Assen provided yet more proof, as if it were needed, that the combination of the Yamaha M1 and Jorge Lorenzo is the
best out there. Lorenzo is riding at a sublime level and the Yamaha’s base set up is so good it works on any track,
on any surface and with either of the choice of Bridgestone tyres. Lorenzo now routinely smashes in long runs in
practice and qualifying at lap times just a tenth of what he achieves in his final run for pole.
There was hope, however, for the other aliens. Dani Pedrosa turned a disappointing first two days into an excellent
race. He got the holeshot from the third row and set the fastest lap of the race on the way to second, and unlike at
Silverstone Lorenzo was never completely out of range.
Similarly, Casey Stoner started and finished third for his and Ducati’s first rostrum of the year. Again Stoner was in touch with Pedrosa but never close enough to challenge.
For the second race running he cited arm pump as the problem, not anything to do with the bike. The confusing
thing, as it’s been for most of the season was that only one of the Repsol Hondas was competitive but for the first
time only one of the Ducatis.
In more parallels with Silverstone, the race was enlivened by two of the satellite bikes. First, Randy de Puniet
put the LCR Honda on the front row for the second time in a row and then fought with Dovizioso’s factory bike for
the second half of the race. Ben Spies was the privateer who lit up the first part of the race, running in second
before being passed by Pedrosa and Stoner.
Strangely for Assen, all three races were less entertaining than usual, but the good news is that the crowd was up
despite the counter attractions of Wimbledon and the World Cup. Probably a good job Holland weren’t playing though.