Marco Bezzecchi laid down an empathic gauntlet during the opening Practice 1 session for the MotoGP Dutch TT at Assen, the title contender keeping his rivals at arm's length throughout.
Scene of his maiden MotoGP podium twelve months ago, Bezzecchi was in fine form from the off as he looks to recover ground lost in his championship battle with Pecco Bagnaia and now also Jorge Martin ahead of the summer break.
Holding down the top spot for the majority of the session, despite improvements being made by his rivals, no-one could unseat Bezzecchi, the Italian routinely moving the goalposts to end the session with a 1m 32.246s.
That placed him a comfortable +0.3s clear of second place man Maverick Vinales, another rider hoping to tap into the form that had him on the podium for the first time in Aprilia colours at Assen last year.
Alex Marquez completed the session in third place, with Johann Zarco bouncing back from a fast slide off course at the fearsome Ramshoek to secure fourth in the final seconds.
He wasn't the only rider to hit the deck over the course of the session, which took place in sunny, warm conditions. Indeed, other riders to suffer a damaging start to the weekend included Augusto Fernandez and Enea Bastianini, who both came down at Turn 10 - with the latter planting his bike upside down in the gravel trap - and Miguel Oliveira, who suffered a front-end slip at Turn 1.
There were no such worries for Fabio Quartararo, who despite hobbling on a damaged ankle following an injury while out running, was able to lift his Yamaha into fifth, ahead of Luca Marini.
In seventh, Takaaki Nakagami gave Honda reason to be optimistic about the weekend ahead following a string of issues with its bike and riders. However, it was a low-key return to action for Marc Marquez, who was consigned to a lowly 21st after making a mistake at Ramshoek on his final tour.
German MotoGP race winner Jorge Martin began his Dutch TT in eighth, ahead of top KTM rider Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro on the second factory Aprilia.
Elsewhere, Brad Binder left it late to rebound to 11th, ahead of Pecco Bagnaia, who adopted his now customary tactic of avoiding a soft tyre time attack to focus on race set-up. However, it was an error-strewn start for the defending champion, Bagnaia enduring more than one off-track moment around the circuit that last year kick-started his charge to the 2022 title from a deficit of 91-points adrift of Quartararo.
MotoGP Dutch TT Assen | Practice 1 Results
|2023 MotoGP Dutch TT | Assen, Netherlands | Practice 1 Results | Round 8 of 20|
|1||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing||Ducati GP22||1m 32.246|
|2||Maverick Vinales||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 32.560|
|3||Alex Marquez||ESP||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati GP22||1m 32.614|
|4||Johann Zarco||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati GP23||1m 32.762|
|5||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha||Yamaha M1||1m 32.804|
|6||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing||Ducati GP22||1m 32.881|
|7||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda RC213V||1m 32.981|
|8||Jorge Martin||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati GP23||1m 33.067|
|9||Jack Miller||AUS||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM RC16||1m 33.087|
|10||Aleix Espargaro||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 33.421|
|11||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM RC16||1m 33.486|
|12||Pecco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Leonovo Team||Ducati GP23||1m 33.498|
|13||Augusto Fernandez||ESP||GasGas Factory Racing Tech3||KTM RC16||1m 33.588|
|14||Fabio di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati GP22||1m 33.633|
|15||Miguel Oliveira||POR||CryptoData RNF Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 33.673|
|16||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha||Yamaha M1||1m 33.893|
|17||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Ducati Leonovo Team||Ducati GP23||1m 33.902|
|18||Raul Fernandez||ESP||CryptoData RNF Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 33.941|
|19||Stefan Bradl||GER||LCR Honda Castrol||Honda RC213V||1m 33.989|
|20||Lorenzo Savadori||ITA||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 34.055|
|21||Marc Marquez||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||1m 34.111|
|22||Iker Lecuona||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||1m 34.363|
|23||Jonas Folger||GER||GasGas Factory Racing Tech3||KTM RC16||1m 34.741|