Yamaha less far ahead than feared at Assen
Yamaha's advantage is smaller than expected after the opening day of practice for the Dutch TT at Assen, claims reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.
Maverick Vinales set Friday's fastest time in second practice, beating Suzuki's Andrea Iannone by 0.121s, while Valentino Rossi ensured two works Yamaha riders ended the day in the top four.
Marquez was only eighth in FP2 after topping the first session, but did not equip a new soft rear tyre at the end of the session like the majority of his rivals.
While wary of not wanting to risk having to go through Q1 like he did in Barcelona after ending up outside the top 10 on Friday, the Honda rider said he was satisfied with the gap to the Yamaha riders.
"I felt good in FP2; for that reason I keep the [same] tyres for work [on long-run pace] because we need to work out for the race which tyre in the best one," said Marquez.
"I just kept working on the same tyre like I did in Montmelo [Barcelona], Mugello, Le Mans, try to concentrate on the race distance and then tomorrow will be time to put the new tyre.
"I didn’t want to go in Q1 like I did in Montmelo, but apart from that, happy because I expected to be further from the Yamaha riders on Friday and we are there, we are close.
"They are fast here, both Yamaha riders plus Dovizioso."
Ducati rider Dovizioso, sixth fastest on Friday, likewise said his pace surpassed his expectations.
"I said [on Thursday] I expected to be fast, it was a bit better than what I expected," he said. "We are with a similar pace to the faster rider. We are not faster, so still it's not enough I think."
Marquez the rider to beat - Rossi
This year's Dutch TT marks the one-year anniversary of Yamaha's last MotoGP win, scored by Rossi.
The Italian rider remained cautious about his prospects of ending his and Yamaha's winless streak, pinpointing Marquez as the man to beat.
"It seems that the fastest rider is Marquez, then I think it's Vinales and after that me and Dovizioso, I'm not sure who is strongest out of me and Dovi," said Rossi.
"But it's only Friday and what counts is what happens at 2 o'clock on Sunday. I hope we can be competitive like in the last few races and maybe fight to be among the first riders."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont
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