Aleix Espargaro fastest in Warm-up as Aprilia show serious pace

Aleix Espargaro will start today's Dutch MotoGP full of confidence after getting the better of Fabio Quartararo during Warm-up.
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Assen
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Assen

Before Warm-up got underway, Ducati confirmed that Alex Marquez has joined Gresini Racing for the 2023 season. 

The move to Ducati sees Marquez leave Honda after three seasons. The Spaniard has joined Fabio Di Giannantonio who will also remain at Gresini Ducati. 

Looking to make it three wins on the bounce, Fabio Quartararo got his warm-up session underway in fine style as he went fastest from Takaaki Nakagami.

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But as lap times continued to improve, Jack Miller, who will have to serve a long-lap penalty for the second consecutive race, overhauled the Yamaha rider. Miller was penalised for blocking Maverick Vinales during Q2. 

The Australian was then bumped down to second as Aleix Espargaro went quickest. As Miller continued to drop down the order, Espargaro had no such problems as he remained atop the leaderboard.

The Aprilia rider, who desperately needs to get the better of Quartararo if he wants to close the championship deficit, started to make a real impression as he set a time of 1:32.687s - +0.087s clear of Quartararo. 

Vinales made it an Aprilia 1-2 with five minutes to go, again showing good race pace which has been his strength in recent rounds. 

Maverick Vinales, Dutch MotoGP, 25 June
Maverick Vinales, Dutch MotoGP, 25 June

Not so much of a strength has been qualifying, which was again highlighted on Saturday as Vinales could only manage 11th. 

Quartararo managed to regain P2 in the closing stages, while polesitter Francesco Bagnaia had a slow start to race day.

Outside the top ten during the opening stages, Bagnaia gradually improved his lap times before finishing eighth. 

A problem for riders all weekend, turn one caught out Miguel Oliveira as the Portuguese rider ran off track at the start of his final flying lap. 

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