Reactions to the sprint and qualifying Saturday

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati): “It’s incredible here, I love it. We’ve done a very good job since yesterday morning. Today I wanted to ride as consistently as possible so that I could understand whether the rear tire could also be a choice for tomorrow’s race. Winning here in Assen is always fantastic. It’s only Saturday, but we can be very happy with the pole position and the sprint win. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

2. Jorge Martin (Pramac): “The race was very fast and I had a pace that I never had during the whole weekend. I didn’t feel completely comfortable because of the high temperatures and the physicality of the track. When you push as much as I did today, it becomes difficult to control the bike and I had a few scary moments, but I got over them. Before tomorrow’s race we still have to improve some details that I will discuss with my team and I am confident that we will have a good Sunday.”

3. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia): “I’m not happy because I wanted to fight for the top spot. But somehow the Ducati guys made a step forward for Saturday. I tried to keep up, but in the end my rhythm was just a bit slower. When I saw that I had a big gap behind me, I just tried to bring home the podium and not make any more mistakes. I’ll try to make some progress for tomorrow because I want to fight for the win. At least that’s what we’ll try. But overall we’re doing a good job and have our bike at the front.”

4. Enea Bastianini (Ducati): “It was quite an unusual day. I expected to be faster this morning: we didn’t change anything on the bike, so I expected a similar feeling to yesterday. Instead, the bike moved a lot more, even though the wind wasn’t that strong. The traffic on the track certainly didn’t help either. We started the afternoon with a different base setup, and it went a lot better. I was able to make some overtaking maneuvers and finished fourth. I was hoping to get on the podium, but it didn’t work out. Let’s see if we can achieve that goal in the longer race.”

5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (VR46): “A bit of a crazy weekend: yesterday I finished outside the top 10, while today we managed to make a good step forward. In the free practice sessions we worked well, an excellent Q1 and a solid lap in Q2. Then I had a great race, I didn’t have a good start but I was fast and I really enjoyed the fight in the group. I moved up in the general classification, I’m happy and I really enjoyed it because these group races are hard to see in MotoGP. Tomorrow will be a very long, physical race that will put a lot of strain on the tires, but I’m confident and we can do well.”

6. Brad Binder (KTM): “This morning we tried to get a bit more feeling. We’re not quite as fast as the guys at the front but I gave it my all and 9th place was OK. In the sprint I got a good start and tried my best to get past the others but got a bit stuck. We’ll keep working on it and see if we can find that extra step. It looks like we need to roll into the corner a bit more and come out quicker. A bit more grip at the rear would be the quick fix. Let’s see if we can work on that for tomorrow.”

7. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha): “Today was a little better. But, as I said, the new engine will be better in other races. There we will notice the improvement more. But I think we did a great sprint race. At the moment we are looking at the top 5 or top 6 and today we were not that far away from that. Starting from this position, P13, was not easy and we can be very happy with today. We are improving step by step, even if you don’t see it on the outside. Tomorrow’s race will be long. The sprint today was already physically demanding. So I hope it will be OK for the race. It is difficult, also for the tires and everything else. Now we just have to see what we can do and hopefully we can get a good result tomorrow too.”

8. Alex Marquez (Gresini): “With two laps less, it could have been a very different result. Jokes aside, we struggled a bit with the rear tyre towards the end, but on the other hand we gathered some useful information about the hard front tyre, which is important before the race. Now we still have to work on the fine-tuning so that we are able to fight for the top five positions tomorrow.”

9. Franco Morbidelli (Pramac): “It was a good sprint race, not great but good. We started from the back this weekend and it’s a complicated track. The lack of experience on the bike is particularly noticeable here and we are recovering. In this sprint I saw the group from fourth to ninth in front of me but I didn’t have the pace to keep up. We hope we can make the step to at least be in the fight for fourth place.”

10. Pedro Acosta (GasGas): “Overall a good step today, but the race was quite tough due to some problems we didn’t expect… but that’s how it can be in racing sometimes. We have a lot of information for tomorrow and overall it’s not too bad.”

11. Marco Bezzecchi (VR46): “Definitely not my day: the first crash this morning was very hard. I didn’t hurt myself, I just have a sore foot, but that affected the rest of the day. Then in qualifying the second crash and in the sprint I never really felt comfortable. We have collected a lot of data, we are working hard and we will try to take a step forward in the race tomorrow.”

12. Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse): “The sprint was a bit better. It was the best bike I’ve ridden so far this weekend and you can see the jump straight away and it’s good to feel it. The pace was decent from the start, obviously not as fantastic as Pecco with his 31s, but good enough to be close to the top 10. I managed to lead the top 10 until the last lap but then when the yellow flag came I thought I have to slow down. Then I saw the green flag and thought I have to protect my line. I was thinking too much and braking too hard and because I had a track limit warning I had to go super slow in the last chicane and both Bezzecchi and Acosta overtook me on the finish line. That was annoying but it wasn’t lost points. At least we were able to collect some data and we will try to improve for tomorrow.”

13. Jack Miller (KTM): “In the sprint I was able to do some good laps and catch the guys in front of me, but with about four laps to go they were still making a decent pace while I was reaching my limit. We need to find a bit more balance and try to ride more stable on the back straight as I lose speed there. We have some ideas for tomorrow and will keep working on them. I enjoyed having my claws in the fight.”

14. Joan Mir (Honda): “We had a solid race today. Our pace was pretty consistent and I felt like I pushed hard. We know the areas where we need to improve and right now it’s about trying to get the best out of myself every time we’re on the bike. Right now it’s very important to finish races, gather information and work for the future. Tomorrow we’ll have another chance to do a full race and see what we can do over the longer distance because the conditions could change a lot.”

15. Augusto Fernandez (GasGas): “A difficult Saturday, but we saw some light again in the sprint. Qualifying was really hard on my feeling and also on the gap to the others, but the sprint was a bit better. We’ll take that as a basis for tomorrow. We don’t have the best starting position, but we’ll give everything we can get.”

16. Johann Zarco (LCR Honda): “For the sprint we chose the medium rear tyre, which was a good decision. Everyone was using the soft tyre, but after trying the medium tyre on Friday I could confirm that the ride was better as I avoided the vibrations that everyone was complaining about. This should also be a good choice for tomorrow’s race. Overall I managed to keep a good pace and even though we are far behind, we never give up.”

17. Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse): “I was lucky. After a crash like that it’s quite difficult to come back well and focused and I was lucky that I was able to get back on the bike straight away. The crash itself wasn’t too bad but this kind of asphalt we have in the middle of the gravel is quite dangerous I think. I hit my head but luckily I have a Shark helmet which protected me well. For the rest of the day I was happy because we were fast – in qualifying I was just unlucky because Martin was in the middle of the racing line and I lost my lap. Overall I think it was a good day; the choice of rear tyre in the sprint was probably not ideal but over the course of the weekend so far we’ve struggled to use that tyre well on longer distances and doing a long lap wasn’t helpful. We still need to understand the decision because I felt like I only touched the green once but we’ll evaluate the data, work with it and try to rest well to gather as much energy as possible for tomorrow.”

18. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda): “I had the same feeling as yesterday; we couldn’t improve as much as we wanted. The sprint was tough and I struggled to catch up with the competitors. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow”

19. Alex Rins (Yamaha): “It was a bit difficult. I didn’t have my best start, but I had a good start. But then I had problems getting into the corners: as soon as I released the brakes, I made a lot of extra meters, so I couldn’t turn as much as I wanted. But, you know, we’re making small steps forward. It’s so difficult to test things during a GP. But we took information for tomorrow and we’ll change the bike a little bit to see if we can go a little faster in the race.”

DNF: Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia): No statement. In hospital for a check-up after a fall.

DNF: Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia): No statement. In hospital for a check-up after a fall.

DNF: Luca Marini (Honda): “Already at the start I felt something strange with the bike and after one lap I had to return to the pits. I wanted to understand the hard front so I tried to continue but it was clear that we couldn’t. The team will investigate exactly what happened but we already know that it won’t be a problem tomorrow – that’s always positive. We can learn a lot from the sprint and by only doing two laps we are missing some data, especially in terms of the tires. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

DNF: Marc Marquez (Gresini): “It’s never good to make a mistake and crash. The positive thing is that I could have been injured and it didn’t happen – and I mean especially this morning at turn seven. It’s a shame for the race because the feeling with the bike was excellent and now we have to find it again in the warm-up.”

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