Jake Dixon worked out all his issues to power over the line as the chequered flag waved and claim pole ahead of the Moto3 Dutch Grand Prix at the Assen TT track.

Qualifying for round eleven of the championship went right to the wire as a late tyre change saw the Inde GASGAS Aspar rider able to find the fastest lap of the weekend right at the end of the session.

 

 

That best of 1m 36.736s lifted the #96 to just his second pole position and came after he put in a lot of work in FP3 to fix his issues and go straight to Q2, with his team working hard to get him back out on track in the last part of qualifying for a final attack.

The Aspar team had plenty to celebrate with their other rider, Albert Arenas, finishing the session second. Arenas, who has never had a pole position in any class was in the right place to lead the grid off for the first time before his team-mate beat him by 0.011s, with the Spaniard joking that Dixon had ‘stolen my pole’ before congratulating him.

On his best run the #75 had come across bikes aplenty, so although that lap still moved him into provisionl pole at the time, it had the potential to be much quicker.

Sam Lowes made it a great day for the Brits, also leading the way briefly on his way to the final front row slot. The Elf Marc VDS rider was incredibly consistent and looked very bit as envigorated as Dixon was elated during qualifying and was close to being even higher on the grid as he impressed in the final sector of the track.

It marks a big turn around in fortunes for Lowes, following podium success in Germany after six races with no points, his first rostrum visit since the opening round.

Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) will look to cut the championship lead further from fourth, performing while Vietti struggled again.

Alonso Lopez equalled his best grid position since joining MB Conveyors Speed Up as Romano Fenati’s replacement and will again be the top Boscoscuro rider in fifth.

Jorge Navarro came through Q1 despite Barry Baltus sitting up in front of him on one of his best efforts, with what was then the best time of the weekend and then set the standard with an early benchmark lap in Q2. 

He lowered that time further but had to settle for sixth for Flexbox HP40 as the lap times tumbled towards the end of the session.

Joe Roberts had run well in the wet, finishing top on Friday. The Italtrans rider couldn’t quite match that form in the drying conditions today and starts seventh.

Home rider Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG) went straight into Q2 at ‘The Cathedral’ and went on to qualify eighth after featuring in the top ten for most of the weekend. Fellow countryman Zonta van den Goorbergh (RW Racing GP) starts 21st.

The in-form Augusto Fernandez, who after a barren spell with no wins to his name since 2019 has now taken two victories in the last four races, struggled in qualifying in Assen.

Eleventh after the opening laps, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider took a trip back to the pits, his tyre change did not have the impact of Dixon’s risky late swap, but did pull him up to seventh, with the late flurry of fast runs seeing him finish the day in ninth.

Marcel Schrotter completed the top ten for Liqui Moly Intact GP.

Vietti in eleventh after qualifying crash.

Championship leader Celestino Vietti continued his series of qualifying sessions to forget, this time hampered by a fall in Q2.

Assen saw the Mooney VR46 rider finish FP3 in eleventh , ensuring a trip through Q1 was not needed 
After fighting his way through at the last few rounds.

Two rounds ago he could manage the biggest of turnarounds, coming all the way back for pole.

That was a distant memory as last race he finished in the Sachsenring gravel, allowing all his rivals for the title to close in, with Ogura now just eight points adrift and only an advantage of 17 points over the top four in the championship standings.

With eight minutes remaining Vietti exited at turn three after losing the front of his Kalex. Sitting in six at the time the Italian could only watch as he dropped down the standings to eleventh, with Ogura well ahead on the grid in fourth as he continued to progress - the Japanese rider was tenth at the time of Vietti’s fall and picked up the pace.

Vietti finished just ahead of Gresini’s Filip Salac andthe second Elf Marc VDS bike with Tony Arbolino on board, who were close to surpassing his time.

Barry Baltus’ final Q1 lap shunted Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans) out of the progression places, he starts 19th. Balus went on to claim 14th for RW Racing GP.

Fermin Aldeguer started his Assen qualifying journey with a bike issue, which saw him helped back to the grid by former lightweight class rider Jasper Iwema on a scooter. The French rider bounced back to move into the top four with some fast solo laps but ultimately ended the session in sixth, for 20th on the gird with MB Conveyors Speed Up.

 
Injuries and absentees 

 

Aron Canet began the race weekend but was still having issues with his nose bleeding, as it did during the Sachsenring round following his car accident between races.

After Friday the Flexbox HP40 rider went to the local hospital to have his nose cauterised to stop the bleeding.

His Saturday got off to a slow start, leaving the pits late in FP3 and was out of his leathers and sat in his pit box with ten minutes remaining. At the time Canet was 18th so due in Q1. With nosebleeds and dizziness still an issue he was withdrawn from the remainder of the event before qualifying 

Gabriel Rodrigo’s replacement at SAG Team, Alex Toledo qualified 26th.

Pedro Acosta is also absent as he recovers from surgery for a fractured left femur, which he underwent on Thursday.