Miller leads Mir in wet first practice

Soaking conditions greeted the riders at the start of the first 45-minute practice of the Assen weekend, with forecasts looking unsettled for the three days.

Despite the miserable conditions, the track was a hive of activity early on as most headed out to get some wet running under their belts.

Suzuki’s Mir set the initial pace with a 1m50.988s, but was the first to show how tricky conditions were when he ran off under braking for Turn 1.

Turn 1 would prove to be an incident point for the first half of the session, as Ducati’s Miller and Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) got crossed up under braking there and ran on, while both Gresini’s Enea Bastianini and VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi crashed upright on the anchors .

Both riders were OK, but the worsening conditions forced most at half-distance to come back to pitlane.

By this point Miller – who took his first MotoGP win at Assen in 2016 in wet conditions – sat atop the timesheets with a 1m44.523s.

Pramac’s Johann Zarco was his nearest challenger in second, but he wouldn’t be until the final 10 minutes when Miller’s time would finally be bettered as the rain eased and track conditions improved.

Francesco Bagnaia – who admitted on Thursday at Assen that he still has no answer for his costly Sachsenring crash last week – took over from teammate Miller with a 1m44.368s with just under nine minutes remaining.

Vinales deposed him about a minute later with a 1m44.128s, before Pol Espargaro on the factory Honda and Miller engaged in a duel for top honors as the session wound down.

Espargaro would be the first to break into the 1m42s barrier with a 1m42.891s with two minutes to go, but Miller ended the session fastest of all with a 1m42.589s.

Mir, the 2020 world champion, shadowed Miller at the checkered flag by 0.109 seconds, with Pol Espargaro completing the top three.

Alex Marquez – who will leave LCR Honda at the end of 2023 – was fourth-fastest ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, who won the wet Indonesian GP in March.

Alex Rins – who is nearing a move to LCR in place of Alex Marquez – was seventh ahead of Pramac Ducati duo Zarco and Jorge Martin, with Vinales rounding out the top 10.

Bagnaia was 11th at the checkered flag ahead of the fastest of the rookies Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini), who gained more valuable wet track time on his 2021-spec Ducati.

Brad Binder was 13th ahead of Bezzecchi following his early crash, with championship leader Fabio Quartararo a low-key 17th on his factory Yamaha having sat inside the top six at one stage of FP1.

Bastianini was last after his Turn 1 spill, with the grid swelling to 25 riders this weekend as Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori makes another wildcard appearance this year. He was 22nd.

FP2 for the MotoGP Dutch GP gets underway at 2:10pm local time.

MotoGP Dutch GP – FP1 results

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