Jack Miller takes tough pole at Assen


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider claims fourth pole position of the season at historic Assen circuit. Karel Hanika, eighth, earns place on third row.


The intermittent rain that fell at Assen during qualifying did not prevent Jack Miller from transforming his great start to the Dutch TT into a fourth pole position of the season. The Moto3 World Championship leader topped the qualifying session after also doing so in the final free practice. His Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate, Karel Hanika, greatly improved on his times from Thursday and earned a place on the third row of the grid –in eighth.

Amidst 18°C track temperatures, Jack Miller continued to improve his pace in the final free practice session for the Dutch TT. The Australian set a best lap of 1:42.482 and put in as many as six laps in the 1:42’s. Karel Hanika also lowered his previous best lap by half a second to clock the eighth fastest time of the session.

A drying track and a sky threatening rain sowed the seeds of doubt amongst the entire Moto3 grid. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders started qualifying on slicks and quickly returned to the pits. After a change of tyres they went back out together, temporarily moving up to second and third. Later, a ten-minute break before light rainfall meant that Miller would leave things late –claiming pole position with a 1:42.240 lap. Karel Hanika finished in eighth position –1:42.582.

Tomorrow is the only race on the calendar to be held on a Saturday, with an 11am start time. Jack Miller will try to return to the podium after two races off the rostrum, whist Karel Hanika will race at a circuit where he has won twice in the Red Bull Rookies Cup.

Results – Qualifying practice
1. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.240
2. Alex Marquez (Honda) 1:42.356 +0.116
3. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:42.430 +0.190
4. Alexis Masbou (Honda) 1:42.458 +0.218
5. Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) 1:42.515 +0.275
8. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.582 +0.342

Jack Miller >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“The truth is I am very happy with the way we achieved this pole position and how we have been riding so far. The bike is working incredibly well. I can’t thank the team enough for the work that they’ve done. We’re having a very good weekend. Our pace is very good and we hope to continue the same tomorrow in the race. I’ve been running a better pace than in other races, but we’ll see how we go tomorrow. It will be difficult to escape from the pack, but I feel I can do it, so we’ll try.”

Karel Hanika >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“It was a great qualifying session. We started well this morning in the last free practice, in which I set a great lap by myself. In qualifying I began pushing hard from the start, because we saw that it was raining and we did not know if it was going to continue or stop. After that I rode alongside Jack (Miller). I set my best time behind him, and that helped me to hold a great position for a long time. Then there were other riders who went faster at the last minute. I lowered my best time by 2 tenths of a second when riding alone, and that’s very good for the race tomorrow. I am very happy with this qualifying session and look forward to a good performance in the race tomorrow. The aim will be to finish the race, at the very least, in eighth position.”