V for Viñales: Yamaha rider takes on Marquez and comes out on top at Assen
An unstoppable force met an oft-immovable Marquez in the Dutch TT, with the two going head-to-head
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) has taken a stunning Grand Prix win at the Motul TT Assen, stalking the front before striking for the lead and stretching his legs to pull away from reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) followed up his record-breaking pole position on Saturday with another podium, impressing once again even as he continues to recover from arm pump surgery.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) took the holeshot from third on the grid, the Suzuki man streaking away from the line and soon joined by impressive rookie teammate Joan Mir as he slotted into second. Quartararo didn’t retain P1 but he stayed third after a solid start, with eventual winner Viñales the man initially losing out a little. Marquez was next up, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) harrying teammate Danilo Petrucci just behind.
At the start of Lap 2 Viñales made his first move to take Marquez, but then all eyes on were the lead as Rins suddenly slid out…leaving Mir under the pressure of leading a premier class race for the first time, and Quartararo in second for a rookie 1-2. The number 36 then headed a bit wide and the number 20 sliced through, with Viñales taking over in second and Marquez up into third.
Mir had been shuffled back into fourth but Dovizioso soon struck, having passed teammate Petrucci to begin his assault on the front, before there was another strike of bad luck lightning as Viñales headed wide from the lead. Marquez took over, stalking Quartararo, with Dovizioso then within touching distance of the number 12 Yamaha as he got shuffled back. Marquez tried to attack, Quartararo resisted, and Viñales was then back on their tail and it was a trio locked together in the lead.
That was how it would stay for much of the race. Viñales overcooked Turn 1 but reeled them back in, Marquez attacked Quartararo a lap later after a wobble for the Frenchman, and then Marquez had his own moment and the rookie was back in the lead. The trio were once again line astern, uneasily holding station.
With 11 to go, Viñales broke the stalemate. He attacked Marquez and got through before then homing in on Quartararo, pouncing where Marquez had earlier as the Frenchman struggled again with a bit of a wobble at high speed. But a small error soon after cost him and Marquez took over in P1. Would that be the number 93’s chance to pull the pin?
No chance. Viñales sliced back through as swiftly as he could, and the two were starting to gap Quartararo behind. With six laps to go they were still both locked together and there was nothing in it, but gradually then, Viñales started taking a tenth here and a tenth there.
Finally, it seemed the number 12 had broken the Honda rider. The top three had all had their share of mini dramas during the race, but Viñales was then pitch perfect to the flag. Eventually, the gap was nearly five seconds over the line and the Spaniard celebrated in style. It’s his first win since Phillip Island last year, Yamaha’s first of the season and one of his most impressive rides.
Quartararo took his second podium in succession in third as he managed to last the distance, ever-impressive as he continues to makes waves in MotoGP™. Dovizioso was the man behind him, locked in battle with Petrucci and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) for much of the race and coming out on top. Morbidelli eventually just beat Petrucci to complete the top five and equal his best ever premier class result.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) recovered from a moment to take P7 and overhaul Mir’s impressive performance as the rookie finished eighth, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) crossing the line in ninth after a more difficult weekend.
Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completed the top ten for his best result of the season so far and some valuable points, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), escaping a battle behind that saw Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) best Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) in the points scorers, with all incredibly close over the line.
There were a few names missing from the finishers along with Rins, the biggest of which was Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). The ‘Doctor’ lost the chance at a ride back through the field as he collided with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and both went down, making it a difficult run of three for the number 46 of late.
That’s it from Assen and a classic trio of cat and mouse in the lead. Next up is the Sachsenring and that’s one of Marquez’ signature venues, so there will be some ominous music as the reigning Champion makes the short trip south. But with Viñales on form, Quartararo ever-closer despite his recent surgery and the likes of Rins with speed if not always luck, the last race before the summer break will be unmissable. Tune in as we race again in less than a week, on Sunday 7th July.
Maverick Viñales: “It’s amazing, amazing because I’ve been going through some very tough moments, I’ve been knocked out in three races and had a jump start in Austin, which is the race I felt most prepared. Also in Montmelo I think we had the opportunity to fight for the win. Somehow we found a good step for the races. It’s difficult to believe because I thought I couldn’t make this pace because in the warm up, I was not so bad with used tyres but we were missing a little bit of pace. But finally I was hitting 33s all the time. I was very happy, very happy when increased the line. A lot of press went out, bringing Yamaha to the top is something very special, and in two years we were the only ones to get a victory for Yamaha. I have to say congratulations to the team, they have worked really well since Mugello. What can I say, it’s something unbelievable!”
Pol Espargaro negotiated his toughest Grand Prix of the 2019 MotoGP season to take a creditable 11th position with a sore right wrist through the fast TT Circuit Assen curves. The eighth round of the season was also notable for the appearance in the points by both Red Bull KTM Tech3 riders while in Moto2 Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder grabbed second place.
The Motul TT Assen is the oldest and arguably most prestigious Grand Prix on the MotoGP calendar and the latest edition took place in warm summer conditions and temperatures hitting almost thirty degrees. The eighth round of 2019 MotoGP rolled across the distinctive weaving and narrow layout and was watched by 105,000 visitors on Sunday.
Red Bull KTM were pleased with another respectable points haul after the 26 lap affair. Pol Espargaro had entered the Q2 session on Saturday for the sixth time this season and launched away from 12th position once the red light faded. The Spaniard had to deal with a painful right hand (a result of a fall in the Barcelona IRTA test last week) that caused him to be conservative with his race pace to last the duration. Espargaro fought on the fringes of the top ten with his teammate and kept safe and consistent to obtain 11th, ensuring 9th place in the MotoGP Championship standings just ahead of Cal Crutchlow.
Johann Zarco started from the penultimate row of the grid and had a strong race for 10 laps until he pulled into the pits suffering with arm-pump and after several big moments.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira had to recover from a penalisation that saw him parked on the last grid slot. The Portuguese used all his skills and strengths to rise up to 13th. He was one of four riders closely bunched and whom all classified in the same second. One of the others in the group was an improved Hafizh Syahrin who gained points for the second time in 2019 with 15th.
Pol Espargaro: “It was the hardest race to handle the pain but not so much for the riding because I was not on the limit. At the beginning of the race I was quite comfortable. I tried to stay calm and fresh and then I pushed behind [Francesco] Bagnaia. The pain started about 12 laps before the end and then 5 laps to go I couldn’t manage. Entering the fast right corners was quite dangerous for me. So I just rolled off and stayed in that position which was not that bad. I was the first KTM…with problems, so this is good. Hopefully with three days the injury can come a bit better and with some painkillers we can do a good race in Germany.”
Johann Zarco: “It is a hard track for all the riders I think and I got this problem, which I was able to control the last two years and this year not. The good thing was the first ten laps and to be able to catch the others with pace and be able to overtake as a racer. We are working a lot and changing the bike a lot to give me this feeling or possibilities to improve. After ten laps I did a few mistakes. I had the feeling I was not holding the bike any more and before something bad happened I had to stop.”
Miguel Oliveira: “It has been a tough race today. For sure, the starting position didn’t help at all. In the first laps I couldn’t overtake anyone but in any case, I had a strong pace at the end. I could be competitive and fight with other riders, so I think finally, to finish in the points was the target and we did it. I’m quite happy for the weekend. This is a small step but we are getting there. Collecting more information for the future is also important.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “It was a really good race in the beginning. From eight laps to go, I lost rear grip on the right side and don’t know why. I tried to manage it with the traction control but it was not working. So, I’m a bit disappointed, because I know I could have been close to Pol and maybe also in front of my teammate. But this is the race. Now we further try to improve our weak points and understand the bike better and better.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “Pol had a great weekend in the circumstances. He went from the hospital to the garage and there were a lot of question marks as well as pain for him in the sessions. He did a great qualifying and that was the base of this result today. If someone asked me after FP1 if Pol would finish the race on Sunday I would have said ‘no chance’. To ride a MotoGP bike is not like riding a scooter in the paddock: it is a tough job. He did brilliantly. Johann did well in the beginning and was in the group fighting for tenth position but then dropped away dramatically. So we’ll have to analyse what happened but I could see there were riders with other brands that were suffering on track. We’ll have to look if we can give our best at Sachsenring. It was great to see the Red Bull Tech3 guys both in the points again and looking more competitive.”
Dutch Grand Prix: Dovizioso fourth on the finish line at the Assen TT Circuit, sixth place for Danilo Petrucci
The Dutch Grand Prix at the historic TT Circuit of Assen (Netherlands), eighth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, saw Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci claim fourth and sixth position on the finish line respectively. Both Ducati Team riders, starting from third and fourth row, were quick off the blocks at the start and successfully climbed to the margins of the top five within just four laps, with Dovizioso leading the “peloton” in fourth position ahead of his teammate.
In the second half of the race, Dovizioso and Petrucci engaged in a thrilling battle with Mir and Morbidelli to swap positions several times. In a sprint finish, Dovizioso successfully defended fourth position under the checkered flag and Petrucci took sixth place, just five tenths of a second behind his teammate.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 4th
“Looking at the positives, we managed to score the best possible result for us today. After a tricky qualifying session and the start from fourth row, it would have been easy to make mistakes and get involved in risky situations in the chasing group, but we were able to quickly recover positions and take home some important points. Unfortunately, on tracks such as this one our limitations are a bit more evident and everything becomes more difficult. The gap on the finish line can’t make us happy, so we need to keep working hard to make further progress in the areas in which we struggle the most, and we’ll try to do that starting from next weekend at Sachsenring.”
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 6th
“It’s been a bit of a strange weekend, because we started off on the right foot and we were always among the frontrunners in free practice. I was feeling really confident onboard my Desmosedici GP, but the rising temperatures complicated the situation because, when the grip level goes down, we struggle more than our rivals and today it wasn’t possible to match the pace at the front. In the second half of the race Andrea and I engaged in a fun battle against other riders, but unfortunately I lost one position at the very last corner. On the bright side, I’m now third in the Championship and we’re headed to Sachsenring: I barely missed the podium there last year, and this time we’ll try to make sure we step on it.”
After eight rounds, Dovizioso holds second position in the Riders standings with 116 points while Petrucci climbs to third in the championship, just 8 points behind his teammate, with 108. Ducati is second among Manufacturers with 144 points, while the Ducati Team leads the Team rankings with 224 points.
The Ducati Team will resume action next weekend at Sachsenring (Germany) for the ninth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for July 5-7.
TAKA UNHARMED AFTER HORROR CRASH AT ASSEN
Takaaki Nakagami saw his hopes of a good finish in the Dutch Grand Prix ended by a nasty crash in the early stages of Sunday’s race. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU had made a good start at Assen, but was then taken out by Valentino Rossi and fortunate to walk away without serious injury after being attended by medics.
Starting from eighth on the grid, the Japanese star got away well and looked to latch on to the lead group. By the fifth lap he was battling for position with Rossi, but stood no chance when the Yamaha rider lost his front end going into turn eight and collided with his rival’s Honda. Although he required medical attention, Taka emerged largely unscathed and expressed his relief afterwards.
Takaaki Nakagami – DNF
“It was an unlucky day, we made a good start at the beginning and I tried to follow the top group. Then I was fighting with Cal (Crutchlow), Jack (Miller) and Valentino (Rossi), and on that lap he (Rossi) overtook me in turn one and I overtook again in turn two, then in turn eight he tried to overtake again from inside but I saw him lose the front end and I had no time to recover and he took me out. It was an unlucky crash, but although I’m not 100 percent ok, I’ve not got any injuries which is good as it was a nasty crash. I hit the fence and I can’t completely remember what happened, but I want to thank all my staff for helping me.”
DECIDEDLY POSITIVE RACE FOR APRILIA
ANDREA MAKES A NICE TOP TEN FINISH IN ASSEN
ALEIX ALSO IN THE POINTS JUST TWO WEEKS AFTER HIS ACCIDENT IN BARCELONA
With a race of pure consistency, Iannone rode his Aprilia RS-GP to a top-ten finish in the GP of Holland. Starting from the seventh row, Andrea lapped consistently with very good times, in certain stages of the race even at the same times as the fastest riders on the track. His performance in the race and a rediscovered feeling with his RS-GP allowed him to claw his way up no fewer than ten positions and take home the best placement yet of his budding history with Aprilia.
Aleix Espargaró rode a great race with heart and courage, making a very positive finish, considering the two fractures to his left leg and the damage to the ligaments in his knee, suffered in the Barcelona accident, which hindered him throughout the weekend. Despite decidedly difficult mobility in the saddle, Aleix gritted his teeth, staying with the group battling for the top ten and taking home a nice twelfth place in the end, earning more championship points.
“Besides the position, which is my best result with Aprilia, I am especially pleased with the nice pace I maintained throughout the race. With better qualifiers, we would have had a chance for a much better finishing position. This result is the fruit of constant and consistent work, on my part and by the entire team. We have faced some difficult moments, but neither my commitment nor our reciprocal trust have waned. Today we are all happy and I wish to thank all the guys from Aprilia, but we certainly don’t think that this is enough. This is a good starting place and we need to keep working, improving and growing constantly, race after race.”
“It was a very difficult race. I struggled from the beginning to move around on the bike because of the injuries to my left leg, and that penalised our performance. I used all the muscles I could, but it was difficult to turn the bike on a track like this one that is very physical. Now I will focus on recovering in order to arrive in Germany in better physical condition.”
Double points haul for Red Bull KTM Tech3 in the Netherlands
Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin showed a decent race at the TT Circuit in Assen today and scored points with P13 and P15, respectively.
Yet, Oliveira had to start from P20 following a penalty in Qualifying, he built a solid rhythm throughout the 26 laps of his eighth MotoGP race and made up several positions. The Portuguese made a great last lap pass on Francesco Bagnaia to eventually see the chequered flag in 13th.
On the other side of the Red Bull KTM Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin had a strong pace from the beginning and was closing up on the top 12 around half time of the race. During the last laps, he was unfortunately not able to keep his great speed, but took home a point in 15th position.
“It has been a tough race today. For sure, the starting position didn’t help at all. In the first laps I couldn’t overtake anyone. Maybe we need to think about how to improve the bike for the first laps. But in any case, I had a strong pace at the end. I could be competitive and fight with other riders, so I think finally, to finish in the points was the target and we did it. I’m quite happy for the weekend and I think we were more competitive compared to the other two KTM’s in the factory team. This is a small step, but we are getting there. Collecting more information for the future is also important.”
“It was a really good race in the beginning until half of the race. From eight laps to go, I lost rear grip on the right side and don’t know why. I tried to manage it with the traction control, but it was not working. So, I’m a bit disappointed, because I know I could have been close to Pol Espargaro and maybe also in front of my teammate. But this is the race. Now we further try to improve our weak points and understand the bike better and better. I hope I can get a better feeling next week already. I believe the new carbon swingarm that Miguel received here helped in terms of race pace, so I wish I can get it for the next round as well.”
Syahrin – 2019
Oliveira – 2019
“Overall, a good result for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team here in Assen. The Qualifying was not ideal and for sure when you are starting so far down on the grid, this is always a handicap and we could see that on the first few laps, it was a bit of a struggle to pass the guys in front. Anyway, Hafizh made a brilliant job, as he was having a great pace early in the race, passing a few guys and being truly consistent and very fast. I’m very happy and proud about that, because after the bad luck in Barcelona and Mugello, we wanted him to finish the race and we wanted him to score points. He has been riding great. Miguel was a bit more difficult in the beginning of the race, but then both of them found themselves in a tough fight with Iannone, Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro and we could see that Hafizh was struggling to keep his position and the pace during the last six laps. He lost a few positions, Miguel gained a few positions. We got something new for Miguel here, that seems to be helping the rhythm and the pace and clearly, that has been a positive thing during this weekend. We hope Hafizh can benefit from this part in the next round, but I leave it to KTM, because I know they are flat out, trying their best and it’s not that easy. Overall, we have two riders in the points with a decent rhythm, some Ducati and Aprilia and not far from the others in front. We are clearly closing the gap and are not far from Pol Espargaro. I believe this was a quite positive weekend. We have another race next week, which is always good. I like the back-to-back weekends, so we will see, what’s going on there.”
Marquez extends championship lead after incredible Assen battle
Second place after a spirited battle at The Cathedral sees Marquez walk away with an even greater championship lead.
Somewhat cooler than predicted temperatures at the TT Circuit Assen, 44°C track temperature, added an extra challenge to the 26-lap Dutch GP. Losing a place off the line, Marc Marquez quickly worked to make up his lost position. A dramatic third lap soon had the reigning MotoGP World Champion back in podium contention.
On lap 11 Marquez pounced into the led again down the back straight but Viñales and Quartararo soon responded, a thrilling three-way breaking out. With his lead in the MotoGP World Championship on his mind, Marquez eased his pace towards the end of the race and settled into a solid second.
Collecting 20 valuable points, Marquez leaves Assen with a total of 160 World Championship points, 44 points clear of second placed Dovizioso. The result also maintains Honda’s lead in the Constructor Championship, now 22 points ahead of Ducati.
Before the start of the race, Kunimitsu Takahashi and Mick Doohan delighted the Dutch crowd as the sound of two-stroke machinery returned to Assen with a demonstration lap aboard the 1959 RC142 and the 1989 NSR500 to celebrate Honda Racing’s 60th Anniversary.
There’s not long to wait for the German GP which runs from July 05 – July 07. The Repsol Honda Team heads directly for Germany as Jorge Lorenzo continues his recovery after falling in FP1.
“An amazing weekend here in Assen overall. I chose the soft tyre and targeted the podium so this is like a victory as we have again increased the advantage in the championship. I saw Viñales was faster than me and I tried to stay with him to avoid a battle with Quartararo at the end. I was behind Viñales for a few laps and then I saw he was faster than me today, congratulations to him on the victory. The most important part is we have extended our lead in the championship at a circuit where we struggle. Thank you Assen, see you next year!”
Fantastic podium for Quartararo at Dutch GP
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT take best overall result of 2019 season to date, with 3rd for Fabio Quartararo and the 5th for Franco Morbidelli.
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team had a superb Dutch GP, with rookie Fabio Quartararo achieving his second consecutive podium finish and Franco Morbidelli taking the chequered flag in fifth. It is the best combined result for the team, and comes on the debut weekend with PETRONAS Sprinta engine oil in the team’s Yamaha YZR-M1 bikes.
Quartararo, who started from pole position, made a great start, allowing him to lead a MotoGP race for the first time. He headed the field for 12 laps, and didn’t relinquish the lead without a fight. The Frenchman maintained consistent race pace to finish the Dutch GP in third position, giving him sixth in the overall standings with 67 points. He is also currently the Top Independent Rider.
Morbidelli made excellent progress during the race. The Italian, who started from the third row of the grid, made a great fight up the order, and after an intense battle on the final laps and a clever overtaking move on the final chicane, claimed fifth place. Morbidelli is now 12th in the World Championship with 45 points.
The next challenge for the pair will be the German GP, which will be held from July 5th to 7th at Sachsenring.
Razlan Razali – Team Principal
“What a fantastic Dutch GP! To achieve a podium finish, in only the next race from our first-ever podium finish, is really quite remarkable and it’s incredible to think that this team is only eight races old. Fabio performed excellently all weekend and the entire team did a tremendous job. Franco had a superb race, and a fine fifth is just reward for his efforts.
This weekend PETRONAS debuted their Sprinta engine oil in the Yamaha YZR-M1 and were rewarded with pole position and a podium finish. This is a great endorsement of their technical prowess and a well-deserved reward for the support they have given this team.
This is a very happy team today but we remain focused to keep improving and delivering at the very best we can.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“It’s our best result as a team to date. Having our MotoGP riders finish third and fifth is a bit unexpected. If we were offered these results for the rest of the season, we’d take it – it would be fantastic.
Fabio had a great race, leading for 12 laps and claiming another podium – the second for the team. We are very satisfied. Franco had a very steady race. He made a good start, and although he lacked some pace at the beginning, when the other riders started to lap slower he was able to maintain his speed and overtake on the final laps. He should be very proud of himself after this race in Assen.
We come out of this weekend with much more energy and we are looking forward to the next round. The goal for Germany will be to try to make sure Fabio goes into the weekend in the best physical condition, and we hope that Franco can take another step forward, although we are more than satisfied with the results that both riders have provided us with up to now.”
#21 Franco Morbidelli
“I matched my best result in MotoGP to date, so I am very happy today. It was very important to finish the race, and above all to achieve a good position here. It was a tough race, because to begin with I didn’t feel like I had enough speed to stay with the front group. However, towards the end of the race my feeling improved and I was able to ride faster than those in front of me. I was able to gain several positions and finish fifth. I’m very happy with this result, and I thank the team and my crew.”
#20 Fabio Quartararo
“It’s been a great weekend, although the race was very tough. Leading the race was one of the best moments of my life. When I was a kid I watched these races, and today I managed to lead one. When I got overtaken for the lead, I knew I couldn’t do anything to respond because of my arm problems. The chasing pack was further behind, so I chose to manage the distance and ensure I placed on the podium. My arm bothered me a lot because there were several bumps and a lot of wind, which made the bike move around a lot.
We have taken another podium, and yesterday I got on pole, so I couldn’t be happier. The goal in Qatar was to get into the top ten frequently this season, but little by little we have been raising our targets. I’m looking forward to Germany.”
CRUTCHLOW CLAIMS SEVENTH AT ASSEN
Cal Crutchlow dug deep to take a creditable seventh position in the Dutch Grand Prix at Assen on Sunday. At a circuit that had proved difficult for the Honda bikes all weekend, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider battled hard to keep pace towards the front of the field and secured more valuable world championship points.
Starting from the second row of the grid, the Briton struggled to find any rhythm early on and lost a few places over the first couple of laps. But he responded well and was amongst the fastest riders on the circuit by the midway point as he moved back inside the top 10. In the end he finished on his own in seventh, but was satisfied with the result after a testing weekend.
Cal Crutchlow – 7th
“I think we salvaged not a bad position considering the weekend we had. Midway through the race I was the fastest guy on the circuit, but I didn’t feel good with the bike on the first three or four laps and I got passed a lot. Then I was able to do my own pace which was faster than the guys ahead, but when I got to them I made too many mistakes – I ran off the track three or four times. We tried our best and that was it, we have to work on the negatives of the bike, but we’re working well as a team and I think we did a good job to be able to be competitive enough today. As I said, my pace in the middle of the race was very, very good and we need to work on being able to go faster at the start.”
VIÑALES ACES ASSEN IN HARD-FOUGHT RACE
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales didn‘t put a foot wrong this weekend at the TT Circuit Assen and he proved untouchable on race day. He took his and Yamaha‘s first victory since last year‘s race in Phillip Island in style, having to really fight for it in a hard battle at the front. In contrast, Valentino Rossi’s challenge came to a sudden halt due to a crash.
It was a day of mixed emotions for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team at the TT Circuit Assen today. Maverick Viñales delivered a strong race performance at the Motul TT Assen round, riding his YZR-M1 to a brilliant victory after a hard fight at the front. Valentino Rossi‘s luckless streak continued in the Netherlands. He suffered a crash on lap 5, ending his challenge prematurely.
Viñales had a good start from P2, but a wobble in Turn 1 left him a bit unsettled. He fell back to fourth, which he held crossing the finish line for the first time. There was a small scrap between him and Marc Marquez early on, until the number-12 rider noticed the three front men getting away, prompting him to make his move. As he chased the race leaders, frontrunner Álex Rins crashed. It didn‘t shake up the Yamaha rider though. He passed Joan Mir, and then the battle with Marquez and Fabio Quartararo really started.
The 24-year-old was in third place for a while and was having a good look behind Marquez with 14 laps to go, deciding carefully where he would make his move. He first led the race on lap 16, but Marquez proved difficult to shake. With 9 laps to go, the Yamaha rider ran wide going into Turn 1 and fell back to second place, but it was only briefly. He retaliated that same lap by using the Yamaha‘s nimble character to perfection, reclaiming the P1 spot. It was the right moment to put his head down, and this time he broke free from his rival. He showed his incredible race pace, setting a personal best lap of 1‘33.720s on lap 21. The Spaniard kept his concentration until the very end and took the chequered flag with a 4.854s advantage.
Rossi did well to manoeuvre himself through the busy mid-pack in the early stages of the race. Setting off from P14, he held his position in the opening lap and gained a place on the next. He had found a set-up he liked in this morning’s warm-up, and it clearly worked for him in the early stages of the race as he swiftly moved up to 11th place in lap 3.
However bad luck struck for the third time in a row. Eager to hit the front, the Italian attempted to overtake Takaaki Nakagami on lap 5 but suffered a fast crash in Turn 8, unfortunately taking his rival down with him. Thankfully the Doctor was quickly back on his feet and able to check on his fellow rider, but he could not resume his challenge.
Today’s NC result means Rossi stays in fifth position in the championship standings with an 88-point gap to first. Viñales on the other hand moves up from eleventh to seventh in the rankings, with a 95-point margin to the top. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, whilst Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP gains one position, to third, in the team classification.
The team will be back in action next week, when the riders take on the Sachsenring for the German GP.
“We start with the positives. Maverick was strong all weekend and started the Dutch GP with the same confidence level he had in Barcelona. To have him battle at the front, which is where he belongs, and win in such a convincing manner is fantastic, especially in hot weather, the circumstances in which we struggled in the past. This win is an indication that we‘re heading in the right direction and is a very important reward for both Maverick, his team, and Yamaha, because they have been working very hard. It also slightly makes up for the misfortune our team encountered in Catalunya. However, as much as we are happy for Maverick, we are disappointed for Valentino. The race is always tricky when you‘re starting from more towards the back, but he had found something he liked in the morning and was on his way up the order when he crashed. It‘s a shame, and also very unlucky that Nakagami was taken down too. In any case, we have learned from this weekend and head to the Sachsenring fully motivated to get to work.”
“It feels like I’m dreaming. These have been difficult times for me, because I’ve been out of the three tracks where I thought I had the most potential with the bike. My season has been difficult, but I’ve tried to keep the momentum from Catalunya, because I felt really good on the bike. I’m so grateful to the team, because they did a great job this weekend and prepared well for the last laps of the race. I was strong, even one-to-one on the brakes, I knew I could make the overtakes. It was very important to relieve some of the pressure by taking a victory. I think the team will be more relaxed now. Being back on the top step of the podium again feels really good and bringing Yamaha back to its winning ways is the most important to me. We knew we had the potential but hadn’t been able to show it. It’s always a combination between the team’s, the rider’s, and the bike’s efforts. Sachsenring is a track I’m usually fast at, so we’ll try our best.”
“I was quite fast, so I tried to recover some positions. I was battling with Nakagami and I tried to overtake him, entering Turn 8, but I was a bit too much off the line, I think. When I entered the corner, I lost the front and unfortunately I also took out Nakagami, so that’s a great shame and I have to say “sorry”. It was a mistake and a pity, because today, after being slow this weekend, we had found something, so during the race I was good. I felt good with the bike. So, on one side this makes it an even bigger shame, but on the other side it’s also important to realise that I was suffering too much this weekend and that we need to be stronger.”
MIR TAKES 8TH IN ASSEN WHILE AN UNLUCKY RINS GOES DOWN
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 30.
Joan Mir: 8th (+ 24.268)
Alex Rins: DNF
• Joan Mir has another solid points score as he takes 8th.
• Alex Rins runs at the front until unfortunate crash.
• Team SUZUKI ECSTAR leave Assen with mixed feelings.
The eighth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship got underway in front of a bumper crowd of 105,000 people. Following a decent warm-up session, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders were feeling ready for the 26-lap race.
Alex Rins and Joan Mir, starting from their respective grid positions of 3rd and 5th, got off to rocket starts, leading the pack for the early laps. The pair looked comfortable and confident heading the field, but disaster struck at Turn 9 when Alex Rins lost the front of his GSX-RR and crashed out of the race. He was uninjured but very disappointed as he felt sure of bringing home a podium in Assen.
Joan Mir was able to hold position after the loss of his team-mate, with the rookie slotting into 5th place and maintaining strong pace for a large portion of the race. He focused on closing down the Ducati pair in front of him as his hard front tyre choice came into play. Joan was able to hold an impressive 4th place for several laps. A small mistake under braking with 2 laps remaining dropped him to 8th, a position he held until the chequered flag.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Today we expected a very strong race for both our riders, so it was a pity that we couldn’t get the results we hoped for. We need to investigate exactly what happened to Alex. Joan lost some places and that was a pity too, but he still had a good finish and took good points within the second group. Things have been improving for him in the last few rounds.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“Today was disappointing for Alex because he and Joan had great starts and Alex just made a small mistake and went down. Joan fought well, even though he had to back off a bit towards the end of the race. Despite everything, we’re still confident because in general our pace and form are very good at the moment. We’re looking forward to trying again in Germany next week.”
“I’m so happy about the weekend in general. Although it was still a bit of a shame, because I expected a little bit more. I was fighting really hard throughout the race, but I didn’t have much grip on the rear towards the end and I thought it was better to finish than fight. I’m looking forward to Sachsenring because I have been feeling much better recently, and I feel that I’m close to achieving some really strong results.”
“I did a really good start, and I was riding with a lot of confidence. But then, on the exit of Turn 8, the front came up a little bit more than usual and then I braked really hard getting into Turn 9 and I lost the front immediately. It was a real shame because I was doing well, with a good rhythm and good pace. I’m sure I would have stayed with the front riders. The good news is that I’ll be back on the bike in less than a week, at Sachsenring, and I’m really excited.”
GP of the Netherlands – Race Classification:
1. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 40’55.415
2. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +4.854
3. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT +9.738
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team +14.147
5. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT +14.467
6. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati Team +14.794
7. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL +18.361
8. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +24.268
9. Jack MILLER Pramac Racing +26.496
10. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +26.997
11. Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +28.732
12. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +34.095
13. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +34.181
14. Francesco BAGNAIA Pramac Racing +34.249
15. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +34.494
16. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing +48.357
17. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing 1 Lap
5 Johann ZARCO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU
46 Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
42 Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR
MotoGP Championship Standings:
1. Marc MARQUEZ Honda 160
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 116
3. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 108
4. Alex RINS Suzuki 101
5. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 72
6. Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 67
7. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 65
8. Jack MILLER Ducati 60
9. Pol ESPARGARO KTM 52
10. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 51
11. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 48
12. Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 45
13. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 31
14. Joan MIR Suzuki 30
15. Jorge LORENZO Honda 19
16. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 18
17. Johann ZARCO KTM 16
18. Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 15
19. Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 11
20. Michele PIRRO Ducati 9
21. Tito RABAT Ducati 9
22. Stefan BRADL Honda 6
23. Sylvain GUINTOLI Suzuki 3
24. Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 2
25. Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 2
26. Bradley SMITH Aprilia