‘Why am I doing this?’ - Was FP1 ‘unrideable, over the limit’ or ‘common sense'?

MotoGP riders have mixed opinions on the scary aquaplaning conditions seen in opening practice at Assen.

While the wet grip level of the Dutch circuit were widely praised, and only two riders ultimately fell, several felt the amount of aquaplaning caused by surface water meant the session should have been red-flagged.

“Unrideable,” said KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, a race winner at the wet Mandalika round earlier this year.

“This is over the limit for me. I could not even see the lights on the back of the riders. Definitely, to even go alone it’s hard with the aquaplaning and to race for sure would be impossible.

“It looked like in our session, even if you don’t feel a lot of rain, there was a lot of standing water,” he added.

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Reigning world champion and title leader Fabio Quartararo said he “totally agreed” with Oliveira assessment of the conditions and felt Race Direction should have stepped in.

“If it’s dangerous but people are improving, of course you need to go out and improve,” said the Monster Yamaha rider. “But this is not our responsibility, It’s more the responsibility of Race Direction to see how is the condition and listen to the riders.”

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was clear: “100% it was a full red flag during at least 15 minutes. I aquaplaned in [three] parts of the circuit and stopped in the garage because I didn’t want to crash. On the straight you couldn’t go over 14,000 or the bike would spin.”


‘It’s FP1, why am I doing this?’

Oliveira’s factory KTM team-mate Brad Binder, another renowned wet weather rider, felt the aquaplaning was ’just dangerous’.

“I stopped and sat in the box because it was just dangerous. You're going around and thinking ‘it's FP1, why am I doing this?’” Binder said.

“If it's like that again tomorrow, I'd imagine they would maybe put a red flag out because for me, it's not that it's super unsafe, you can manage it. But it's in really fast places and if you crash there, you're going to know about it.

"So it's not worth the risk, especially in FP1.”

The problem areas were at Turn 1, where both Marco Bezzecchi and Enea Bastianini fell, Turn 6 and Turn 12.

“It's just like three pools of water. And the more people that ride, it almost separates [the water] and then you’re fine. But then you go out again and all of a sudden these pools are full again,” Binder said.

“So it was sketchy and it was hard to trust what you can do because both tyres were just slipping. So I think it's going to be difficult if it gets like that over the weekend again because I don't think it was safe.”

‘Every time you pass Turn 12 you think of Jorge Lorenzo’s accident’

Turn 12 is the corner where Jorge Lorenzo famously broke his collarbone in wet conditions during practice for the 2013 event, then underwent surgery and returned to finish the race in fifth.

“No bullshit, every time you go past there you think about that too!” Binder said of Lorenzo’s Turn 12 accident. “I like it more in the dry, so we don't need to revisit it, at least with a lot of water, again this weekend.”

Jack Miller, Dutch MotoGP, 24 June
Jack Miller, Dutch MotoGP, 24 June

Meanwhile, among those that believed it was correct to leave the session running was Jack Miller, who topped the timesheets.

“At the end of the day, everyone's got their own common sense. If you want to go out and ride in it, go out and ride in it. If you don't, sit in the box. Simple as that,” said the Australian.

After a drying FP2, better weather is forecast for Saturday, but rain remains a threat throughout the Dutch weekend.

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