Rossi takes dramatic win after epic duel with Marquez at Dutch GP
Valentino Rossi wins in dramatic fashion after an incredible race-long battle with Marc Marquez at the Motul TT Assen.
A massive crowd of over 97,000 fans witnessed one of the greatest MotoGP battles ever today, as nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi secured a dramatic last corner victory against Marc Marquez at the legendary TT Circuit Assen. After a thrilling race-long duel, Marquez made a brave move on Rossi as the duo entered the final chicane on the last lap.
There was contact between the pair, which forced Rossi to run straight on through the gravel at the Geert Timmer chicane. The Italian managed managed to stay upright though and went on to take the chequered flag 1.242s ahead of Marquez, claiming his third win of the season and first from pole position since Misano in 2009.
Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi, starting from pole for the first time since Valencia last season, led into the first corner and it didn’t take Marquez long to join him after starting from third on the grid, overtaking Aleix Espargaro on the first lap to move into second.
Marquez was happy to sit behind Rossi for most of the race, before making his move and taking the lead into turn 1 on lap 20. Rossi bided his time, and then responded with three laps to go to retake the lead at turn 10. The Italian then put in his fastest lap of the race in an effort to pull away, but Marquez responded on the final lap to get within striking distance once again as the duo approached the final chicane.
Valentino Rossi – 1st / 40’54.037 / 26 laps – “I pushed, and I don’t want to say I did a perfect race, but close. I saw I was not able to get distance from Marc. It’s always difficult with him and you know the battle will be very hard, but I was confident that I was competitive and I wanted to try for victory. In the last laps I pushed a lot and I arrived at the last chicane when Marc tried to overtake but he arrived a little bit too late, I was already into the chicane and we touched a little bit and I had to cut the corner. Essentially I had no choice and I was lucky, because I got on the gravel, but I stayed on the throttle even though I didn’t know how deep it was and I thought there was a chance I could lose control. When I returned to the track I checked the position of Marc, but he had slowed down more than I did. It has been a great weekend and it’s very important because I increased my point advantage over Jorge. I think that in a championship as close as this, it is very important you take the maximum profit when you are competitive and when you like the track, because for sure we will have some more difficult moments. It was fantastic to come back here with a victory. I think we deleted the results of Jerez, where Jorge gained nine points over me and now we have to try to delete also Mugello’s results where he did the same thing. Apart from the joke, it is very important because Jorge did fantastic to cut down a 28 points gap to just one. So to take nine points now is crucial, also because I think this championship will arrive to the last race and the last lap.”
Marc Marquez – 2nd – “I am very happy that I’m back on the podium and I had a good race, fighting for victory until the end. I think it was a moral victory for us, but we were riding at the limit on the last chicane. We have worked very well all weekend and I have to thank the team, because you regain confidence when you’re with the best team in the World. They are helping me a lot and this was shown by the fact that, at a track where we are usually not so strong, we fought for the win until the last corner. We’ll see if we can take another step forward in the coming races. We rode a last lap to win the race, especially on the last chicane. I had studied things well and knew where I had to brake in order to be able to overtake Vale, and so I did that but didn’t end like I wanted….”
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a brilliant start from eighth on the grid, and found himself in third after the first lap. Any hopes the Spaniard had of making it five wins in a row disappeared shortly afterwards though, as Rossi and Marquez pulled away at the front and disappeared off into the distance. The double MotoGP World Champion eventually crossed the line 14.576s behind his teammate in a lonely third position and slipped 10-points behind Rossi in the World Championship standings.
Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd – “We are still ten points behind the leader, which is good. It was 29 points after Argentina so now ten points after a difficult weekend that we had before a race is not so bad. I make a good start, I was really focused in the first lap to recover positions and did it faster than I expected, because I was already in third position when we crossed the finish line for the first time. I tried to keep up with the pace of Valentino and Marc, but they were really strong and I realized that today was not the day. Today was the day to fight and keep this third place, which is very good for the championship. If we struggle and still finish in third place, it’s a good thing. Valentino was a little bit more competitive here from the beginning, Marc improved his bike and was more comfortable to keep up the pace and for us it was the opposite. We found that the harder tyre gave us a little bit more problems and in two sectors I couldn’t be fast enough and lost so much time in sector two and four. In both I lost half a second and that made it impossible to have a good pace. The next race will be a bit more complicated at Sachsenring, because I’ve never won there, but you don’t know what might happen.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+19.109s) was another four seconds back to finish in a lonely fourth.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro won an incredible battle for fifth that saw four riders all finish within 0.4s of each other. The Spaniard also finished as the leading Satellite rider after he crossed the line just 0.105s ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in sixth.
Pol Espargaro – 5th – “Of course, I have to be pleased with the fifth position today, yet it was a very tough race. Unfortunately, I had a lot of difficulties with my right forearm again, which I have recently had surgery on and the last six laps were particularly tricky. I ran wide in the fast corners and couldn’t brake, so to be honest, riding like this was anything but easy. In the last three laps, I even started to think that I wouldn’t be able to finish the race as I was convinced I would run wide and crash somewhere. Yet, I kept fighting and held my position until the finish line, but I just tried to be as big as possible in the last lap to make the others struggle to go past me as I had nothing more to give on the brakes. Therefore, beside the satisfaction of the good result, there is also some frustration because in this situation it will be tricky to continue racing due to the problem itself which is also painful. However, tomorrow we will fly, as scheduled, to our first test in Japan for the 8 hour race and face this new challenge after the good result here in the Netherlands.”
Espargaro’s teammate Bradley Smith was seventh in front of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa (+24.656s), who had fought back valiantly after a crash in the earlier Warm Up session and a disastrous start that saw him down in 12th after the first lap.
Bradley Smith – 7th – “Overall, I am pleased to walk away from the Assen track with another solid finish even though it was hard work in this race. It was especially difficult behind the Honda and Ducati bikes as they have to be ridden in different styles when compared to the Yamaha, so it wasn’t easy at all to find my way through. To be honest, it was a bit of shame that I qualified in 12th yesterday as I definitely felt that I had the bike underneath me which was strong enough for 4th position. In the second part of the race, I tried to pass Pol with around eight laps left to go, but I ran off track and then had to move back through the group all over again. I thought that I could have overtaken him and then broken away so it was a pity that I ran wide. Nevertheless, beating two factory bikes was great, especially as it was in one on one battles, so I’ve got to be pleased with my performance. Also the top satellite bike was only two bike lengths in front, which means we have been competitive again. I must say thanks to the team for the great job and I look forward to getting back on my Yamaha M1 at Sachsenring.”
Dani Pedrosa – 8th – “It was a bad day. I had a very strange crash in the morning: I was going straight, braking, and the tires were already up to temperature –but I lost the front without warning. Unfortunately the bike was damaged, then I took off my glove and saw I had cut my finger but I was still able to return for the race. I had to use my second bike and I had a problem with it, because when I released the clutch at the start the bike did not react. I had to release it completely and began to slide. I went from fourth to thirteenth and I lost many positions, but in addition I also had a problem with the brakes. I tried to adjust it but I could not control the bike under braking. It was very difficult to adapt, but in the end I managed to make up some places. However, I couldn’t brake well and on the last lap Crutchlow took me out on the chicane and I lost more positions.”
The Team Suzuki Ecstar duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales were next across the line in ninth and tenth respectively, ahead of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci (11th) and the second Factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in twelfth.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding finished 46.663s back from Rossi in 13th, while Loris Baz (Athina Forward Racing) took the Open class victory for the second time in three races ahead of Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden who crossed the line in 16th.
Loris Baz – 15th – “It was a tough race, but I’m happy with the end result. I struggled in the first half of the race, I could not push as I wanted, but the more laps the better was my pace. In the end I was very fast and I finished first in the Open class. I’m pretty satisfied if I think that until yesterday afternoon my health condition was badly affected by an intestinal virus. Only two points separate me from Barbera and this is one more reason to be happy. Thanks to all the team and the sponsors for their support: we can now go for the lead of the Open class.”
Hector Barbera and Jack Miller were involved in a crash on the very first lap that resulted in the Spaniard having to go to the medical centre for checks on his right leg, although he was later declared free of injury.
Jack Miller – DNF – “I got a really good start and had a small touch with Eugene Laverty off the line, but after that I recovered. Coming into the last corner I tried to pass Bautista but my rear tyre overtook my front tyre and I got a little nudge from someone. It was unfortunate because I felt quite good here all weekend and my pace wasn’t so bad, so to end it like this was a shame. We are working hard every week, and I look forward to getting back to racing at Sachsenring. I’m more disappointed about losing the experience of racing here, we’ve missed out on a lot of laps and we are here to make laps. If we kep working hard I’m sure we can do a great job in Germany next time.”
Alex De Angelis, Eugene Laverty and Stefan Bradl also crashed out; with the latter finding out he had fractured the scaphoid in his right wrist after an X-ray at the Medical Centre.
Stefan Bradl – DNF – “Too bad, my race ended earlier than expected when I was leading the Open class and I was close to the points zone. I lost the rear and I could not do anything to prevent the fall. Unfortunately I broke my right scaphoid during the impact and I propably will have to undergo surgery to reduce the fracture.”
Rossi’s (163pts) victory, his 85th in the premier class, means he has extended his lead in the championship standings over Lorenzo (153pts) to 10 points with ten races to go.
MotoGP Race Classification
Zarco wins thrilling showdown with Rabat in Moto2
Ajo Motorsport’s Zarco took victory in front of close to 100,000 passionate Dutch fans that saw the Frenchman prevail in his latest showdown with title rival Tito Rabat at the TT Circuit Assen.
The restarted race was reduced to 16 laps because of a red flag on the very first lap during the original race, after an incident between Marcel Schrotter, Anthony West and Luis Salom. Salom’s bike dropped oil at the first corner and after his bike caught fire, Race Direction had no choice but to halt proceedings.
Zarco got bogged down off the line of the second start, while AGR Team’s Jonas Folger led into the first corner, and built up a lead of almost a second over Rabat in second. Zarco picked his way through the field and attempted to make a move on Rabat for second on lap four, with the two rivals making contact and Zarco running wide.
It didn’t take long for Rabat to close down Folger and take the lead on lap 8, with Zarco also passing the German shortly afterwards. Rabat then built a 0.5s gap at the front, before Zarco started to hunt him down. Zarco timed it to perfection as he took the lead with three laps to go, giving Rabat a nudge in the process before going on to win his third race of the season by 0.757s. Rabat had no answer to Zarco’s pace, and had to settle for second, with Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes (+2.080s) crossing the line in third after an excellent ride for his third podium of the season and first since Argentina.
Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Alex Rins (+03.738s) crossed the line in fourth ahead of Thomas Luthi (+4.530s) on the Derendinger Racing Interwetten Kalex and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Xavier Simeon (+5.045s) in sixth. Folger faded after his excellent start to the race, eventually finishing in seventh, with Mika Kallio (Italtrans Racing Team) in eighth and rookie Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) equalled his career best Moto2 finish in ninth.
Athina Forward Racing’s Simone Corsi completed the top ten, as his teammate Lorenzo Baldassari crashed out of the race in an incident with Anthony West. Louis Rossi, Ricky Cardus and Florian Alt also recorded DNF’s, with Salom not able to take his place on the grid for the restarted race due to the damage to his bike from the red flag incident.
Zarco (159pts) has now extended his Moto2 World Championship lead over Rabat (114pts) to 45 points, with Sam Lowes (96pts) consolidating third a further 18-points back.
Moto2 Race Classification
Oliveira powers to incredible Moto3 victory
The packed grandstands at the legendary TT Circuit Assen were treated to an incredible seven rider battle for victory in an epic and dramatic Moto3™ race in which Miguel Oliveira claimed his second victory of the season by just 0.066s. Track temperatures rose to 26°C before the start of what turned out to be a pulsating 22-lap race. A leading group of seven riders broke away from the rest of the field in the early stages to provide drama and excitement right down to the chequered flag.
The lead swapped hands at almost every corner, as the riders in the leading group put move after move on each other. But it was Oliveira who timed his charge to perfection to snatch the lead just before the final chicane and held on across the line to take KTM’s third win in the last four races season ahead of 16-year-old Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and championship leader Danny Kent (Leopard Racing +0.117s). Jorge Navarro (+0.179s) had to settle for fourth ahead of the hard charging Romano Fenati (+0.252s) on the Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM.
Italian 17-year-old Enea Bastianini (+0.526s), who started from pole position for the second race in succession, crossed the line in sixth. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was the last man in the leading group in seventh, with his teammate Karel Hanika winning the battle for eighth in the chasing pack (+21.406s) ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) and John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG), who completed the top ten.
RBA Racing’s Niklas Ajo crossed the line in 17th in remarkable fashion having lost control at the final corner in the battle for eighth. He managed to hold on while hanging completely off the side of his bike to finish the race, eventually crossing the line on his knees.
Maria Herrera looked on course for her first top-ten finish before Antonelli lost control under braking for the first corner and collected the Husqvarna rider while she was leading the chasing group in eighth. Her teammate Isaac Viñales also crashed out after contact from Juanfran Guevara, while Efren Vazquez, Andrea Locatelli, Zulfhami Khairuddin, Alexis Masbou and Tatsuki Suzuki all failed to finish, with the latter suffering from a technical fault on the first lap. Kent managed to extend his lead in the championship standings once more, and is now 57-points clear of Bastianini, with Oliveira another 6-points back in third.
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