Stoner wins Assen
The Iveco TT Assen provided three exciting races this Saturday, as Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner took victory in an incident-packed premier-class race, holding off the challenge from teammate Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.
The race started with high drama as San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista took out Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo in the first corner, putting an end to both their challenges.
Bautista was subsequently penalized for riding in an irresponsible manner, causing danger to Lorenzo, with Race Direction ruling that the San Carlo rider will start from last spot on the grid at the Sachsenring. An appeal was lodged by his team, but the FIM Stewards confirmed the decision of Race Direction, thus making it final. This is the second year in a row that Lorenzo has been taken out by another rider at the Dutch circuit.
Following the incident, the Repsol Honda Team pair of Pedrosa and Stoner were left to lead the race at the start, with Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies in pursuit. Two laps in it was heartbreak as well for LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl as he crashed out of fourth, making this the first race he has not finished in his rookie season.
As the Hondas started to pull out a small margin, the crashes continued at the back as Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez ended his race in the gravel. With 19 laps to go Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso went past Spies into third as the pair diced for the final podium position. Dovizioso’s teammate Cal Crutchlow, who was ninth after taking avoiding action at the start, was having a tricky time trying to pass the Ducatis of Hayden, Valentino Rossi and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, but eventually fought his way past.
NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards retired with mechanical issues, putting an end to a difficult weekend, while Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró retired from the race with 11 laps remaining, putting a dent in his top CRT hopes. This was followed up a lap later with Rossi entering the pits with a chunk missing from his rear tyre, which was changed before he re-entered the race. Meanwhile at the front, Stoner made his move on Pedrosa as the Spaniard looked to be struggling. Three laps before the end Dovizioso had caught up to Spies once more as the pair was involved in yet another tussle for the final podium spot. The Italian made his move going into turn 1 on the final lap, and held on until the line.
In the end it was Stoner who took the chequered flag to go equal on points at the top of the championship with Lorenzo, as Pedrosa finished second and Dovizioso took yet another podium this year. They were followed by Spies, Crutchlow, Hayden, and Barberá, whilst the CRT contingent benefited from the numerous crashes, with Espargaró’s teammate De Puniet taking eighth, in front of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro and Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini. Rossi finished in 13th, 0.002 seconds ahead of Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham did not start the race, as his hand injury proved too severe to race.
In a Moto2™ race that provided drama from the start at the Iveco TT Assen, it was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who took a hard-fought victory ahead of Andrea Iannone and Scott Redding.
It was Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter and Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone who got away best, yet in the pursuing mêlée it was Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2’s Ratthapark Wilairot and Tom Lüthi who collided on the first lap, putting an end to Lüthi’s race. There was however more to come, as the weekend’s pace-setter, Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró, crashed out of the lead as he lost the back end of his bike. Both Lüthi and Espargaró were uninjured in the incidents, while Wilairot re-joined. A few laps later it was more misery for the Pons team, as its other rider Axel Pons crashed as well.
With 14 laps remaining Iannone had pulled out a three second gap at the front as Márquez and Marc VDS Racing Team’s Redding provided the entertaining battle for second behind. At this point Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat had joined the pursuing group in fifth ahead of Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, who had lost the tail section of his machine early on.
With 10 laps left however, Corsi crashed out of the race, putting an end to what was a very good race for the Italian, whilst Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Damian Cudlin retired with a mechanical issue. A further four laps in, Márquez had closed the gap significantly to Iannone and looked to be catching the Italian quickly.
With three laps left the scrap at the front began, with Márquez making his first pass, yet Iannone fighting back immediately. A lap later the Spaniard repeated his move, with Iannone responding in the same way again. The two were fairing to fairing as they headed into the last lap, with Márquez taking the lead on the outside of turn 1. Iannone fought back, but couldn’t make it stick as he ran wide after the two almost touched.
It was ultimately Márquez who took his third win of the season, with Iannone in second and Redding completing the podium. Márquez now leads the championship with Iannone in second; whilst Redding’s podium was the first time the Brit has ever recorded back-to-back podiums in his Grand Prix career. The top three were followed by Rabat, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis, Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith, Aegerter, JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, Mapfre Aspar Team’s Toni Elías and Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio.
In one of the most hotly contested Moto3™ races this season at the Iveco TT Assen it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who stormed to victory in sunny conditions ahead of Sandro Cortese and Danny Kent.
The first three laps were a frantic affair, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Cortese, Viñales and San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli all fighting their way to the front. They were however soon put under pressure by TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi and RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom.
Caretta Technology’s Jack Miller was handed a ride-through for a jump-start, while IodaRacing Project’s Jonas Folger’s bad weekend got even worse as he crashed out with 18 laps remaining. With 12 laps to go a leading group of six riders started to pull out a small gap at the front with Viñales and Cortese leading the pack, pursued by Kent, Salom, Rossi and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins.
A lap later Miller was shown the black flag for ignoring the ride-through penalty, putting an end to his race. Ambrogio Next Racing’s Giulian Pedone retired from the race with mechanical issues shortly after. It was misery for Antonelli with nine laps left, as he crashed out of what had looked like a promising race for the youngster, as did Mahindra Racing’s Danny Webb.
As the scrap at the front got harder towards the end, Cortese and Kent were going fairing to fairing in their pursuit of the leading Viñales, with Cortese almost taking out his teammate at one point. The group would not settle down however, with many aggressive passes being made in the final laps in a nail-biting finale.
The last lap was one of best ever seen in the Moto3 class as positions changed frantically in the final corners, with Viñales getting the final slingshot over the line, with a photo analysis required to decide the positions between Salom, Kent and Cortese.
With Viñales taking the win, second place went to Cortese, with Kent taking the final step on the rostrum, his first ever podium of his Grand Prix career. They were followed by Salom, Rossi, Rins, Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou, Ajo, JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez and Rins’ teammate Miguel Oliveira.