practice session that saw a new lap record and a dramatic highside, the fight for pole position promises to be a fierce one.

Ducati's reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia stole the show, setting a blistering 1m31.340s with just over 10 minutes remaining. This time not only secured him the top spot but also etched a new lap record for the Assen track.

Aprilia's Maverick Viñales impressed with a strong showing, pushing Bagnaia all the way. He came agonizingly close to snatching P1, finishing just 0.065 seconds behind the Ducati rider. However, the session took a turn for the worse for his teammate Aleix Espargaro. A nasty highside at the final chicane brought out yellow flags and hampered the closing laps for several riders.

This incident shuffled the order significantly. Gresini Ducati's Alex Marquez capitalized on the chaos, rocketing into third place. Espargaro, despite the crash, managed to salvage fourth ahead of championship leader Jorge Martin. Martin himself was involved in a peculiar incident with Jack Miller on the final lap. While Martin cruised slowly on the racing line, Miller made contact with him while looking back, causing some minor aerodynamic damage to his KTM. Luckily, both riders stayed upright.

The session saw a mixed bag of results from other manufacturers. Marc Marquez secured a solid sixth for the second Gresini Ducati, while Brad Binder (KTM) and Enea Bastianini (Ducati) followed closely behind in seventh and eighth respectively. Bastianini, however, crashed towards the session's end.

Trackhouse Racing's Raul Fernandez continued his strong form at Assen, placing ninth on his 2023-spec Aprilia. Franco Morbidelli secured the final automatic Q2 spot in tenth for Pramac Ducati.

Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo, despite testing their highly anticipated new engine, could only manage eleventh in second practice. This leaves a question mark over Yamaha's competitiveness this weekend. Both VR46 Ducati riders, Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio, along with Alex Rins (Suzuki) and rookie Pedro Acosta (Tech 3 GasGas), will have to battle their way through Q1 to secure a spot in the all-important Q2 session tomorrow. Johann Zarco emerged as the top Honda rider in 17th, while Jack Miller's near-miss with Martin left him down in 18th.

With such a tight battle for the top positions and several key riders needing to fight through Q1, the Dutch GP promises a thrilling qualifying session and an even more exciting race on Sunday.

TopGear Magazine July 2024