Ayumu Sasaki found the right space on track to claim pole position ahead of round eleven of the championship, the Moto3 Assen TT Grand Prix.

The Sterilgarda Max racing rider started his session with an early banker lap which moved him into second behind Jaume Masia, who was the early timesheet topper.



The Japanese rider moved up from fifth to pole position on his penultimate run, needing to slice past fellow countryman Ryusei Yamanaka and Lorenzo Fellon in the final sector to take advantage of the slipstream as he passed to get clear track on his final run.

That was not to be as late falls for his team-mate John McPhee and Tatsuki Suzuki, whom he toppled from the top of the standings, indicated rain had started to spot again.

Already in the bank, his best of 1m 41.296s remained on top for his second pole - his first time in the top slot this season.

Pole demonstrates the continued comeback of Sasaki, who missed two rounds with injury following a horrible fall in Mugello, where he was hit by Masia with nowhere to go. Already back to the form the #71 was showing after DNFs in the first two rounds, pole builds on a fourth place finish last time out in Germany.

Second on the grid went to Suzuki, the time he had lead with before Sasaki went faster holding on depite his tumble as the Leopard riders worked together to improve. The Honda man finished the session just 0.066s slower.

The final front row slot went to Izan Guevara, ensuring a mix of manufacturers up front as he again ran solo on the GASGAS Aspar machine.

David Munoz continued his explosive run since joining the championship just before the halfway point with third, smashing his previous grid best of seventh and undeterred by the amount of riders tagging on behind the BOE Motorsports rookie for a tow. The #44 will be the top KTM on the grid.

Frustrated early on by the field going slow and trying to gain a follow, Dennis Foggia first got into his groove with team-mate Suzuki and then went solo to take fifth on the grid.

All the Red Bull Team bikes circulated together, with Masia managing the best time in sixth on the Ajo bike, just ahead of Adrian Fernandez who was seventh on the Tech 3 after working his way through Q1.

Lorenzo Fellon spent much of his time shadowing Foggia on the SIC58 Squadra Corse entry on his way to eighth, with Xavier Artigas another rider to make the most of his Q2 track time to move on and up to ninth for CFMoto Racing PruestelGP.

The top ten was completed by Joel Kelso for CIP Green Power.

The Australian took that position late on from John McPhee (Sterilgarda Max racing) who was sat in the gravel and lucky to only drop one position in a  dramatic end to the session.

Daniel Holgado moved through Q1 top but could not quite keep that level in Q2 where he was a solid twelfth for Red Bull KTM Ajo.


Sergio Garcia off the pace in eighteenth

Championship leader Sergio Garcia, who is being chased down every round by his GASGAS team-mate Guevara who in Assen earned a front row start, had the most opposite of qualifying performances to his team-mate.

While the #28 was happy to again circulate solo, Garcia was flustered and desperate for good track position and a solid tow.

The #11 never really got in gear and spent much of the early part of the session trying to lose Holgado. 

When he finally posted a time it was only the 16th best and he went on to finish Q2 18th and last, over 1.3s off the pole pace.

The last time the #11 had a poor qualifying it ended his race - his only DNF this year. In Austin he was 15th on the grid which contributed to his position when he was collected by Holgado mid-pack.

Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets-MSI) made up time on his last Q1 lap but fell just short of moving on, finishing the session fifth for 19th on the grid.

Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power)  and Alberto Surra (Rivacold Snipers) also failed to go onto Q2, they will line up 20th and 25th respectively.

VisionTrack’s Scott Ogden looked to have the pace to progress and had wanted to get in behind Holgado, who progressed in first. Instead the Brit slotted in behind Toba for a slipstream. The pair met traffic on track and as they went into race mode to pass both lost valuable time. Ogden starts 24th. His team-mate Joshua Whatley is further back in 29th. 

Injuries, absentees and penalties

Daniel Holgado was handed a long lap penalty following his crash in FP3, heading straight towards Elia Bartolini and the marshals attending his fall near the end of the session.

Carlos Tatay will need to serve a double long lap penalty for causing the turn one crash at Germany, so he will be looking to pick up places early from 23rd on the grid after failing to move up to Q2 starting 23rd.

Matteo Bertelle is absent after picking up an injury at the Sachsenring. He is replaced by Luca Lunetta at QJMotor Avintia who brought up the rear in Q1.