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.

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Marquez wins in difficult conditions

Marquez Misano Marc Marquez took victory at the San Marino Grand Prix, whilst Jorge Lorenzo crashed to enable Valentino Rossi to extend his championship lead to 23 points. The conditions wreaked havoc with the riders, with many who started on slicks changing to wet tyres, before changing back to finish back on slicks. Bradley Smith finished second, despite not pitting at all during the race, with Scott Redding remarkably completed the podium, even though he crashed early on.

Title leader Rossi had lead the race, but decided to ditch the wet tyres later than his rivals. Marquez and Lorenzo pitted two laps before the Italian, giving them the advantage. However Marquez was gifted the victory with six laps to go as Lorenzo came off.

Misano podiumLoris Baz finished fourth, with Rossi fifth and Danilo Petrucci sixth. Dani Pedrosa could only finish ninth after missing his pit board four times, with the Britain’s other rider Cal Crutchlow eleventh.

Rossi now leads the championship by 23 points, with reigning champion Marquez a further 40 points behind. Johann Zarco took yet another Moto2 win, and Enea Bastianini took the victory in Moto3, with Danny Kent finishing sixth.

Rossi wins in the wet at Silverstone

Rossi SilverstoneValentino Rossi took the victory in troubling conditions at Silverstone as his championship rivals floundered. Danilo Petrucci achieved his first ever podium and Andrea Dovizioso completed the podium. The race was initially declared dry, but after all the riders elected to change to wet tyres, a wet race was declared.

Rossi led the race from early on, with Marc Marquez challenging him. But the Spaniard crashed out leaving Rossi to cruise home for maximum points. Petrucci and Dovizioso fought their way first past Dani Pedrosa and then past Jorge Lorenzo to finish on the podium. Lorenzo’s fourth place sees him now 12 points behind his team-mate in the championship. Scott Redding, who announced he would be joining Pramac Ducati next season, finished as the top Brit in sixth with Bradley Smith behind him. Nicky Hayden finished as the top open class rider in twelfth.

It was a story of what could have been for Cal Crutchlow after he was bowled out of third position by team-mate Jack Miller. Both Honda riders had started well, but the Aussie took down Crutchlow aiming for a pass that was realistically never on.

In the other classes, the Championship leaders extended their leads. Johann Zarco took his fifth Moto2 victory of the season, whilst Danny Kent took advantage of Isaac Vinales’ fall to become the first British rider to win at home in the class.

Pol in pole for Tech 3 ride, but is he the best fit?

Tech 3’s reported approach for Pol Espargaro could pave the way for Cal Crutchlow to get a ride on a factory bike. In Mugello, Valentino Rossi’s personal manager, who is involved in the possible return to MotoGP of Suzuki, hinted at the prospect of a return for the former race winners, whilst refusing to rule out the team offering a factory ride to Crutchlow.

Crutchlow is likely to be looking for a new ride at the end of the season, after his Tech 3 contract expires at the end of the 2013 season, whilst team-mate Bradley Smith and factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi all have contracts until 2014. Instead of renewing the Brit’s contract, Yamaha are looking to promote a rider from Moto2, with Pol Espargaro looking the most likely candidate. Espargaro, brother of current MotoGP rider Aleix, finds himself 5th in the Moto2 championship, 47 points off the lead. After his win in Qatar, Espargaro has had a mixture of results, including a 3rd position, a 4th, a 20th and a DNF. This inconsistency, although expected from a young rider, doesn’t seem to warrant a place on the MotoGP grid.

If Yamaha are looking for a rider to step up to MotoGP, it’s hard for them to look past Scott Redding, Having been tipped for a ride on a Pramac Ducati this year, only to be pipped by Ben Spies, Redding leads the Moto2 championship by 47 points, having already racked up an incredible 101 points from just 5 races, including back to back wins in France and Italy. His weight, a disadvantage on the smaller Moto2 bikes, and his aggressive riding style would be better suited to the premier class, making him well worthy of a gamble from a satellite team.

The best option for the Tech 3 team though, is surely Pol’s brother, Aleix Espargaro. The Spaniard has already proved himself in MotoGP in the Aspar CRT team, finishing as the top CRT last season, in 12th place. This season, he looks a certainty to retain that crown, as he sits 10th in the championship, above prototype riders Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone.

Whoever gets the Tech 3 ride though, the return of Suzuki would be a welcome one, adding yet more competition for a place on the podium, and sets up a tantalising season to come.