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MotoGP Assen: Vinales chases Marquez in opening practice

Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales has started the Assen MotoGP round strongly, chasing reigning champion Marc Marquez hard in the opening practice with team-mate Valentino Rossi in third place.

Marquez opened his Dutch account strongly, putting in a 1’34.597 in the opening laps with Rossi second and Vinales in third but the Spaniard moved to the top of the tree with a 1’34.550 on his tenth lap using a soft front/medium rear Michelin combination.

Marquez moved back to the top with 19 minutes left, setting a 1’34.526 with a medium front/soft rear and then bettered it with a 1’34.411 despite being held up by Bradley Smith who then ran off track a couple of corners later.


The Repsol Honda man then sealed the deal with a 1’34.227 while Vinales upped his game on the same lap - and only 50 metres ahead of Marquez - to a 134.404. Rossi cemented third with a 1’34.513 while former team-mate Jorge Lorenzo walked away from a fast crash at De Bult.

Jack Miller stuck in fresh hard rear at session end to jump from outside the top ten to finish in fourth with a 1’34.548 on the Pramac Ducati. Andrea Dovizioso, along with Lorenzo, is using an updated, carbon-reinforced chassis and that took him to fifth place with a 1’34.634.

Andrea Iannone, who has a new engine and a choice of two chassis on the Ecstar Suzuki this weekend, was sixth, one ahead of Lorenzo. Franky Morbidelli, who is expected to be announced as the first signing to Petronas Yamaha today, was eighth, one in front of Cal Crutchlow.

Danilo Petrucci, who is testing an aluminium reinforced chassis on his GP18, took tenth place and is eight-tenths off the pace with Alvaro Bautista in 11th. Tito Rabat, Johann Zarco, Dani Pedrosa and Alex Rins completed the top 15.

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