Marco Bezzecchi topped the opening practice in Assen after finishing ahead of Maverick Vinales marking an excellent start to the Dutch MotoGP weekend.
The Dutch Grand Prix at Assen’s first practice session, which was devastating for champions Pecco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez, ended with Marco Bezzecchi topping the timesheets as the quickest rider in the MotoGP division.
One of the first riders to record a lap time was Marco Bezzecchi, who recorded a 1’33.585. Early in the session, Luca Marini, Fabio Quartartaro, and Miguel Oliveira were close behind him on the timesheet, with a gap that was approximately half a second.
Enea Bastianini made a great start even though it was still very early in the session as he led a Ducati 1-2-3 ahead of Luca Marini and Francesco Bagnaia. The defending world champion was forced to stop his most recent lap after entering turn six too quickly and deviating off the course.
Bezzecchi proved to be the rider with the fastest pace as lap times became more indicative given that he was the first to surpass the 1m 33s barrier. A time of 1:33.585s was later recorded by the Mooney VR46 Ducati rider to hold Miguel Olvieira off the top spot by less than a tenth of a second.
Stefan Bradl’s two bikes featured Kalex chassis, while Takaaki Nakagami and Marc Marquez both had two different bikes, one with a Kalex chassis and the other with a Honda chassis.
At the time Augusto Fernandez crashed at turn 10 marking the first rider to go into the gravel at Assen, Bezzecchi was leading the timesheet with a fastest time of 1’33.298 ahead of Johann Zarco, Luca Marini, Miguel Oliveira, and Alex Marquez, who rounded out the top five with 25 minutes remaining.
The Portuguese rider lost control of his bike at turn one and tumbled to the ground before sliding across the track.
With 15 minutes remaining, Marc Marquez, who had been struggling in the early stages of the session, was 1.5 seconds slower than Bezzecchi’s time. Factory KTM riders Jack Miller and Brad Binder also had a slow start in practice 1, finishing in the bottom four.
Bezzecchi gained an additional three tenths clear at the top of the standings to further distance himself from Johann Zarco in P2. Subsequently, Takaaki Nakagami demonstrated that the Honda was potentially fast by moving up to second place just before Oliveira suffered damage after a fast crash at turn one.
Bagnaia made another error at turn six and ran off the track for the second time, dropping to eighth place. On the following lap, Bagnaia improved his lap time and moved up to sixth, but the Ducati ace eventually ran wide at turn one, which caused him to express disappointment with himself.
With around 20 minutes left, Enea Bastianini lost control of his Desmosedici and crashed at turn 10. Bagnaia was fortunate enough to get back on his bike in time to avoid Bastianini’s crash.
Bezzecchi was the first rider into the second 1’32 with a best time of 1’32.725. Zarco lost control in turn 15 while attempting to catch up to Bezzecchi, who was still the quickest rider on the timesheets.
Ten minutes towards the session’s wrap up, Maverick Vinales, who made his Aprilia podium debut at Assen exactly a year ago held onto second place (+0.392), ahead of Quartararo (+0.632), Marini (+0.646), Martin (+0.800), Alex Marquez (+0.817), and Nakagami (+0.856).
With six minutes remaining, defending champion Bagnaia had moved into the top five but was still about eight tenths of a second slower than his previous best as his teammate Enea Bastianini came in at position 14.
Marc Marquez improved his best time with two minutes left and moved up to 17th on the grid.
Bezzecchi led Vinales, whose favorable connection with the Assen circuit is still strong, until the very end of the session. The top five was rounded out by Alex Marquez, Zarco and Quartataro with Pecco Bagnaia disappointingly placing 12th and Marc Marquez finishing outside the top 20.