Rossi takes victory in thrilling Dutch TT

Valentino Rossi secured his first MotoGP victory in over a year as he took the chequered flag in Assen. The Italian fought of stiff competition for Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci to take the win, whilst Marc Marquez rounded off the podium.

Rossi Assen

Image: BT Sport (@btsportmotogp)

It was fellow Yamaha rider Johann Zarco who made the strongest start, converting his pole position in to an early lead. The Frenchman led a breakout group, with Marquez, Rossi and Petrucci moving well clear of the pack.

With 15 laps to go, Rossi made his move, hitting the front ahead of Zarco, There was a bit of contact as Zarco tried to snap straight back at the Doctor, but this didn’t affect Rossi, and allowed Marquez to pass Zarco.

Shortly afterwards, Petrucci muscled his way past Marc Marquez in to second, but the real excitement started when, with 8 laps remaining, the white flags came out, indicating that there was rain and that riders were allowed to come in and change bikes.

Andrea Dovizioso, who had been having a quiet race by his recent standards, pushed past both Zarco and Marquez on the same lap to put himself in to podium contention, before hunting down Petrucci on the following lap.

During this time, Johann Zarco, who had been on the softer option tyre, decided to swap bikes to a wet race set-up, a gamble that proved unsuccessful as he would be unable to make up the lost time, and even suffered a penalty for speeding in pit lane. Only Hector Barbera, Alex Rins and Jorge Lorenzo followed Zarco in changing to wets.

Rossi looked to be getting clear as the two Ducatis battled amongst themselves, but Petrucci was able to break clear and catch the leader. The two Italians battled it out for the final few laps for first, with Rossi leading in to the final lap. The Pramac Ducati rider looked to have the pace to take his first MotoGP victory going in to the final sector, but lost time lapping Alex Rins, who Rossi had passed smoothly. This enabled the 38 year old to take his tenth win at Assen across all classes, finishing 0.063 seconds clear of Petrucci.

Cal Crutchlow appeared from nowhere to join the race for the final podium position in the final stages of the race. The Brit passed Dovizioso and Marquez with ease, but the factory Honda rider fought back. Marquez just managed to better Crutchlow, holding him off by 0.042 seconds.

Last year’s race winner Jack Miller finished sixth, ahead of Karel Abraham in seventh. Loris Baz, Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro rounded off the top ten.

It was a miserable day for the Brits, apart from Cal Crutchlow of course. Sam Lowes crashed early on, and was soon followed in to the gravel by SBradley Smith. With two laps remaining, Scott Redding completed the hat-trick of British riders crashing out.

Dovizioso’s fifth place sees him move to the top of the championship, after previous series leader Maverick Vinales crashed out having fought back to fifth place after a start to forget. Dovizioso leads the championship now by four points, with Rossi a further three points behind Vinales, and Marc Marquez only eleven points off of the lead.

In Moto3, Aron Canet secured his second win of the season, preventing a fantastic comeback from Britain’s John McPhee, who ended up third after making up sixteen places to catch the leaders. Franco Morbidelli celebrated securing a MotoGP ride in 2018 with another Moto2 victory. The Italian has now won five of the opening eight races.

The next race is the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring on the 2 July.

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Miller takes shock win at Assen

“This makes it clear that we do know how to ride a motorbike and I’m not an idiot.” These were the words of Jack Miller as took his first MotoGP victory in a rain affected Dutch TT. The race was red-flagged on lap 15 when heavy rain caused flooding on the track, and the Australian was able to make the most of the 12 lap restart, becoming the first satellite rider to win a MotoGP race since 2006.

Miller Assen

Source: Crash.net

Miller took the lead from Marc Marquez on lap four of the restart, slipping past the Repsol Honda rider at the final chicane. The Australian looked unfazed by the conditions, quickly establishing a lead of over two seconds.

Marquez was one of the riders to benefit from the restart, rising from fifth to a comfortable second place. The Spaniard’s championship lead has been extended after Valentino Rossi crashed out of the lead on lap four of the restart, while Jorge Lorenzo salvaged six points, ending a torrid weekend in tenth.

Scott Redding completed the podium, equalling his highest ever MotoGP finish. After ending the initial race strongly he continued his pace in to the restart, seeing off the challenge of Pol Espargaro.

Andrea Iannone recovered from an earlier crash to take fifth, with Hector Barbera sixth. Eugene Laverty took seventh, ahead of Stefan Bradl and Maverick Vinales, who also struggled to adjust to the conditions.

The conditions definitely affected the race, with Yonny Hernandez and Andrea Dovizioso joining Rossi in crashing out of the lead. In total there were eight non-finishers, including Cal Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci and Aleix Espargaro. Dani Pedrosa and Bradley Smith rejoined the race after crashing, finishing in 12th and 13th respectively.

There were also first time winners in the other classes, with Takaaki Nakagami taking the chequered flag in the Moto2 race, whilst Francesco Bagnaia took the win in Moto3.

Rossi extends lead after thrilling last lap

Valentino Rossi extended his lead in the championship to ten points after holding off Marc Marquez in Assen. The Italian had qualified on pole, and led for the majority of the race, recording his first victory from pole for six years.

Marquez makes contact with Rossi on the last corner.

Marquez makes contact with Rossi on the last corner.

Marquez, who was running his 2014 chassis, appeared to be content following Rossi and using the advantage of a harder front tyre late on. This looked to be the case when with seven laps remaining, the reigning world champion slipped under Rossi at turn one. But the Spaniard couldn’t pull away, and after a rehearsal the lap before, Rossi took the lead back with three laps to go. Rossi appeared comfortable, but on the last corner Marquez made a move on the inside and made contact with Rossi. The Yamaha man skipped across the gravel trap as he was forced in to cutting the chicane, whilst Marquez managed to stay on the track, albeit losing time on the Italian. Honda may have some complaints about the way that Rossi seemed to gain time by cutting across the gravel, but race direction have described the incident as a “racing incident”, and that “no advantage was gained [by Rossi]”.

Jorge Lorenzo recovered from a poor qualifying, starting eighth, by moving to third by the end of lap one. Although that meant the end of his 103 consecutive laps led, he didn’t seem to have the pace of the top two, meaning that his third place was really the best he could have hoped for in respect for his title bid. Fourth-placed Andrea Iannone also had a lonely race, finishing five seconds behind Lorenzo, and five clear of fifth place.

The battle for fifth place

The six way battle for fifth place, led by Pol Espargaro.

Pol Espargaro came out on top in an intriging six way battle for fifth place, with Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith pipping Dani Pedrosa late on, and Aleix Espargaro finishing ninth. The other member of the group, Andrea Dovizioso, continued his poor weekend by dropping behind Maverick Vinales and Danilo Petrucci. Scott Redding finished 13th whilst Eugene Laverty crashed out.

Danny Kent extended his Moto3 championship lead with a third place, with Miguel Oliveira taking the vicotry, whilst in Moto2, Johann Zarco made it back-to-back victories, with Britain’s Sam Lowes also finishing third.

Rossi back on top in Assen

The hero of the Dutch TT this year is a very hard one to judge, with Valentino Rossi winning his first race in two and a half years and Jorge Lorenzo securing a 5th place despite breaking his collarbone in free practice just 48 hours before.

After a good start from the second row, Rossi found himself 3rd before passing Marquez. Just a couple of laps later, he passed Pedrosa to hit the front in a moment that the Rossi faithful have been dreaming of for the past 2 years. With the Hondas tripping over themselves, Rossi could extend a 2 second lead, giving him his 80th Premier Class victory.

Lorenzo qualified in 12th due to his free practice time, but showed no signs of injury as he climbed to 5th by lap 3. He then overtook the Pole man Cal Crutchlow before slowing with 10 laps to go, allowing the Brit to go through, and seeing Lorenzo drop to a lonely 5th place.

Crutchlow, after being held up by the injured Lorenzo, grabbed a podium after passing the tiring Pedrosa with 5 laps to go. Having been the first Brit to get a Pole position in over a decade, Crutchlow had a poor start, seeing him drop to 5th place. After he passed Pedrosa, Crutchlow caught up Marc Marquez and pressured the Spaniard for 2nd. It could have been much worse for Crutchlow though, as Marquez appeared to miss a gear on the last lap, and the two almost collided, with Crutchlow almost being forced off the track.

Stefan Bradl came 6th with Bautista, Espargaro, Smith and Dovizioso rounding off the top 10. Crutchlow’s late surge saw him hold on to his 4th place in the Championship despite Rossi’s win. Pedrosa failed to capitalise on Lorenzo’s injury, only extending his lead over the World champion by 2 points.

In Moto2, Pol Espargaro edged out Scott Redding to win by a tenth of a second, whilst Luis Salom won in Moto3.