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    23 June 2023

    Top Riders Battle it Out in Dutch MotoGP Practice: Bezzecchi Takes the Lead, Marquez Struggles

    The Puzzle of Bezzecchi’s Dominance in FP1 at Assen

    Italian rider, Marco Bezzecchi, opened the Dutch MotoGP weekend with an outstanding performance in FP1. A year after his first podium finish at this venue, he dominated the field by a margin of 0.314 seconds.

    Bezzecchi took control early on and never let go. He set a benchmark time of 1m33.961s within seven minutes of the session starting and then proceeded to improve upon it repeatedly throughout the session.

    His final lap was timed at an impressive 1m32.246s after fitting a fresh soft rear tyre for the closing moments. His closest challenger was Maverick Vinales who finished second with a best time of 1m32.560s aboard his Aprilia machine.

    A Crash and Injury Threatens Frenchman Quartararo’s Hopes

    Fabio Quartararo, one of the favourites coming into this race, suffered an injury scare ahead of Saturday’s qualifying round that could potentially hamper his chances for victory here in Assen.

    The Yamaha rider broke his left big toe while running earlier last week in Amsterdam but showed no signs that it would affect him as he posted solid times during FP1 to end up fifth overall on the leaderboard just over half-a-second behind pace-setter Bezzecchi.

    Bagnaia Struggles Amidst Scrappy Session

    Pramac’s Johann Zarco had a high-speed crash midway through the session going through Turn-15 but managed to pick himself up and rejoin to post some quick times eventually finishing fourth quickest. However championship leader Francesco Bagnaia struggled throughout the session with several moments that saw him visibly frustrated. He could only muster a 12th place finish at the end of FP1 after a scrappy session on his factory Ducati.

    Marquez Takes Cautious Approach Following Sachsenring Woes

    After five crashes at Sachsenring, an injured Marc Marquez has come to Assen with a more cautious approach. Fitting a fresh soft rear tyre for a late time attack, his reserved run on his Honda showed as he could only manage 21st place in FP1 just ahead of Iker Lecuiona who is deputising for the injured Joan Mir.

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