Vinales on pole for Dutch MotoGP after new Assen lap record

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Yamaha Spanish rider Maverick Vinales
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Yamaha's Maverick Vinales will start in pole position for Sunday's Dutch MotoGP after dominating all three free practices and qualifying.

The Spaniard clocked 1min 31.814sec, a new track record at Assen.

"Since free practice one, thanks to God, I had grip which allowed me to be quick," Vinales said.

"Moto GP works in a fantastic way. If we were coming out of a series of poor races, I would have been able to be even quicker, but I need to rediscover some feelings," he added.

Vinales' French teammate and championship leader Fabio Quartararo was second, at 0.071sec, with Ducati's Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia in third (+0.302).

It is Vinales' first pole since the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, capping a remarkable turnaround for the Spanish rider, who finished last in last week's German MotoGP.

After the race Ducati's Jack Miller, who will start in eighth, slammed some of his fellow riders for the practice of deliberately slowing in qualifying in order to look for a slipstream from a bike in front.

"This is MotoGP, these idiots should be able to do the laptime by themselves," Australian Miller said.

"It's a double standard, you can't have the best of both worlds. The guys know who they are, 100%," he added.

Vinales is clearly enjoying his return to the track nicknamed the "Temple of Speed", having already won the last MotoGP there in 2019 and also triumphed there twice in the lower categories.

Frenchman Quartararo, who leads second-place Johann Zarco by 22 points in the overall standings, missed out on a sixth start from the front row of the campaign with 10 races left of the year.

"During the last lap I pushed my limits at corner 10 and the error cost me pole position," Quartararo said.

"I feel capable of fighting for the victory. We're not even halfway through the season, it's very open.

"But if we're racing on the edge, we won't attack by risking an error," he added.

Italian Valentino Rossi, the former seven-time world champion who has won 10 times at the Assen track, will start in 12th.

Six-time world champion Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda Team, who had a heart-stopping crash in practice on Friday, will bring up the rear in 20th position.

"It's true that the crash from yesterday affected me a lot today," said Marquez who won at the Sachsenring last weekend.

"I started the morning and the first thing was I was like 'OK, it will be impossible to ride the bike' because after the crash from yesterday I had a lot of pain on the right foot and I was not able to push with the right arm," he added.

Zarco will start from fifth as he looks to win a first race of the season after four second-placed finishes in eight attempts.

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