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Francesco Bagnaia claims pole and another new lap record at Dutch GP

Bagnaia in action in Assen
Bagnaia in action in AssenProfimedia
Double world champion Francesco Bagnaia (27) claimed pole position on Saturday as he again broke the lap record to continue his dominance at the Dutch Moto Grand Prix in Assen.

"Pecco" Bagnaia on a factory Ducati set a blistering pace of 1min 30.540sec - almost a second faster than Friday - to start ahead of the pack in Saturday's sprint and race on Sunday.

Qualifying just behind Bagnaia is current world championship leader Jorge Martin on a Prima Pramac Ducati, who also broke Bagnaia's lap record set on Friday.

Bagnaia on 153 points is closing in on Martin's championship lead of 171pts - and both Saturday's sprint and Sunday's race is shaping up to be a duel between the two riders.

"Being in pole position in front of this crowd is always fantastic," Bagnaia said of his 26th career pole position.

"Let's try and do it again this afternoon - but it won't be easy," the rider from Turin added.

The "Cathedral" at Assen is one of Bagnaia's favourite tracks.

"The smoothness of some corners are incredible!" he told reporters on Friday.

After the race Martin said he felt confident in fending off Bagnaia's challenge.

"Yesterday we were two steps behind Pecco, today we are one step behind. We're feeling strong for the race," he said.

Spaniard Maverick Vinales of Aprilia was third followed by compatriot Alex Marquez on a Gresini Ducati.

Veteran rider Aleix Espargaro on an Aprilia qualified fifth in his last race at Assen, followed by Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio of Ducati's Pertamina Enduro VR46 team in sixth.

Spain's Marc Marquez, current third in the standings on 136 points will start in seventh place, followed by Italy's Franco Morbidelli on a Prima Pramac Ducati and South Africa's Brad Binder on a KTM factory machine.

Marquez on a Gresini Ducati crashed in the latter stages of qualification when trying to overtake Espargaro in one of Assen's sweeping left-hand corners.

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