-- MotoGP 2013 - Round Seven - Assen - Rossi returns to winning ways in
superb Assen race
Valentino Rossi has won the Iveco TT Assen, picking up his 80th victory in the MotoGP™ premier class and his first since the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2010. The nine-time World Champion shared the podium with Marc Marquez and pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow, with Jorge Lorenzo finishing fifth despite a broken collarbone.
Lorenzo generated many of the headlines before the race, having been cleared to race less than four hours before the start and having travelled back from an operation in Barcelona. Rossi’s afternoon started from fourth on the grid. A decisive pass on LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl saw the Yamaha rise to third in a very strong move at the chicane as the first lap came to a close. The Italian then proceeded to hunt down the Hondas, dispatching of Marquez on Lap 4 and Pedrosa on Lap 6 in what was a similar move to that of 2007. He would go on to take an emotional victory by 2.1 seconds.
Marquez’s second place boosts his championship situation, finishing ahead of both Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Having sealed his first front row starting position since Le Mans, the 20-year-old rookie ran third but caught Pedrosa on the 18th lap; his first attempt to overtake failed, but the reigning Moto2™ champion made the most of his next opportunity and seized second spot on the drag to the first corner.
Pedrosa would fall back one more place before the chequered flag, losing out to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow who was fortunate to avoid a crash when he touched Marquez’s rear wheel on the final lap. Although fourth is Pedrosa’s worst result since Round 1 in Qatar, he still extends his championship lead by two points.
Lorenzo was mightily relieved to have scored 11 points, having suffered a heavy crash on Thursday before being operated on in the early hours of Friday morning. He arrived back at Assen on Friday afternoon and was given the green light to race after 11 o’clock this morning. Having risen to the top five from 12th on the grid by only the second lap, he ran as high as fourth but fell back as pain began to kick in.
Sixth place went to Bradl, who, from his first ever MotoGP front row, had briefly snatched second at the start, whereas GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista overhauled leading CRT rider, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, for seventh with six laps to go. On the final lap Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden lost two places and fell to 11th, dropping behind Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and his own teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Avintia Blusens’ Ivan Silva finished 23rd covering for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama, whereas Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek was the sole retirement.
Valentino Rossi’s success is his first since returning to Yamaha and, as well as being his 80th win in the top tier, is his 106th career victory and eighth at Assen.
-- MotoGP™ Race Classification - Round 7 - Assen
1 Valentino Rossi 41'25.202 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
2 Marc Marquez +2.170 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Cal Crutchlow +4.073 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Dani Pedrosa +7.832 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Jorge Lorenzo +15.510 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
6 Stefan Bradl +27.519 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
7 Alvaro Bautista +31.598 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
8 Aleix Espargaro +32.405 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
9 Bradley Smith +33.751 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
10 Andrea Dovizioso +33.801 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Nicky Hayden +34.371 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
12 Randy De Puniet +57.674 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
13 Andrea Iannone +1'01.424 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
14 Michele Pirro +1'01.561 ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
15 Karel Abraham +1'04.426 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
16 Danilo Petrucci +1'11.114 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
17 Colin Edwards +1'15.249 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Claudio Corti +1'24.884 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Yonny Hernandez +1'25.854 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
20 Hector Barbera +1'25.978 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
21 Bryan Staring +1'26.256 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
22 Michael Laverty +1'26.610 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
23 Ivan Silva +1'38.173 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
24 Lukas Pesek DNF CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
-- Championship standings
1 Dani Pedrosa 136 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 127 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Marc Marquez 113 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Cal Crutchlow 87 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Valentino Rossi 85 pts ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
6 Andrea Dovizioso 65 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Stefan Bradl 51 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
8 Nicky Hayden 50 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Alvaro Bautista 47 pts SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
10 Aleix Espargaro 44 pts SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
11 Bradley Smith 41 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
12 Michele Pirro 30 pts ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
13 Andrea Iannone 24 pts ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
14 Randy De Puniet 15 pts FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
15 Danilo Petrucci 13 pts ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
16 Hector Barbera 13 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
17 Colin Edwards 10 pts USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Ben Spies 9 pts USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
19 Yonny Hernandez 6 pts COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
20 Claudio Corti 4 pts ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
21 Michael Laverty 3 pts GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
22 Karel Abraham 3 pts CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
23 Bryan Staring 2 pts AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
24 Javier Del Amor 1 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
25 Hiroshi Aoyama 1 pts JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
26 Ivan Silva 0 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
27 Lukas Pesek 0 pts CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
28 Blake Young 0 pts USA APR CRT Attack Performance
Moto2™ title rivals Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding went toe to toe at Assen on Saturday, with the Spaniard triumphing in the Iveco TT Assen. Switzerland’s Dominique Aegerter finished third after leading earlier in the race, confirming his second ever podium finish after Valencia 2011.
On a weekend full of dramas, the first retirement came before the race had even started as 2010 class champion Toni Elias crashed on the Warm-Up lap. As the lights went out, Marc VDS Racing Team’s championship leader Redding quickly dispatched of Espargaro and his Tuenti HP 40 teammate Esteve Rabat to seize the lead.
The front battle hit fever pitch on the eighth tour. Espargaro had retaken the lead from Redding but, as the Englishman dived up the inside of the first corner, both men went wide and it was Aegerter who led the race to the delight of his team. As the front end pace increased, he would drop back into a battle with Rabat and Johann Zarco.
Espargaro handed the lead to Redding on the 20th tour, then following closely before mounting a strong challenge into Turn 1 at the start of the final lap. He would keep the top spot, defending at every one of Assen’s 18 corners. More last lap drama saw Rabat plummet from third to fifth, handing the final rostrum position to Aegerter on the Suter, while Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio finished fourth.
The aforementioned Zarco ended his day in sixth place for Came IodaRacing Project, with the rest of the top ten all crossing the line somewhat spaced out; positions seven to ten were filled by Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon, Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi, Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres and QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West.
A total of four riders failed to make the finish. Following the pre-race demise of Elias, there were crashes for NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi, Blusens Avintia’s Kyle Smith and JiR Moto2’s Mike di Meglio.
Moto2™ Race Classification
1- Pol Espargaro ITA Kalex 39:51.883
2- Scott Redding GBR Kalex +0.017
3- Dominique Aegerter SWI Suter +3.509
Luis Salom has increased his Moto3™ championship lead by winning Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. His advantage increases to ten points over Maverick Viñales, who lost the top spot by running wide in the final moments of the race. Alex Rins completed the podium after leading for many of the 22 laps.
Friday had seen Miguel Oliveira become the first-ever Portuguese rider to clinch pole position in any class, also picking up the first Moto3 pole for Mahindra Racing. He would finish the race fourth and involved in a titanic five-rider battle for the lead, with Salom picking up his third consecutive win and fourth of 2013.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom started fourth, having lost provisional pole position after running off-track in qualifying. He took second in the early stages of the race before dropping back to fourth position and holding station. His late-race attack – fast becoming a typical strategy of the Mallorcan – would begin in earnest three laps from home, pulling an impressive move on Rins for second.
It looked as though Viñales had the race won thanks to the fight taking place behind, but the Team Calvo rider’s wide line on the exit of Ramshoek was just the invitation Salom needed on the last lap. They would cross the finish line just a tenth of a second apart, with Alex Marquez dropping to fifth as Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Rins completed the podium.
Rins headed the field for the majority of the race and by Lap 10 had pulled out a lead of 1.3 seconds, but this was quickly decreased as Salom in particular upped the pace of the chasing group. 19 seconds behind the top five, Jonas Folger was sixth for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3, with Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller a further eight seconds in arrears.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Arthur Sissis, Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou and Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo rounded out the top ten, while both CIP Moto3’s Juanfran Guevara and Ambrogio Racing’s Danny Webb were injured in crashes; the Spaniard was taken to Assen hospital for a CT scan following a first-corner accident, whereas the Englishman fractured his right wrist and was attended to in the Clinica Mobile.
Salom’s feat marks only the second time a rider has won three consecutive races in the Moto3™ class.
Arthur Sissis - "It was a good race. I got a nice start and was up with the front guys in the early laps. I was not able to stay with them because Jack [Miller] and I tussled too much and they escaped. Our battle lasted to the end, when I tried to overtake him on the final braking point, but he was very strong and I could not beat him today. However, finishing eighth after so many bad weekends is a step forward. The whole weekend went well, even the qualifying session, and that makes a big difference in the race. I am very happy with the work we have done and hope we can continue this way."
Moto3™ Race Classification
1- Luis Salom SPA KTM 38:20.086
2- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM +0.122
3- Alex Rins SPA KTM +0.282
-- Yamaha Report
Valentino Rossi delivered a faultless performance today to win the Grand Prix of The Netherlands, his 80th Premier class victory and his first win since 2010. Having shown race winning pace all weekend in all conditions ‘The Doctor’ was faultless in today’s TT race. The nine-time World Champion held his fourth position from the grid into the first turn then started looking for a way past Stefan Bradl for third. By the second lap he was past and with just 22 laps to go he moved past Marc Marquez into the first corner for second, beginning the hunt for Dani Pedrosa and victory. It took just one lap more and Rossi was able to dive past Pedrosa into the final chicane for a race lead he would hold to the flag, crossing the line to a sea of yellow flags and a well deserved return to form. The win puts Rossi on 85 points, now just two behind Cal Crutchlow in fourth place.
While his teammate rightly deserved the honours for an amazing victory, Jorge Lorenzo also shone today. The World Champion gave everything he had and more, defying the pain from collarbone surgery just 36 hours ago in a heroic effort to race. Lorenzo had started from 12th on the grid but had risen to eighth by turn three. By the second lap he had climbed to fifth and was chasing down satellite Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow in fourth. With 23 laps to go he had passed Crutchlow and began to close the gap to Marquez in third. As the laps wound down exhaustion set in and with 11 to go Lorenzo was re-passed by Crutchlow. With grim determination he managed to maintain pace for fifth position and rolled into the Yamaha pits to an applauding team. The remarkable feat means Lorenzo holds second in the Championship and is just nine points behind Pedrosa as they head to Sachsenring in two weeks time.
Valentino Rossi 1st / 41'25.202 / 26 Laps
“Today was something special, this is one of the best victories in my career because it is one of the most wanted and expected for such a lot of time. I’m so happy because I won a real race where all my opponents were very strong and very fast, apart from Jorge with his injury. It was great from the beginning, I had a good feeling, I could overtake on braking and I felt good on the bike. It was difficult but the finish line was calling me so I had to arrive as fast as possible. We have made a step with the bike, I can ride in a better way so we have to try and stay with the top guys every weekend. Jorge rode an incredible race, we have to say a special great congratulations because he had great courage to do this and also he made an important step for his Championship.”
Jorge Lorenzo 5th / +15.510 / 26 Laps
“It would have been impossible to believe some minutes after my crash that this could happen. We were brave to make the operation the same day, if I had waited to Friday the doctors would not have let me race. We made the race today and I was very brave in the first laps because passing the riders with a collarbone like this under braking was really hard. I felt quite good physically at the beginning of the race but after lap seven every lap was worse; it was more difficult to change direction, to brake and to accelerate so I couldn't do more than fifth position. We only lost two points to Dani who is leading the Championship. This fifth position is better than any victory I have had in my career. I hope to have a good recovery for Germany, I will not be 100% but I hope to be better than here. The victory for Valentino and the third for Crutchlow are good for the Championship, I would have preferred Cal to finish in front of Marc but you can’t always have perfection! I am happy for Valentino, more than two years without winning has been hard for him so I’m happy for my box partner. After Aragon I think he made some improvements and here he took profit from the opportunity. Lets see what happens in Sachsenring as last year we had some issues and the Hondas were strong but I think if I can improve my physical condition I can be more competitive than this race.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“If you would have asked me a quote before the race I would have said we need to finish and get some points. To fight for the first fifteen laps at least and to be there with the front boys was unbelievable for Jorge. Finishing fifth, having Vale winning the race and having Cal also on the podium is great for Yamaha. The result is great for us as we lose just two points to Dani. I think that is what this race was all about, damage control, we had to try to finish and for sure not to crash.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It has been a double victory today, so great for both results. Vale is back with a victory after two years and eighth months and the last one was also with Yamaha so it has been a great result for all of us. We were also able to gain some points against our competitors so for me it was a very special victory. Jorge did something really incredible. He showed he has the determination that is not normal. That he could race having had surgery just two days ago, has been very impressive, I know what a rider can physically feel when you are on the bike and injured. At the end we also only lost two points to Pedrosa. For me this is going to be an unforgettable weekend. We will leave this place in a really good mood and for sure we are going to start the next weekend totally full gas.”
Crutchlow returns to podium in Assen thriller
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow made a stunning return to the podium in a classic Dutch TT encounter this afternoon. The 26-lap battle was a nail-biting affair from start to finish and a fantastic charge in the second half of the race secured British rider Crutchlow a third rostrum in the last four races and ensured once again that he was unmatched as the outstanding non-factory rider.
Starting from pole position for the first time in his premier class career after a sensational qualifying performance yesterday, Crutchlow found himself down in fifth place in a frenetic opening to the 65th running of the historic Dutch TT. With 90,000 fans gripped by the exciting action, Crutchlow’s podium challenge commenced when he seized fourth from heroic reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who just 48 hours after breaking his left collarbone in practice was producing a superhuman effort to keep the podium in his sights early on. Crutchlow disposed of Lorenzo’s threat at the final chicane on lap 15 and he then moved into the rostrum places with an identical move to get by World Championship leader Dani Pedrosa on lap 21. The former World Supersport’s blistering speed then saw him brilliantly hunt down Marc Marquez for second as the race reached an enthralling climax. Eager to equal the career best second place he scored in Le Mans last month, Crutchlow came close to pulling off a thrilling overtake at the first corner on the final lap. Marquez though was not to be outdone and after coming close to contact, Crutchlow momentarily ran off track before recovering to claim a richly deserved fifth MotoGP podium that keeps him in fourth position in the World Championship standings.
Bradley Smith produced yet another hugely encouraging display, the British rookie finishing inside the top 10 for the fifth race in a row. Starting alongside eventual winner Valentino Rossi and Pedrosa on the second row after a career best qualifying performance, Smith did his best to keep himself in the hunt for the top six in the early stages to try and gain vital experience from the fastest riders in the world. Struggling in the hard braking zones with discomfort from a recovery left wrist injury, Smith slipped outside of the top 10 but refused to settle for an 11th position he held from the fifth to the last lap. Locked in a battle with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, Smith produced a stunning last lap attack to finish ahead of both to claim ninth for the third time in the last four races.
Cal Crutchlow 3rd – 87 points:
“I am really happy to be back on the podium after the disappointment of Barcelona. It was a great battle right to the end and once again I showed my speed and I was close to finishing second and that would have matched my best result in MotoGP. But obviously after starting from pole position I wanted to win the race and had it not been for me struggling with the full fuel tank in the first five laps, I think I had a chance to fight with Valentino. I can’t turn the bike on a full fuel load and then Jorge passed me and he was riding amazing considering his physical condition. It took me a while to get back by him but then I chased down Dani and Marc but it was a case of too little, too late. It was close with Marc on the last lap and I think we touched, so we were lucky he got back on the throttle when he did otherwise both of us could have been in the grandstand! Being back on the podium is great for Monster, Tech 3 and Yamaha and it is another positive result for the Championship. Before the start of the season, if somebody had said I would have been on the podium three times in seven races and been so consistently fast with the best riders in the world, then I would have been happy. Now we go to Germany in a positive frame of mind and hoping to get back on the rostrum again.”
Bradley Smith 9th – 41 points:
“With my wrist injury continuing to cause me a problem, today was probably my hardest race of the year. After the operation immediately after Catalunya I expected it to be better than the last two races but to be honest I have a few more problems now. So it was a good race and to be able to get ninth on the last lap is a good situation. The distance to Bradl was quite similar to Barcelona and truthfully this ninth feels better than the sixth I got in Barcelona because today I really had to battle and nobody crashed. The gap to the front is quite similar to Barcelona and obviously the big positive of the weekend was starting on the second row. I knew finishing seventh was going to be a best case scenario because I knew Jorge was going to be coming through. I stayed consistent and my pace in the second half of the race was strong. I still need to work on the set-up for the early laps but I can go to Germany with a lot of confidence. I’ve scored another top 10 and beaten two very experienced riders on the final lap. And hopefully the wrist will be less of a problem at Germany and I can be in a bit less discomfort than here.”
-- HRC Report
Repsol Honda RC213V riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez both took profit from today’s Dutch TT at Assen. The younger rider Marquez had the better result, finishing second to continue a run of top-three finishes interrupted only once in his first MotoGP season; but Pedrosa had the comfort of extending his overall points lead, with a strong fourth place.
A crowd of 90,000 fans made the journey to the north of The Netherlands to the classic Assen circuit, to be rewarded with yet another close and exciting race, won by popular former multi-champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), his first victory since 2010. It was the climax to a dramatic weekend, when all top three championship rivals suffered crashes in damp and difficult practice sessions.
Pedrosa was lucky to escape injury, but Marquez was nursing not only painful bruising but also a fracture in the little finger of his right hand, and another in his right foot. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) broke his collar-bone on Thursday, underwent surgery that night, and returned to the track for the Saturday race, finishing fifth.
Marquez’s second place was his second this year in the MotoGP class after winning the Moto2 World Championship last year. He claimed a first win at only his second MotoGP race at Austin in Texas, second place at Jerez in round three, and has been third at every other race except in Italy for round five, when he crashed out while lying second.
He qualified second at Assen – his fourth time on the front row, but was displaced on the run into the first corner by flying team-mate Pedrosa. Marquez stayed with the older Repsol Honda RC213V rider as Rossi came past both of them on lap six of 26, and the trio kept close company as the laps counted down.
Then as Pedrosa’s pace dropped Marquez finally got ahead after several attempts with nine laps to go. He chased Rossi in vain, and at the end successfully fended of a fierce attack from third-placed Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha).
Pedrosa’s race started well, but the feeling didn’t last for the points leader, who has won twice this year so far. He took the lead into the first corner with a familiar jack-rabbit start from the second row; and stayed there for the first five laps, controlling the pace.
But the Spanish racer was expecting difficulties in the later laps. He’d been chasing grip issues all weekend, and as the tyres wore they returned with a vengeance. His valiant defence of second was eventually in vain, and by the end of the race he had dropped back, to finish fourth behind Crutchlow. It was the first time he has finished below second in the last five races.
German LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl finished a lone sixth after a steady race. He had lost positions off the start in the early laps as he struggled to regain the feeling that gave him his first-ever front-row qualifying position; but was steadfast in sixth, comfortably clear of the opposition.
That came from Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista, four seconds behind Bradl but less than one ahead of his race-long rival Aleix Espargaro (ART). After crashing out of the last two races, the Spanish former 125cc World Champion was anxious to secure a safe finish, but had his hands full with the persistent Espargaro to the finish.
Australian grand prix first-timer Bryan Staring (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) was 21st on the Honda CBR1000RR-powered CRT machine, crossing the line fourth in a close group of five battling riders. Eighteenth to 22nd places were covered by less than two seconds.
The battle in the all-Honda-powered Moto2 class went all the way, with Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) regaining the lead from championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) on the last lap, after the pair had outstripped the opposition to run away together after half-distance of the 24-lap race. They were separated by barely a tenth of a second over the line. The result meant that Espargaro clawed back five points from the British rider, but Redding’s lead still stands at a comfortable 30 points.
An absorbing battle for third was also decided after a frantic final lap saw positions change almost corner by corner. Over the line Switzerland’s Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) narrowly claimed the last rostrum spot by just over a tenth, from second Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex rider Mika Kallio, Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) and Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project Suter). All five crossed the line within just over half a second.
Nico Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) finished out of the points in 18th.
Australian Jack Miller (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) was again the top Honda rider in the Moto3 class, claiming a fine seventh place, still in strong pursuit of the leading group while also fighting off the attentions of compatriot Arthur Sissis (KTM).
The battling pair were comfortably clear of a massive mid-field battle, where Honda riders played a leading role. Ninth place to 21st crossed the line in less than four seconds – the winner of the battle was Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda rider Alexis Masbou, with the next-best Honda just two places behind – the Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda rider Isaac Vinales.
Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) was in the thick of it, claiming one point for 15th place to remain the top Honda in the championship, one point ahead of Miller.
The next race is the German GP at the Sachsenring, in two weeks.
Honda MotoGP rider quotes
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“Overall the pace was faster than I had expected. At the start and throughout the race both Dani and Valentino were very strong. In fact, Valentino was simply faster than us today. I could only pass Dani towards the end because at first I had a lot of trouble. Once I was ahead of Dani, I tried to catch Valentino, but my arm began to affect me and I couldn’t brake in my normal way, due to my injured finger. In the end we took 20 points after a good battle with Cal, and I think I defended pretty well against him. In general, we can say we’ve done a good job all weekend. I would also like to congratulate Valentino, as it’s always good for motorcycle racing when he is up at the front.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th
“Today I started well, saving a crash at the very beginning with cold tyres, and I was able to continue and put in some good laps. Then I had problems with the tyres, both in the front and the rear. Still, I tried to hold on for as long as possible, because I don’t want it to be an excuse. I sat behind Rossi for several laps, then as the race progressed it was more and more difficult to keep up, especially when Marc and Crutchlow caught me. I guess everyone was sliding around behind us, but I found I couldn’t control the bike on entry to some corners and that made me lose touch, especially in the closing laps. Overall this weekend we had very negative feelings and in the end we managed an okay race. Now it is time to move on, relax and get ready for the next round. Finally, congratulations to Jorge, because what he did today and how he did it was very impressive. I take my hat off to him.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 6th
“Honestly we are not completely happy because we were expecting a better result after our first front row. Sixth is still okay, but we missed something to catch the guys in front. Actually we could not repeat yesterday’s lap times, and I felt the bike was heavier to turn. This cost us a lot of time in corner entries. Some riders passed me in the beginning on brakes because I was not able to fix my braking point, and I struggled to find my references. I was not able to put the things together and reduce the gap to the front. Now we move to Argentina for a two-day test session, and then my home race at the Sachsenring. I am really looking forward to racing in front of my local fans.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini, 7th
“We finished the race, and this was above all the main goal of this weekend. It’s a small consolation but after two setbacks this was very important. In the race I didn’t have a perfect feeling with the bike, because it was unstable and moving around a lot. Unfortunately with the weather conditions being so variable we didn’t have the time required to find the best setup. At first I tried to stay calm by getting heat into the tyres, trying not to take excessive risks. Maybe I lost a bit too much time then, and later from the middle of the race I had problems with the rear brake and I could not slow down as I wanted. It took a few laps to adapt to the situation, and after that I tried to finish in the best possible way. It was not really a good race, but it was important to finish in order to think about the future with greater serenity.
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini, 21st
“I was convinced that I could do much better. For a while I battled as part of the group but then I was not consistent enough until the end. For this reason I am a little disappointed with my performance. It’s further experience, but I would have preferred to end it with a different result. However, I’ve learned some important things that I hope to put into practice in future races.
Honda Moto2 rider quotes
Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP 40 Pons, race winner
This whole weekend I have felt so confident – and felt so good with my bike. Through the race it was the same, and finally Scott and I had an incredible battle in the last laps. I was faster through the third and fourth sectors, he was faster than me in the first two. He wanted to close the door as we started the last lap, but I managed to do it. Thanks to my team. Now we must continue to work and recover points on Scott.
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team, 2nd
“Normally I’d be disappointed with finishing second, but not today. It was a close race and it was good for me to know I could put pressure on Pol throughout, despite him having a bit of a speed advantage on the straight. I could pass him in the first sector but he would just come back at me in sector two or sector four. In the end I went through and tried to pull a gap, because I knew it would be difficult to hold him off on the last lap if we were close. It was all going to plan, but then the bike jumped out of sixth gear and it was enough for him to close on me again. It was a close fight and Pol made some hard moves, but I was smiling in my helmet for the whole race. It was great fun, so losing out on the win by just a tenth at the end wasn’t as disheartening as it would normally be.”
Dominique Aegerter, Technomag carXpert, 3rd
The race was very difficult. I made a great start and I could fight very well with the front group, and I could even take the lead for one or two laps. But it’s not so easy to fight with these people, and in the middle of the race I lost a bit of confidence with the front. Then when Zarco and Rabat passed me, I could get the confidence back. Thanks to the team for a good job, they gave me a good bike and I am very happy with my second podium.
Honda Moto3 rider quotes
Jack Miller, Caretta Technology-RTG, 7th
“The bike was really good for the first eight laps and I had a good start … but I got stuck behind Arthur Sissis for a few laps and we lost touch with the leaders. I destroyed the tyres after ten laps, and I was losing the front all over the place. There was another good battle with Sissis at the end, and I managed to fight him off. I’m pretty happy. The bike worked great, and we got a decent finish and were top Honda at a track I don’t like very much.”
Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold, 9th
“A good result. This weekend I thought it was possible to start with the fast group, but the gap was too much in the early laps. I got a good rhythm and a lot of times I was in front of the second group and doing my best. There was a big fight in the last laps and we lost a lot of time, but then we saw the front of the group again and got good points again. Not so bad.”
Isaac Vinales, Ongetta-Centro Seta, 11th
“It was a shame not to make it to the top ten. After this successful weekend I was highly motivated to make a good start and try to hook up with the leading group, but in the first two laps I had a hard time finding a good pace because I had some pain in my right shoulder from the fall yesterday. I fought in the second group where it is difficult to gain pace because so many other riders are mixed up with each other. Anyway it was a fun race and I have shown I am a candidate to be top Honda. This give me extra motivation.”
-- Ducati Report
The Ducati Team faced an uphill battle today in the Dutch TT, as Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden struggled with a lack of traction on their way to tenth- and eleventh-place finishes, respectively.
Although the teammates started one row apart, the usual shuffle of the early going had them riding nose-to-tail by lap two. For most of the race, Hayden and Dovizioso occupied ninth and tenth places, but a last-turn tussle between the two Ducati Team riders resulted in them trading spots and Bradley Smith passing them both before the finish line.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Dovizioso and Hayden will be at Misano for a test aimed at finding solutions for improving the competitiveness of the Desmosedici GP13.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 10th
“Considering the expectations, the race didn’t go so badly. I followed Nicky for the entire race, and I rode really hard; it was so tough to do that pace here. The gap is still big, but compared to our gap in practice, we weren’t as far back on lap times. We pushed hard for the whole race, taking risks to try and catch Espargaro and Bautista. We were able to do it, but unfortunately we were really at the limit and weren’t able to battle with them. In the last chicane, I made a pass on Nicky that was on the limit, but I don’t think it was dirty. That chicane is famous for that, but unfortunately our battle on the brakes made us slow on the exit, and Smith passed us on acceleration. It’s a shame, but it just shows our difficult situation. Let’s say we limited the damage somewhat today.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 11th
“It’s been a very hard weekend, right from the beginning. There wasn’t much grip here, which certainly didn’t help us. We tried hard to make the bike better, but we couldn’t ever really get it working. It was quite difficult in the race, especially in change of direction. The bike was moving a lot, and I was pushing the front in a couple of the fast corners. I was really at the limit, and every time I tried to push a little harder to close the gap, I’d run a bit wide or lose the front. On the last lap, I didn’t get a good run through turn 15 and Dovi came up the inside and pushed us both wide, so Smith beat us both to the line. It was a racing move, and anyway, the real problem is we got beat by 33 seconds, which shows how far behind we are.”
Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director
“It’s not easy to talk about a race like today’s. We knew that Assen was a circuit that didn’t favour the characteristics of our bike, but today’s result is obviously very disappointing. We realized right from the start of Thursday practice that it would be a difficult weekend, and unfortunately, despite our technicians’ hard work and our riders’ best efforts, we weren’t able to improve the situation. Next week we’ll be at Misano with our test riders and our team riders. We’re expecting three days of hard work to find solutions to make our bike more competitive.”
-- Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium-soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 17-18°C; Track 29-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Valentino Rossi rode superbly for his first victory since returning to the Yamaha Factory Racing team, the Italian rider taking full advantage of his best qualifying position of the season to take the top step of the podium at Assen.
Starting the race on the second row in fourth position, Rossi worked his way through the front-runners and once seizing the lead on lap six was never headed, going on to take the chequered flag by 2.170 seconds. In second place on the Repsol Honda RC213V was Marc Marquez, the MotoGP rookie resisting a late charge from Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow who claimed his third podium of the year by finishing in third place. Aleix Espargaro finished in eighth place today on the Power Electronics Aspar ART to once more claim honours in the CRT class.
Track temperatures today were at the highest level recorded all weekend, with a peak measurement of 32°C recorded in the latter half of the twenty-six lap race. The warmer conditions resulted in some riders making a late decision to switch to the harder front slick option, with all but two of the riders selecting this tyre for the race. Rear tyre choice was uniform across the grid, with all riders selecting the softer rear slick available to them; the medium-soft compound rear slick for the works riders, and the soft compound rear slick for the CRT riders.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa still leads the MotoGP™ championship standings after placing fourth in today’s race, extending his points lead over Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo – who bravely rode with a broken collarbone to fifth place – to nine points. Marquez remains third overall and twenty-three points off the championship lead.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“It is very good to see Valentino back on the top step of the podium and I would like to extend my congratulations to him and Yamaha on their excellent performance today. I must also make a special mention for Jorge, as to ride like he did today with his injury was truly inspirational and the mark of a true champion. The weather finally made a change for the better today which helped give us good conditions for the race, and it is always great to see such a large and passionate crowd at this circuit. The weather for most of the weekend here was very cool and wet which made it very challenging for riders and resulted in some crashes, so I am pleased that today’s race was completed without any further incidents.”
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today was the first time this race weekend we had two dry sessions and this was important as it allowed the teams to fine-tune their setup, something that was made difficult due to the rain we experienced the previous two days. It was also warmer today and with the higher track temperatures, the need for warm-up performance was not so important which meant a strong trend towards the harder front slick, with all but two riders selecting this option. All riders selected the softer option rear slick as although the track was warmer, no riders had a chance to assess the performance of the harder rear slick in the practice sessions. It was a positive weekend for Bridgestone as our tyre allocation for this race worked well in the poor weather and I am encouraged by how our heat-resistant rear slicks performed in their first appearance at Assen. Our decision to develop this specification of slick for the Dutch Grand Prix is another example of our dedication to continually improve our tyres to ensure MotoGP riders get the highest level of safety and performance.”
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“I’m happy but I can’t believe it because it’s a great feeling to have won again. I never gave up and have always worked hard as it is my passion to race motorcycles and I have to thank Yamaha for giving me another chance with an M1 in the Factory team. It was a long race and I fought with Marc, Dani and Cal but I was faster today, so thank you to everyone who helped me with this victory and now we need to continue in this way.”
The third victory of the season for Karel Hanika and an Assen double for the 17-year-old Czech. He won the Dutch TT round in a battle to the line with Italian 14-year-old Stefano Manzi and Jorge Martin, the 15-year-old Spaniard who was 2nd in Race 1.
It was a pack of five that flashed across the finish line with 17-year-old Dutchman Scott Deroue fourth and Diego Perez, the 15 year old Spaniard, completing the group. A fabulous battle as Hanika had to fight for every corner despite being a second quicker than anyone in qualifying and winning Race 1.
“It was tough, a very different race to yesterday,” said Hanika. “The others were all still there at the finish and I had to push all the way. I tried to break away in front but I couldn't and this time there were no tactics at the end. I knew that the others were right with me and I just had to be perfect on the last lap and brake as late as possible for the chicane. It was a great race and it is been a perfect weekend, a big help to the championship.”
Manzi had been such a star of Race 1 until the error at the final corner and this time made no mistakes. “I got a better start so I did not have to do so much work early on and we had a great battle. I really was trying so hard to win and on the last lap I did everything I could but I know how good Hanika is on the brakes and there was no point in making the same mistake as yesterday.”
Martin was thrilled with another fine ride as he strengthened his second place in the points table. “It was another fun race, I am very happy with that. After yesterday's handling problems we changed the front for a bit but it really didn't help so I was still fighting with it but that's more good points and a great race.”
Martin had seemed to be out of the hunt for the podium with just over a lap to go as Hanika led Manzi and Deroue clear but then Hanika ran wide and over the kerb exiting the Strubben onto the back straight. That shook things up enough for Martin to get back on terms and he pulled Perez with him.
Deroue had his share of the lead and looked as strong as anyone, cheered on by the patriotic crowd. “It was another great race. I'm disappointed not to get on the podium. I really thought I could do it but on the last lap just as I wanted to get the slipstream and catch them through the fast corners leading to the chicane I didn't get my usual good drive out of the slower right at the far end of the track and so I couldn't pass them. That was it, disappointing but better than yesterday. I was thinking about that and I didn't want it to happen again.”
Perez was happy enough with fifth having done everything he could. “I was close all the way, we had a great battle but on the last lap I just wasn't close enough to make a move to get on the rostrum.”
Hanika extends his lead to 42 points over Jorge Martin with 6 of 14 races completed. Enea Bastianini, the 15-year-old Italian in his first Cup season, moves into third place a further 28 behind as Bradley Ray slips to fourth. It was a disastrous weekend for the 16-year-old Briton who was knocked off in the first race and suffered a technical failure while well in the hunt in Race 2. The next races are at the Sachsenring on July 13th and 14th.
-- Qualifying - MotoGP 2013 - Round Seven - Assen
-- Career-first pole for Cal Crutchlow as Jorge Lorenzo returns to Assen
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow will start from his first ever GP pole position for Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider will share the front row with Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo missed qualifying after his crash on Thursday, however following an overnight operation has returned to Assen to undergo a fitness test tomorrow morning before Warm Up for a possible return.
A truly dramatic qualifying session for the 65th World Championship Dutch TT concluded with several riders grabbing provisional pole position, only to be demoted by their rivals just moments later. Rain had fallen earlier in the day but would not disrupt the grid-deciding period.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, Bradl and Marquez all provisionally held the top spot before Crutchlow delivered the pole time of 1’34.398 to become the first British MotoGP™ pole-sitter since Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2002. Behind him, Marquez qualified in the top three for the first time since Le Mans and 2011 Moto2™ title winner Bradl sealed his first front row start in the premier class. Honda’s Dani Pedrosa had looked likely to collect his third consecutive pole, but crashed at De Bult with six and a half minutes remaining and would tumble to fifth.
Rossi qualified fourth, his best qualifying this year, whereas Tech 3’s Bradley Smith will line up behind Pedrosa in sixth – also his best grid position to date. The third row will be headed up by Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who further raised the bar as the best ever CRT qualifier. It was also a positive day for teammate Randy de Puniet, who was quickest in Q1 and will start ninth.
Q1 was also full of surprises. Andrea Iannone crashed his Energy T.I. Pramac Racing machine when challenging for a place in the shootout, which leaves him 13th on the grid. Two places further back, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso could manage no more than 15th, which is his worst grid position since joining the top class in 2008. The field is completed by Ivan Silva, back on the grid with Avintia Blusens as substitute to Hiroshi Aoyama, who picked up hand injuries at the last round in Barcelona.
During Q1 there was also an incident during which Avintia’s Hector Barbera was deemed to have impeded Dovizioso on the racing line, after which the Italian kicked out at the CRT rider in displeasure. Both riders were given one penalty point by Race Direction for their actions.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1 Cal Crutchlow 1'34.398 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
2 Marc Marquez 1'34.755 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Stefan Bradl 1'34.878 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
4 Valentino Rossi 1'34.974 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Dani Pedrosa 1'35.006 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
6 Bradley Smith 1'35.454 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Aleix Espargaro 1'35.500 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
8 Alvaro Bautista 1'35.508 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
9 Randy De Puniet 1'35.622 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
10 Nicky Hayden 1'35.908 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Michele Pirro 1'36.866 ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
12 Jorge Lorenzo 1'35.263 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
13 Andrea Iannone 1'36.432 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
14 Hector Barbera 1'36.490 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
15 Andrea Dovizioso 1'36.524 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
16 Danilo Petrucci 1'36.695 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
17 Karel Abraham 1'36.791 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
18 Colin Edwards 1'37.143 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Bryan Staring 1'37.315 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
20 Claudio Corti 1'37.625 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
21 Yonny Hernandez 1'37.781 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
22 Michael Laverty 1'38.378 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
23 Lukas Pesek 1'38.704 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
24 Ivan Silva 1'39.077 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
Pol Espargaro has claimed pole position for Saturday’s Moto2™ Iveco TT Assen. The Tuenti HP 40 rider will start alongside Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco and Marc VDS Racing Team’s championship leader Scott Redding.
The historic Assen TT Circuit has already been subject to much rain this weekend, not least this morning when the final Moto2 practice session was red flagged for half an hour due to a crash for QMMF Racing’s Rafid Topan Sucipto; the Indonesian rider would go on to qualify at the back of the grid despite an injured left foot.
Espargaro sits second in the riders’ standings to Redding, 35 points in arrears. His second pole in a row and third of the 2013 season came in the form of 1’38.734, edging out Zarco by just over a tenth of a second. Behind Redding, Row 2 is headed up by Espargaro’s teammate Esteve Rabat who suffered a crash during the session.
Xavier Simeon and Anthony West complete the second row for Desguaces La Torre Maptaq and QMMF Racing, respectively, while Row 3 will be occupied by NGM Mobile Racing’s Mattia Pasini, Marc VDS’ Mika Kallio and JiR Moto2’s Mike di Meglio. Independent wildcard Gino Rea will line up 24th.
Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Pol Espargaro SPA Kalex 1:38.734
2- Johann Zarco FRA Suter +0.099
3- Scott Redding GBR Kalex +0.145
Miguel Oliveira has earned the first Moto3™ pole position for Mahindra Racing, having set an identical Assen lap time with Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez just before. Maverick Viñales will start on the front row for Team Calvo, whereas championship leader Luis Salom held pole until retiring from the session with four minutes to go.
A threat of rain saw the majority of riders streaming out of the pits in the opening moments with the sole aim of posting competitive dry weather lap times. No showers would come during the session, which resulted in a quiet patch before track activity increased for the final efforts in the closing 15 minutes of the session.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s championship leader Salom looked to have sealed the top spot, but ran off-track and was unable to restart his KTM. His rivals proceeded to push hard and just thousandths of a second separated those filling places two to five. Oliveira delivered 1’43.588 before Marquez matched it just seconds later; pole goes to the former - for posting the time first - and he becomes the first Portuguese rider in history to achieve pole position in any of the three classes of the World Championship.
Salom will start fourth and one position behind Viñales, who is his closest title rival, whereas Marquez’s teammate Alex Rins and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger complete Row 2; incidentally, the German saw one lap being removed for exceeding track limits. On the sidelines, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin.
Arthur Sissis - "Thanks to the work done between yesterday and today, it was a pretty good qualifying session. We found a good setup for the race. It has been difficult due to the track conditions, with some areas of the track cold and wet and others windy, plus the traffic slowed the pace down. I think I could have gone quicker —in fact, I set my time by myself— so tomorrow can be a good race. The feeling in the wet is not bad, and we set a pretty fast pace in the morning."
Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Miguel Oliveira POR Mahindra 1:43.588
2- Alex Marquez SPA KTM 1:43.588
3- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM +0.061
-- Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi secured fourth position in qualifying today for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Netherlands. After a wet morning practice the nine-time world champion enjoyed a dry qualifying session this afternoon, initially climbing to fourth position on his first set of rubber. With eight minutes remaining of the 15 minute quick-fire session Rossi pitted for a new rear tyre before heading back out. As the last minutes ticked down the pace increased and a potential pole position looked possible as he topped the time sheets with a 1’34.974 lap. A late flurry of hot laps from rivals as the clock hit zero left no time for a reply, leaving the Italian just 0.096 seconds off the front row in fourth for tomorrow’s race.
Having made a significant step forward in set up during the recent Spanish tests Rossi has been strong in both wet and dry conditions this weekend, consistently in the fastest group and showing a very competitive pace for race day.
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo returns to Assen this afternoon after surgery last night in Barcelona to repair a collarbone injury sustained in yesterday’s wet second practice session. Lorenzo did not take part in the qualifying heat.
Valentino Rossi 4th / 1'34.974 / 9 laps
“I’m happy for my speed, my pace and my performance in the practices. I feel good with the setting of the bike. It's a pity I didn't stay on the first row as I think I had the potential to do a little better and stay in the first three. Anyway, I’m fourth, the best qualifying of the season and especially I have a good pace, even after a lot of laps so I’m happy. Now we wait for tomorrow, we have some small modifications to make to the settings and we have to hope that the weather will be good. I hope for a dry race, but if it is wet I hope it is 100% wet, half and half is the worst conditions.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It has been the best qualifying session for Vale this year which is really promising as we know he is more of a racer than a pole man. He has been pretty fast and consistent in all the sessions so it looks like he is ready for tomorrow. It is important because it means we have made a good job in the last week. We are waiting for Jorge’s final status however we look forward to the race with good prospects whatever the weather conditions.”
Dutch delight for Crutchlow with maiden pole position
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow delivered a sensational performance at the historic Assen track in Holland this afternoon to storm to a maiden MotoGP pole position for tomorrow’s Dutch TT. The French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad had double reason to celebrate in cool and cloudy conditions after rookie Bradley Smith produced an equally stunning display to qualify in a career best sixth position for tomorrow’s 26-lap race.
Crutchlow threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the field right from the start of QP2, his first flying lap of 1.35.613 sending him soaring to the top of the timesheets. Bumped down to fourth when he started his last lap attack, he produced an exhibition in controlled and aggressive riding, the 27-year-old almost 0.5s ahead of the best pace as he entered the final section of the legendary Assen track. Having been narrowly beaten to pole position in Qatar and Catalunya, British rider Crutchlow wasn’t to be thwarted again and he grabbed the headlines today with a perfect final lap of 1.34.398 that secured a career first pole position by a comfortable margin of 0.357s over Marc Marquez. Crutchlow’s phenomenal result saw him become the first British rider to claim a MotoGP pole position since Jeremy McWilliams in 2002.
There was plenty to be proud of on the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage this afternoon after Smith’s heroics ensured he will start from the second row of the grid for the first time in his premier class career. Still troubled by pain and discomfort from a recovering left wrist injury he sustained in Mugello recently, Smith brilliantly powered his YZR-M1 machine to sixth position with a best time of 1.35.454. He managed to knock over a second off his pace in nine breathless laps and like Crutchlow he saved his best to last and he will sit alongside Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa on the grid for Assen’s unique Saturday race. Today’s result was easily the 22-year-old’s best in MotoGP qualifying after he had previously started ninth on the grid in Qatar and Le Mans. After racing to a career first top six at the last round in Catalunya, Smith is confident he can produce another strong race tomorrow to strengthen his challenge for a place inside the top 10 in the World Championship standings.
Cal Crutchlow 1st / 1'34.398 / 9 laps
“It feels fantastic to have finally got my first pole position in MotoGP. It might have been a different story if Jorge (Lorenzo) wasn’t injured but you can only beat the guys on track and I did that today. It would have been good to have a dogfight for pole position with Jorge because it was obvious before his crash that he was going to be the man to beat. Hopefully at some stage this year I’ll be having a battle with him for the win. It is a great achievement for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because it is not often a non-factory rider gets a pole position in MotoGP. The competition is incredibly tough but today we showed again that we can compete with the very best. I’m particularly pleased to be on pole because I’ve been struggling a bit with the bike in the dry. I wasn’t happy in FP4 and if we can make the bike calmer there is no reason why I can’t go faster. I’m looking forward to the race now with a lot of confidence and we will see what happens but it could be a big battle hopefully for the fans to watch. Congratulations also to Bradley because he is not in the best physical condition and to be on the second row shows he is making big progress.”
Bradley Smith 6th / 1'35.454 / 9 laps
“Sixth position is a fantastic achievement and I am really happy. With Ducati not performing well at this track I took advantage of that situation and to be only one second away from pole position is also great. Starting on the second row gives me a good chance to follow the factory guys and also Cal if I can. The biggest goal for the race will be to learn as much as I can from racing against the very best in the world. I am expecting a tough race though because Assen is a really physical track and for my wrist it will not be easy to do 26 laps. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile staff again because they have done an awesome job in helping me be as comfortable and pain free as possible. I am feeling more confident with the bike and we found a good base for this track. I’m really excited to see what I can do in the race and congratulations to Cal on his pole position. He’s been riding awesome all season and today we saw once again just how strong the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is.”
-- HRC Report
Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez returned to his front-row qualifying form in a difficult final session at Assen, bouncing back from a heavy crash in the morning. The 20-year-old MotoGP class rookie took pole position after the flag had fallen at the end of the session … only to be displaced to second by the following Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha).
Repsol Honda RC213V team-mate Dani Pedrosa ended up fifth, in the middle of the second row. The Spanish World Championship leader was forced to sit out the second half of the session after slipping off unhurt, but with no time to rejoin on his spare bike.
This left the second-best Honda position to LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl, who seemed to have set his first pole as the flag fell, only to be knocked to third on the far end of the front row by Crutchlow and Marquez, travelling in his wake. It is the German former Moto2 champion’s first time on the front row, in his second year in the premier class.
Typical Assen weather has bedevilled both days of practice, with intermittent light showers keeping temperatures low and now and then sprinkling parts of the 4.54-km circuit. Unpredictable grip levels and the classic circuit’s fast and technically challenging layout led to a number of crashes.
One of the first to go was the main title challenger to the Repsol Honda pair, Jorge Lorenzo, who broke his collarbone in a high-speed crash in free practice on Thursday afternoon. The Yamaha rider had surgery within 12 hours, and may be able to start tomorrow’s race if track doctors give him medical clearance.
This morning reigning Moto2 champion Marquez added his name to the growing crash list, suffering a fractured finger and other minor injuries in a bruising high-side crash. He admitted pain had been a problem in the afternoon, crediting his second-fastest time to the performance of his MotoGP Honda.
Pole position went to British rider Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha), his first.
Pedrosa, on pole here last year, was finally caught out by the slippery surface after setting fastest time in the first part of the crucial final 15-minute qualifying session. He was unhurt but his bike was too damaged to ride back to the pits. By the time he got back to the pit box it was too late to take his spare bike to defend his position, and he had to watch powerless as four riders went faster.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) qualified eighth, in the middle of the third row of the grid. The Spanish former 125cc World Champion combines his role as satellite-team racer with the important role of suspension development tester: he is the only rider on the grid to use Japanese Showa suspension.
Australian grand prix rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) placed his Honda CBR1000RR-powered CRT bike 19th, hoping that prior track knowledge (a rarity for the first-timer) will help to improve his position, after scoring his first World Championship points two weeks ago.
Honours in the all-Honda powered Moto2 class went to Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex), who was dominant throughout. His third pole this season was by the narrowest of margins at the end – less than a tenth of a second, with the opposition stacked up close, and no less than 21 riders qualified within the space of one second from pole.
Second on the grid – his second front row of the year – was Frenchman Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter); while the final front row starter will be championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex). The other leading player, Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) leads the second row after challenging strongly throughout practice.
Redding has a handsome 35-point lead in the class, where a variety of specialist chassis are used, but all competitors use identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines supplied by the organisers, to ensure close and reliable racing. Espargaro and Rabat are chasing the Briton down after he had scored consecutive wins in France and Italy, with both turning the tables in Catalunya two weeks ago, where Redding finished fourth in the race.
Spaniard Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) came through to head a close pack of Hondas in the Moto3 class, where Honda is up against rival factories, with some motors in production-racing chassis and others in specialist prototype chassis.
With Vinales eighth overall, in the middle of row three, the next-best Honda was two places but less than two tenths of a second slower. It was the GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda rider Niccolo Antonelli, himself two places clear of Alexis Masbou’s Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda.
Masbou headed a phalanx of Hondas, with Alan Techer (CIP TSR Honda), Jack Miller (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) filling the next three grid positions.
Rain threatened throughout two days of practice and qualifying, and sometimes fell. Reliably changeable conditions at the circuit in the north of The Netherlands have riders in all classes wondering what the morrow will bring.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V): 2nd – 1m 34.755
“The session went pretty well. It was very important that we took part in qualifying and got this position on the grid, as before FP4 we did not expect to be on the front row. We were certainly not expecting second, because the pain in my finger was really affecting me. When I put my glove on it hurt a lot, as did my back – my foot wasn’t as bad, fortunately. I tried to stay focused on the bike, despite the bruises, and we managed to get a good time. Today we were able to ride a hot lap; tomorrow we will have to see how we manage over 26 laps. The weather will also be a very important factor, because here it has been constantly changing this weekend.”
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V): 3rd – 1m 34.878
“At the end of the session I was following the times on the TV screens and I saw that I was on pole …but I knew that some other riders were coming behind me. For a few minutes I was enjoying the position, then came Marquez and Crutchlow. But I am very pleased with this front row. It is my first in this class, and possibly also the first for a German rider. We’ve struggled with the weather but we found something good in the 30-minute break before final qualifying, and I could use the front tyre better and was able to push hard.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): 5th – 1m 35.006
“We haven’t had any sessions that have been really good for putting in laps and trying out things with the bike. The conditions of the track and weather haven’t really allowed us to improve the setup, because we’ve had very few laps on a completely dry track. However, in qualifying we were able to run a faster pace than the rest of the sessions. Despite the crash, the feeling is a lot better than it was yesterday. So we will see tomorrow if we can get a good start, and have a strong race.”
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 8th – 1m 35.508
“I am not very happy with qualifying today because in free practice we managed to improve the setting compared to yesterday, but for some reason this afternoon I wasn’t as confident with it. Luckily I feel ready for the race, because when we rode with used tyres in FP4 we had a good pace, and if we can get a good start tomorrow I am convinced we can make up a lot of ground. It would have been better to be higher up the grid, but in the end we have to be confident in our race pace.
Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda): 19th – 1m 37.315
“I am happy because we have made some good progress from yesterday and have a decent starting position for the race tomorrow. Now I feel more confident with the bike … and the track, which at least I know my way around. It will be important to get a good start and stay consistent throughout the race if we are to fight with the guys in front of us tomorrow.”
Honda Moto2 Rider quotes
Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40): 1st – 1m 38.734
“We have to keep pushing and make some pressure on Redding – our job is to focus, to be in front all practice, and in the race to be in front of him. This weekend I have been able to do everything right so far. Now we have to wait for the race.”
Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project): 2nd – 1’38.833
“We will see what will happen with the weather tomorrow, but my goal is the podium. I saw that my opponents are very strong. Both Espargaro and Rabat were able to run very well without difficulty. But I feel good too with the bike, and with the track. I have to thank the team that has worked well, giving a bike that can fight with the best. Tomorrow I will do everything I can for the best possible result. Starting forward on this track was a goal I wanted to hit, and we did. The only unknown now is the weather.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team): 3rd – 1m 38.879
“The changeable weather means we’ve had little time to refine the dry setup this weekend, so we were still working to improve the bike during qualifying. The lap time was there; I didn’t feel particularly comfortable doing it and I was a bit too much on the limit … but that’s the way it is sometimes. I was hitting the rev limiter a bit too much in sector two, where I was losing most of my time, so we need to look again at gear ratios tonight. It’s almost there, but we’re just missing a little something right now. If it’s dry tomorrow we have a few ideas to try in warm-up to improve our race setup slightly, but we could race with what we’ve got now if necessary.”
Honda Moto3 Rider quotes
Isaac Vinales (Ongetta-Centro Seta): 8th – 1m 44.424
“I really like this circuit and I’m enjoying riding with the setup we have achieved. I had seventh and eighth position in free practices yesterday. Today I lost the front and had a wet fall, but luckily no damage and no problems in qualifying. We know we need more motor, but I have started very motivated today. We managed to be in the top ten and be the first Honda on the grid, so I have fulfilled those objectives. Now I want to finish the weekend with a good race result.”
Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini): 10th – 1m 44.769
“I am satisfied especially because I set my lap time on my own without using a slipstream, like a lot of my rivals did. I am sure I could have gone faster but this just means I have even more confidence in what I can do tomorrow. It will be important not to get too excited at the start and lose contact with the front guys. I am confident, and hopefully we can have a dry race.”
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold): 12th – 1m 44.814
“I’m not so happy because I felt really good in free practice, but in qualifying not so good. I had a lot of trouble with the wind, which meant I couldn’t push as I wanted. It was my mistake, but we are not so far from the people ahead and in general I feel confident. We need to wait for tomorrow to see what it will bring.”
-- Ducati Report
The difficulties encountered by the Ducati Team during free practice yesterday at the Assen circuit continued in today’s qualifying sessions, and riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s Dutch TT from the fourth and fifth rows, respectively.
A strong wet FP3 performance this morning demonstrated that the team has a good rain setup for the Desmosedici GP13, but the issues in the dry meant both riders had to take part in Q1. That session took place in dry conditions, and while Hayden was able to advance through to Q2, Dovizioso was blocked by another rider on his fast lap. Hayden again struggled with a lack of feeling during the dry Q2 session and finished tenth.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:35.908)
“It’s a tough day for me and the team. After we made some changes overnight, the bike felt better in the wet this morning than yesterday, and I was immediately able to go faster. I was hoping those improvements might carry over into the dry, but then in FP4, the bike was still moving a lot, especially on corner entry. The tyres here have a pretty stiff carcass, which isn’t helping us, and I’m really fighting the bike a lot. I barely advanced through to Q2, and my time in that was over a second slower than in qualifying last year, which is too much. I hate to admit it, but I hope for rain tomorrow.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 15th (1:36.524)
“There’s not much to say: we’re simply not fast, the gap is big, and all of the Ducati riders are really far from the front. Nicky is the fastest among us, and even while riding well, he’s a second and a half back. I didn’t manage to advance into Q2, and I’m sorry for the whole team. Then Barbera came into this already-difficult situation and hindered me during my fast lap, making everything even more complicated. I was pushing and had done a split that was a tenth better when he entered the track in front of me with a new tyre and started to push as well, causing me problems. I know I shouldn’t have gestured at him, but my conscience is clear because I think I’m one of the most respectful riders in the championship. We’re starting from very far back, and it will definitely be a really long and difficult race, but we’ll try our hardest, as always.”
-- Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium-soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Wet. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 15-17°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 17-17°C; Track 22-22°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow’s stunning form this MotoGP™ season hit a new high after the British rider claimed his first ever pole position in an enthralling qualifying session at Assen.
In conditions that were far from easy for the riders due to cool track temperatures and a strong breeze, Crutchlow stopped the clocks on his last lap in QP2 with a time of 1’34.398 that saw him relegate Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez to second place by 0.357 seconds. Qualifying on the front row for the first time in his career was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who secured an excellent third place in qualifying with a best lap time of 1’34.878. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was again the best of the CRT qualifiers, the Spaniard’s quickest lap time of 1’35.500 sees him line up on the third row for tomorrow’s race in seventh position.
In a mirror image of yesterday, today’s on-track action was again affected by rainfall with wet conditions for the morning FP3 session before a dry track presented itself for FP4 and the two qualifying sessions in the afternoon. The wet track for FP3 meant that no riders were able to better their lap times from FP1, so the results determining which riders qualified directly for QP2 remained unchanged from yesterday. Both wet and slick tyres were used in Free Practice 3 as the track conditions quickly changed from wet to dry with some damp patches, creating highly variable grip levels which caught out some riders. For FP4 and qualifying track temperatures reached their maximum level at 22°C, with all riders selecting softer rear slicks to ensure the best grip and warm-up in the cool conditions. Front tyre choice was more varied, with most riders preferring the greater cornering and braking stability of the harder front slick, while other riders seeking the maximum amount of front-end grip possible and selecting the extra-soft compound front slick. As both front slick compounds for Assen are the two softest in Bridgestone’s line-up, both options are well suited to running in cool conditions.
The 65th Dutch TT will start at 1500 local time tomorrow (GMT +2) with the riders taking to the track beforehand for the morning Warm Up session at 0940.
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“That was a truly fantastic qualifying session in conditions that weren’t easy for the riders and congratulations to Cal on his first pole position and also Stefan for his first ever front row in MotoGP. As expected the rain earlier today and cool temperatures meant that grip levels were not optimal and this was reflected in the lap times that were slower than in qualifying last year. Riders had the chance to try wet tyres today on a track that was wet but drying quickly and managing tyre performance in such conditions could be a major factor for the race if we have rain tomorrow. If the race is dry, it seems that all riders will most likely select the softer rear slick, but at the front it is less clear as although the majority of riders seem to prefer the harder front option, if temperatures are cooler tomorrow then some riders may opt for the better edge grip and warm-up performance of the softer front slick.”
-- Red Bull Rookies
Karel Hanika continued his run of success in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup with his second win of the season a perfectly judged victory at the Dutch TT. The 17 year old Czech was pushed all the way, first by local hero Scot Deroue, also 17, and then when the Dutchman fell it was 14-year-old Italian Stefano Manzi who raced with him wheel to wheel until he too, slid off at the final corner.
“It was a hard race,” said Hanika. “Both Scott and Stefano put up great fights. I wish they had both been there to cross the line because they really were riding well. It was great to have Scotty up the front again and then in the end Stefano and I had a really good battle.”
“In the last laps I had to let him lead because I wanted to be in the position to pass him at either the fast, second-to-last corner or the final chicane. In the end it was on the brakes into the chicane, we were side by side but we didn't touch, he slid off, a shame but that's racing. A great race and great for the championship,” concluded hanika who opened his advantage to 33 points over Jorge Martin, the 15-year-old Spaniard who crossed the line ahead of fellow countryman Marcos Ramirez, also 15.
Martin had a lonely race in what was initially fourth as he chased Hanika, Deroue and Manzi and was closing in on them but just couldn't get there. “I was pushing to catch them but in the end I couldn't,” said Martin. “The bike setup just wasn't quite right and I knew that I couldn't push any harder or I was taking a big risk of crashing.”
It was probably a wise choice as he picked up second while Deroue and Manzi were left to wonder what they might have done different. “I was happy at least to be racing at the front again,” said Deroue who had been off the leaderboard in the first two weekends of the season. “For once I got a great start and then Hanika and I had a great fight. Then Manzi passed and got ahead, I went to go after him and slid off, I wasn't doing anything crazy, I don't know what happened really. Still there is tomorrow and I want to race at the front again.”
Manzi knew exactly what happened when he fell at the final corner “We came down to the last chicane, I was going into the corner too fast but it was either that or let Karel win. It was a great race though, I did not push so hard from the start because the track temperature was so cold and I wanted to be sure the tyres were working well. Then I saw that Hanika and Deroue were getting away from the pack so I went after them. I had a lot of fun and hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.
Ramirez had to fight hard for that final rostrum position, just flashing across the line ahead of South African 16-year-old Jordan Weaving, Joe Roberts, the 16-year-old American and 15 year old Spaniard Diego Perez who had a titanic battle for those places. “It was such a great race,” said Ramirez who leads the Spanish Moto3 Championship. “We were fighting and passing everywhere. On the last lap I just gave it everything and came out in front, so great.”
-- Earlier..... -- MotoGP 2013 - Round Seven - Assen - Fastest lap and broken collarbone
for Lorenzo in Assen
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was both the fastest and unluckiest man on the first day of practice at the Iveco TT Assen, as he set the pace in the early dry session, before breaking his collarbone in the wet afternoon practice.
The World Champion’s day was brought to an abrupt end when he suffered a high-speed accident and broke his left collarbone in the rain-affected afternoon session. Lorenzo registered a best lap time of 1’53.263 in the morning period, leading the way from Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez in what would prove to be the only all-dry MotoGP™ session of the day. Marquez would go on to top the second session, but was 14 seconds off Lorenzo’s earlier best as the forecast showers finally struck the historic Dutch venue.
The crash for Lorenzo came at the rapid Hoge Heide section running up to Ramshoek, which precedes the Geert Timmer chicane at the end of the lap. The Mallorcan was taken to the circuit’s medical centre and provided with painkillers, having been caught out by standing water before landing heavily on his left shoulder. The fractured collarbone was confirmed less than ten minutes after the session ended. He will now remain under observation in a Dutch hospital where a CT scan will be carried out, and his situation further assessed.
Behind the leading trio, Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi finished fourth quickest, ahead of Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa, an impressive Aleix Espargaro for the Power Electronics Aspar squad, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, GO&FUN Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, Pramac Racing stand-in rider Michele Pirro and Tech 3’s Bradley Smith. Bradl was running Brembo front brakes instead of Nissin, in what is going to be an extended testing phase with the Italian brake manufacturer.
Wet form was tough to gauge in the afternoon as the track was drying at a rapid pace in the final few minutes, with the likes of Crutchlow sitting out the final bit in a bid to avoid any potential crashes. It did however propel some lesser-known names into the top ten, with Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, as well as PBM’s Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty finishing from eighth upwards.
1 Jorge Lorenzo 1'35.263 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
2 Cal Crutchlow 1'35.613 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
3 Marc Marquez 1'35.883 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Valentino Rossi 1'35.958 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Dani Pedrosa 1'36.034 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
6 Aleix Espargaro 1'36.430 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
7 Stefan Bradl 1'36.559 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
8 Alvaro Bautista 1'36.763 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
9 Michele Pirro 1'36.910 ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
10 Bradley Smith 1'37.002 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
11 Andrea Dovizioso 1'37.041 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
12 Nicky Hayden 1'37.153 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
13 Karel Abraham 1'37.346 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
14 Hector Barbera 1'37.456 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
15 Randy De Puniet 1'37.489 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
16 Andrea Iannone 1'37.538 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
17 Danilo Petrucci 1'37.654 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
18 Yonny Hernandez 1'37.917 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
19 Colin Edwards 1'38.147 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
20 Claudio Corti 1'38.334 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
21 Michael Laverty 1'38.874 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
22 Bryan Staring 1'39.708 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
23 Ivan Silva 1'39.950 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
24 Lukas Pesek 1'41.692 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaro set the pace in the first day of Moto2™ practice at the Iveco TT Assen ahead of Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter.
Espargaro’s best effort came in the form of 1’38.988 in the morning session, which is when all the top-ten times were set, as the afternoon was affected by rain. Redding was just over a tenth of a second down, finishing ahead of Aegerter, who continues to be a consistently quick performer on his Kalex.
Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco did well to put his Suter in fourth place, with Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon rediscovering some form in fifth just behind. Rounding out the top ten behind them were Marc VDS’ Mika Kallio, Pons’ Esteve Rabat, QMMF Racing’s Anthony West, Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami, as well as Aegerter’s teammate Randy Krummenacher.
In the wet conditions in the afternoon it was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Mattia Pasini, Kallio and Zarco that led the way. Caught out by either the greasy surface or slippery white lines in the afternoon, crashes came for eight riders including 2010 class champion Toni Elias on his Blusens Avintia machine. Staying out of trouble was wildcard Gino Rea, as the Englishman makes his second wildcard appearance of the season with his privately entered outfit.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom set a new fastest Moto3™ lap for the Iveco TT Assen on day one of free practice, which saw the class escape the predicted rain until the final few minutes of the afternoon session.
The Mallorcan rider led Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger with his record time of 1’43.511. This was half a second quicker than his closest title rival Viñales as, behind Folger, the top five was completed by Estrella Galicia 0,0 pairing Alex Rins and Alex Marquez.
Behind Marquez, Ongetta-Rivacord’s Alexis Masbou put in a great show to finish sixth ahead of teammate Isaac Viñales, CIP Moto3’s Alan Techer, Salom’s teammate Arthur Sissis and Caretta Technology-RTG’s Jack Miller.
All fast times were set in the afternoon practice, during which at the end the seemingly inevitable cloudburst caught out a number of riders, not least CIP Moto3’s Juanfran Guevara who highsided at Stekkenwal corner (Turn 8). Dutch wildcard riders Bryan Schouten and Thomas van Leeuwen ended the day in 19th and 31st places.
-- Yamaha Report
Despite being the fastest rider in the first day of practice today, the Assen TT proved again to be a disaster for the third year running for current World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Mallorcan had dominated the morning dry session and had shown an impressive pace in the afternoon’s wet practice until a huge high side at the fastest corner of the track. The first diagnosis is a left clavicle fracture which will require surgery. As a result the title challenger will miss Saturday’s Dutch Grand Prix.
Team mate Valentino Rossi's confidence in the improved set up of the YZR-M1 after the recent Spanish test continued today with the Italian nine-time champion showing a competitive pace in both the morning dry session and afternoon wet practice. Rossi was fourth in the morning, 0.6 seconds from first in the dry, then rose to second in the afternoon downpour, just 0.25 seconds from front man Marc Marquez.
Valentino Rossi - 4th / 1'35.958 / 36 laps
“It's been a positive day for us because in the dry it was not so bad this morning, we continued to work with our new setting and the first impression was positive, although we still have to work to improve. We had something important to try this afternoon in the dry but unfortunately it was wet. Anyway we continued our work in the wet and it was a good practice, we did a good job with our new setting and the bike was also very good in the wet. I improved lap by lap; I had good pace and I was in second position. We have to continue to work in both conditions, everybody knows here in Assen it can be wet or dry. Unfortunately Jorge had a big crash and an injury. It's a great pity for Yamaha, for the Team and for him as he is fighting for the Championship. I hope that he comes back as soon as possible, hopefully for the next race in Sachsenring. I hope to do a good result because I am now the man of the team for Yamaha, for the Factory team and all the guys.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Unfortunately we didn't start the practice in Assen as we wanted. Jorge, after an incredible free practice one, had a crash in the wet in the afternoon and he broke his collarbone. This is a real pity as we were coming from two brilliant results and looking for a third. We have to accept this, it is part of our sport. We wish him the best to come back as soon as possible and stronger than before. Vale did two good practices, it seems the feeling he was looking for in the front is back. Fortunately we had the opportunity to test in Barcelona and in Aragon to find it. Let’s see tomorrow what we can do. Here it is very difficult to predict the weather forecast but we are ready whatever the circumstances.”
Dr. Xavier Mir - Chief of Hand Surgery at the Dexeus Hospital (Barcelona) and MotoGP Team Medical Doctor
“Jorge has a high inertia trauma but results are normal from initial neurological examination. We will move to Assen to make head and chest scans and also an abdominal exploration. Our first diagnosis revealed that there is a left clavicle fracture with a slight shift that will need surgery to repair the bone. This injury is in the background while we rule out any other major injury that may become apparent within 24 hours. These kind of impacts at more than 200 km/h need some time for the body to recover to be able to discard any other major injuries. In principle tomorrow he can travel and within 48 hours he will be operable.”
Crutchlow fast in wet and dry conditions in Assen
Preparations for the unique Dutch TT started in contrasting weather conditions at the historic Assen track today, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow demonstrating a fast and competitive pace in dry and wet practice sessions. The British rider made a confident start to the seventh round of the 2013 campaign in cool and overcast conditions this morning and a lap of 1.35.613 placed him second on the leaderboard behind reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. Crutchlow was the only rider to lap within 0.5s of Lorenzo’s blistering FP1 pace and he was optimistic he could have challenged for the top three again this afternoon. Torrential rain started to hammor down on the Assen track, which hosts the only Saturday race on the MotoGP schedule, just 15 minutes before the start of FP2. Crutchlow started the session supremely confident of his potential in the rain after he raced to a career best second position on a wet track at Le Mans last month. His confidence was well placed and he led the timesheets in the final stages of the session but rather than take unnecessary risks he opted to pull into the pits and was not out on track when a host of riders improved their pace right at the end. He eventually finished seventh.
Today was a positive experience for Bradley Smith, the British rider producing another impressive display just 10 days after he underwent double surgery on his left hand and wrist in Barcelona. The 22-year-old had a screw inserted in the scaphoid bone in his left wrist that he damaged in a crash during practice for the recent Mugello round and while the operation was a success, he is still experiencing pain and discomfort in the hard braking zones at Assen. Smith was immediately fast on his YZR-M1 machine in FP1 though and a personal best lap of 1.37.002 placed him 10th and just over a second outside of the top three. With FP2 a rain-soaked affair and with further wet weather forecast for tomorrow, Smith’s outstanding effort to finish in the top 10 this morning could have earned him a deserved place in tomorrow afternoon’s QP2.
Cal Crutchlow 2nd / 1'35.613 / 38 laps
“I am really happy with today. I was second in the dry this morning although I need to improve my pace in the first sector because the gap to Lorenzo in that section was pretty big. The gap of everybody else was pretty big to be fair and Jorge was doing an amazing job. It’s a huge shame that he got injured in FP2 and I wish him a speedy recovery because the Championship is not the same with him not in it. In the rain this afternoon I was very comfortable and I am one of the fastest on track. Before the end of the session I didn’t want to take any risks so I came into the pits and lost a few places. Had I stayed out I am sure I could have been in the top three again but I am happy enough with my performance in both conditions.”
Bradley Smith 10th / 1'37.002 / 31 laps:
“This morning was very positive being in the top 10. I was determined to try and get in the top 10 in case the rain continues and it means I am immediately into QP2 and that’s very good. I don’t feel too bad physically at the moment but my wrist is still hurting quite a lot and I need to see if I can reduce the pain, especially in the braking area. I had a good pace in the wet and I got behind Valentino for three laps and that helped and he didn't really pull away. I only did 11-laps in the rain because it wasn’t worth taking too many risks and I didn’t want to stress the wrist too much.”
-- Repsol HRC
The Dutch TT has begun under mixed conditions today in Assen. This morning's FP1 session was a chilly 14ºC with a low track temperature of 17ºC and both Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez set to work on soft front and soft rear Bridgestone tyres. On his last exit, Marc tested a hard front to asses the difference and on his final lap of 19, he put in his fastest lap of the session with 1'35.883, placing him third in the standings. Dani remained on the soft option tyres for the whole session and was fifth fastest with 1'36.034 on lap 13 of 19.
In the afternoon, with temperatures similar to the morning, the riders had a new element to deal with as rain arrived for the entire session. Marc took the fastest time with 1'47.617 on his final lap of 18 and Dani was third with 1'48.240 on his last lap of 17.
Marc Marquez 3rd 1'35.883
"I'm happy because today went pretty well. From the beginning I felt good on the bike, both in the dry and wet conditions. Obviously there are still things to improve, especially in the dry, but overall I felt very comfortable and we’ll see if tomorrow the weather holds out for us, although the forecast is not too good. I hope for at least one dry practice in order to try to improve the setup, so fingers crossed we can have that tomorrow. As for the injury suffered by Jorge, he has been very unlucky. I think it's only the second crash that he has had this year, and it’s resulted in injury – which you never wish on any rider. I hope he makes a speedy recovery; I’m sure that in Germany he will be ready for battle again"
Dani Pedrosa 5th 1'36.034
"In today's sessions we rode on both dry and wet asphalt. In the dry the feeling was a lot more difficult than usual. With such a cold track it's difficult to get grip in the tyres and you skid a lot when cornering, so we could not ride comfortably. We'll see if it's possible to improve the bike with regards to this over the next few sessions if we have dry conditions again. In the rain we improved a little and we were able to try some things out. The downside of today was the injury to Jorge. It's a shame that he crashed and that it turned out so badly for him. As a rider, I know that now is a difficult time for him, so hopefully he can get through these days as best he can, as things like this are very painful"
-- Ducati Report
The first day of on-track action at the Assen TT featured a dry morning free-practice session and a rainy afternoon session. Both presented challenges for the Ducati Team, but as is often the case, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden fared better in the wet.
Both riders struggled to find grip in chilly FP1, finishing with the eleventh and twelfth best times. Things also proved difficult in the early going of the afternoon outing, but adjustments resulted in improved rain settings by the end of the 45-minute session, at which point the teammates sat tied at fifth-best with identical times of 1:48.682.
However, the faster morning conditions mean that Dovizioso and Hayden were still eleventh and twelfth best on combined times after FP2. The Ducati Team hopes for good conditions tomorrow morning so that they’ll have an opportunity to move into the top ten and thereby advance directly to Q2.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 11th (1:37.041)
“We did okay in the wet this afternoon, as we know that our bike has good rear grip in these conditions. In the dry session this morning however we struggled a bit, and we’re still some way off the fastest guys. I made a small mistake in a corner during a fast lap, but that’s not important, as our pace in the wet is good. I’ve learned from experience to never wish for rain, as something bad can always happen in those conditions, but it was tough this morning. I don’t know if we’ll be able to reduce the gap in the dry, so at this point I prefer the wet! In the end, although the track’s grip isn’t bad, the white lines are slipperier than at other circuits, and a couple of times, I risked having a crash like Lorenzo’s.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 12th (1:37.153)
“It’s been a very difficult day, especially this morning. I don’t know if it’s due to the tyre, but I really had no grip, particularly on corner entry. The bike was moving a lot, and it was hard to go fast. Even in the rain this afternoon, it was hard to get any feeling. I certainly need to do a better job tomorrow, and hopefully we can find something to make the bike work better. The forecast says it might not be dry again until race day, so it’s going to be really interesting. We’ll just keep plugging away and see what we can do.”
-- Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium-soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 15-16°C; Track 18-21°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Wet. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 18-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo suffered a tragic change in fortunes on the first day of action at Assen, as the reigning champion clocked the quickest time of the day before sadly breaking his left collarbone in a crash during a wet Free Practice Two.
In a day of contrasting weather conditions, Lorenzo quickly established himself as the pacesetter by setting a time of 1'35.263 on softer option slicks front and rear in FP1, finishing the session 0.350 seconds clear of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez – who was quickest in the wet FP2 session this afternoon - was third overall on the first day of practice, with a personal best lap time of 1’35.883. Aleix Espargaro exploited the grip of the CRT-only soft compound rear slick to pilot his Power Electronics Aspar ART machine to P6 and lap within just 1.167 seconds of Lorenzo’s benchmark time.
Weather conditions were cool today, with track temperatures in both the dry FP1 and wet FP2 session barely reaching the 20°C mark. The cool asphalt put a premium on good warm-up performance and grip levels, so softer rubber compounds for the slick and wet tyres were preferred by riders today. The softer rear slick options were used exclusively in FP1, although both the extra-soft and soft front slick options were used. The main wet tyre for Assen is the soft compound option and in FP2 no riders elected to try the alternative hard compound wet tyre on the cold and soaking track surface. Although no riders were able to improve upon their FP1 lap times in the wet second free practice, with further rain expected this weekend the session provided valuable setup data for the teams.
Cool conditions with a possibility of rain are forecast for tomorrow, the next session on the programme for the MotoGP riders being FP3 at 0955 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow.
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department - “Today’s changing weather allowed riders to work on their dry and wet setups and the cool track made conditions in both sessions a bit tricky. In the morning session all riders started on the soft option slicks front and rear, but after their first stint some riders felt comfortable enough to also try the harder front slick. Both of our front slicks this weekend are towards the softer end of our allocation, so the warm-up performance and grip of both options are well suited to these cool conditions. Grip levels from the track were reported to be adequate and now that we have had rain, I believe the grip level will not be any better tomorrow. Finally, I am very sorry to hear that Jorge has broken his collarbone, everyone at Bridgestone Motorsport wishes him a full and speedy recovery and we hope to the see the MotoGP champion back on his bike very soon.”
-- Red Bull Rookies
Karel Hanika keeps his run of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup qualifying domination going with his third pole position of the season at Assen. Completing the front row of the grid behind the 17-year-old Czech are local hero Scott Deroue, also 17, and 16-year-old Briton Bradley Ray.
Hanika's time came from the first session as he proved the master of a drying track to head the opposition all the way. Over a second quicker than anyone else he lost the chance to improve further when he slid off early in the second session. “I probably did not quite let enough heat get into the tyres,” he explained. “I thought they would be OK, I had done a couple of laps and there were a few guys ahead and I thought it was a good opportunity to chase after them I had a slide from the rear, saved it but it pushed the front away and that was it.”
“It is a shame because I would have liked to go faster and the fall was not necessary. The setup should be OK for the race, I was having a bit of handlebar shake through the fast sections in the first session which was unsettling but the mechanics said they would fix it. They probably did but I didn't really get to test it in the second session, but that's my fault.”
It was Ray who got closest to Hanika in the first session and he too fell in the second period before improving his time. “Just so much front end movement that it eventually tucked the front. We are still trying to get the bike to work the way we want and we seem to have gone backwards here.”
He seemed to be sitting comfortably in a secure second on the timing chart as tyre wear took the edge off performance towards the end of the second 30 minute session. Then on the final lap Deroue nailed a perfect tour to grab second. “I could hardly believe I'd done it,” reported Deroue. “I was lapping consistently towards the end but couldn't go any quicker. I realised that Joe (Roberts) was behind me so I let him past, get a gap then when after him. It worked perfectly. The tyre was completely destroyed at the end though.”
What about the gap to Hanika though? “Karel can do these great laps,” said Deroue. “Just like he did in Austin but he couldn't get away from the pack there. I think we can race with him,” asserted the Netherlander.
Jorge Martin, the 15-year-old Spaniard who lies second in the points table agrees with Deroue's assessment after qualifying fourth. “Karel can do great lap times but he doesn't always win the races, I think we can make it a close fight. I am happy with the improvement we made through practice, a lot of changes to the bike and some good steps forward, it is not perfect but I think good enough for a good race.”
It has been a lengthy seven week break since the last Rookies Cup race in Jerez in early May but some of the teenagers have been competing in other series and in the last couple of weeks have had some great success.
Scott Deroue won both IDM German National Championship Moto3 races at Oschersleben and then Karel Hanika did the same thing when the series moved on to the Red Bull Ring last weekend. Across the channel Jordan Weaving won the Moto3 British Championship at Knockhill in Scotland while on the other side of the Atlantic Joe Roberts was winning both AMA Pro SuperSport Races at Barber Motorsports Park, his first AMA pro races. In Spain Marcos Ramirez now leads the Spanish CEV National Moto3 Championship after finishing third in round four in Albacete.
- MotoGP World Championship 2013 -
RND 6 -
JORGE WINS CATALUNYA
RND FIVE - JORGE STRIKES BACK
RND FOUR - PEDROSA ON A ROLL
RND THREE - PEDROSA WINS JEREZ
RND TWO - MARQUEZ BREAKS RECORDS
RND ONE -
LORENZO SMOKES EM
MOTOGP TEST II
MOTOGP TEST I
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