Repsol Honda MotoGP
Marquez makes it a perfect eight after dramatic Dutch TT
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has taken his eighth win from eight races, continuing his flawless run in 2014, and has become the youngest rider to win eight successive premier class races (21 years 131 days), taking the record from Mike Hailwood (24 years and 71 days) who won the eighth of a 12-race winning sequence in 1964. Marc’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, had a fantastic battle with Aleix Espargaro and took third place on the podium, alongside Andrea Dovizioso.
In true Assen style, the weather played a key part in today’s twenty-six lap race. As the riders left their garages for the starting grid, rain arrived and forced a delay to proceedings. Whilst some riders remained on the grid, both Marc and Dani returned to the garage to evaluate the best course of action and to decide if they should start on slicks or wet tyres. Both selected wet tyres and the race got underway at 14h20 local time.
Marc held his position from the start, and enjoyed an early battle with Dovizioso on the first lap, passing each other five times before passing him for the lead. Dani slipped down to fourth behind Aleix Espargargo as a fantastic battle began to develop. The track began to dry quickly with a dry line emerging and on lap six most of the front runners chose to enter the pits to swap bikes for the dry set-up on slicks. They filtered back on track and began to rediscover their rhythm but Marc made a small mistake on lap eight and Dovizioso passed him to take the lead. Dani was tucked in behind Espargaro and on lap nine they passed each other a few times but Dani wasn’t able to complete the pass. On lap twelve rain flags were shown again and the bikes with wet set-up were prepared in the pit lane. Thankfully the weather held off and didn’t worsen, enabling the Repsol Honda riders to continue their chase.
Dani briefly passed Espargaro on lap sixteen but was again passed back and Marc passed Dovizioso on the final turn and began to push, setting a fastest race lap (lap nineteen). Meanwhile Dani managed to pass Espargaro on lap eighteen and built himself a comfortable gap to take the final spot on the podium – his 90th podium in MotoGP.
Marc has now won in every class at Assen – MotoGP (2014), Moto 2 (2012 and 2011) and 125cc (2010) – and he celebrates this eighth win in a row with his brother, Alex, who also won on his Honda in the Moto3 class earlier today. He now has a perfect 200 points from 200 and leads the Championship by 72 points over Rossi. Dani is in third place but equal on points with Rossi (128).
1st – Championship Standing: 1st – 200 points
“It was a tough day because this was a race where I could have lost many points, but we were still able to extend our lead in the Championship so I’m very pleased with how it has gone and how we dealt with the flag-to-flag. It was our first experience of a race like this, with both wet and dry conditions, and we even had a little scare after the bike change. We are very happy with this victory and to have got a very important 25 points on a weekend we had circled on the calendar”
3rd – Championship Standing: 3rd – 128 points
“It was a very difficult race and was even a bit chaotic at first, when it came to having to decide which tyres to put on the bike. I kept a cool head and chose the option of wets, because at first the track was a little damp. I should have pushed more in the opening laps – but I chose not to incase it rained again – as the track began to dry out. The rain didn’t come and I had a good fight with Aleix for the podium in the dry. I am happy to have taken the rostrum finish, because you never know how races like today’s might go, but this one went well for us and we are now focusing on doing a good job in Germany”
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders have tough race at Assen
Hiroshi Aoyama and Nicky Hayden place 16th and 17th at Dutch TT, riding well in the wet before change of bikes
The MotoGP race suffered the same fate as the Moto2 contest. In the moments before the start, the rain intensified, disrupting plans. Firstly because it was necessary to postpone the race start and secondly because, as in Moto2, the race was truly wild. The premier class riders started the Dutch TT in wet conditions, with plenty of doubts. Márquez and Dovizioso battled for most of the race at the front, but things were swiftly levelled out by a series of bike changes. The entire field had switched machines to their second bikes by Lap 7, and on a dry surface Dovizioso led the way. Márquez eventually hunted him down, passed him and took an eighth successive victory of the season. Dani Pedrosa and Aleix Espargaró had an entertaining duel for the final podium spot, with Pedrosa winning out for third.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar riders had a very eventful race, defined by two distinct parts. Hiroshi Aoyama and Nicky Hayden started from fourteenth and twenty-second positions, respectively, but had the wet weather pace to move up the field. Before the change of bikes, the two were up into the Top 10, having passed several riders. Unfortunately, their feeling changed considerably on the dry asphalt and they progressively lost touch. They nevertheless managed to complete the race near the points. Hiroshi Aoyama was sixteenth and Nicky Hayden seventeenth.
16th Hiroshi Aoyama:
“Today we had a very tough race, especially from the moment that we had to swap bikes. I felt very comfortable with the wet setup at the start, we were been able to push hard and gain positions as we closed in on the frontrunners. I felt so comfortable in the wet, that when the track dried out I found it hard to change bikes. When I went to the bike with the dry setup my feeling was worse and I was not as fast as yesterday. I lost many positions as a result. This weekend I had a new front fork available that has allowed me to ride faster, and although the result was not what we had hoped for I am happy with the way I felt at this Grand Prix. I hope that in Germany we can get a better result.”
17th Nicky Hayden:
“The conditions for today’s race were quite tough. Even so, I started pretty well in the wet; the bike worked perfectly at the start of the race, which allowed me to enjoy riding and overtake several riders. Unfortunately for us it continued raining and the track dried out, so we had to change bikes. Leaving the pits I noticed something strange in the acceleration of the bike. I also had some problems with the front end that prevented me from pushing hard. During the two laps after changing bikes I lost a lot of time and positions. Also, in the dry I did not manage to go as fast as I had expected. This weekend has been quite frustrating for us. Now it is time to focus on Germany and a good result there to take the bad taste from this round away.”
BRADL ENDS 10TH AFTER A CHAOTIC RACE AT THE CATHEDRAL
Assen, 28 June: typical Dutch weather has bedeviled the MotoGP field even today just before the start of the 26-lap race which was initially delayed due to wet conditions. The LCR racer Stefan Bradl, who started from the third row, had another tough race culminated with a crash during the sightseeing lap. Luckily the German escaped unhurt from the incident rejoining his colleagues on the grid but they all changed to dry set-up machines at a certain point of the race. The Bavarian could not find the proper feeling neither in the wet nor in the dry and managed to finish the 8th round in 10th place.
“It was a disappointing weekend for us and a crazy race which I did not enjoy at all. I crashed during the sightseeing lap on my dry bike and I immediately thought that I was living a nightmare. I tried to jump back on my bike but it was very damaged so I climbed over the wall running back to my garage for taking the second bike. It was set-up for wet conditions and in that moment it was raining so we started the race like this but for me it was tough to find the right feeling in the wet. Unfortunately I was not fast enough and it took me too much time to find the speed. After some laps I entered the pits to swap the bike to go but it was probably too late…. maybe I should have entered the pits one lap earlier. But even in the dry we missed some speed to perform well. I am really looking forward to my home race now because I can count on the support of my crowd”.
Marquez blows away the field in fantastic flag-to-flag Dutch TT
Round 8: Dutch TT – Race
Assen, Saturday June 28 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Wet/Dry. Ambient 19-18°C; Track 22-23°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Today’s Dutch TT at Assen was an eventful flag-to-flag contest, with a wet track at the start of the race rapidly drying over the twenty-six laps, but in the end there was no stopping Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez who adapted best to the changing conditions for his eighth consecutive victory in 2014.
Marquez traded the race lead with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in the early stages of the race while on wet tyres, before the leading pair swapped bikes on lap six and headed out of pit lane on slick tyres to resume their battle. Marquez made the race-winning pass on Dovizioso on the fifteenth lap and then upped the pace – almost setting a new race lap record on lap 19 – to eventually take the chequered flag 6.714 seconds ahead of Dovizioso who claimed an excellent second place. Dani Pedrosa ensured two Repsol Honda’s made the podium by seizing third place.
Rain fell leading up to, and for the first few laps of the race but once it stopped the track dried extremely quickly at which point the riders on slicks were able to lap much quicker than those still on wet tyres. By the eighth lap all the riders that started on wet tyres had changed to slicks to take advantage of the improving track surface. Twenty-one riders started the race on the soft compound wet tyres front and rear with only two riders; Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez and Paul Bird Motorsport’s Broc Parkes starting the race on the soft compound slick tyres front and rear. The slick tyre options that were used on the riders’ spare bikes after they changed bikes for the dry conditions were the extra-soft and soft compound front slick, and the soft and medium compound rear.
Marquez has amassed 200 championship points courtesy of his flawless win record, while Pedrosa and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi are joint-second in the standings with 128 points each.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“The variable weather certainly made for an exciting race, but in the end Marc showed the same impressive performance so congratulations to him and Repsol Honda on another superb performance. Today was quite tricky for the riders and teams as conditions changed quickly leading up to the race which meant final decisions on race tyre choice were made just moments before the race . Almost every rider made the decision to start on wet tyres before switching to slicks, and the pace that some of the riders were able to set on slick tyres as the track dried out was very impressive. I am pleased with how both our specifications of tyres performed today in what were challenging conditions.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“Today was incredible, before the race I was quite nervous because these are the conditions nobody wants, as it’s hard to know the best strategy. We started on wet tyres even though we knew that after six or so laps the track would dry. After I swapped bikes I made a mistake which allowed Dovi to get past me, but then after a while I was able to catch Andrea as I had a better rhythm. After that it was a bit easier but I still had to keep my concentration to take the win.”
Rossi Rides to Fifth in Chaotic Assen TT
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi rode impressively this afternoon to take fifth during an unpredictable race at the Assen TT. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo briefly led the race, but later fell back after a tyre change, finishing in 13th place.
There was uncertainty before the start of the Dutch GP, with the riders already on the starting grid when the race was delayed due to the rainy conditions. It was finally declared a wet race and two extra sighting laps were given.
Rossi initially went out on slicks but decided last-minute to change to wets after the warm-up lap. Though this meant he had to start the race from pit lane, the setback didn’t hold him back for long and he was quick to move up the order, reaching 13th by lap three. At the end of lap six chaos ensued again as the track started to form a dry line and half of the riders came into the pits for another tyre change. Rossi dived into the pits with the first group, rejoining the race in tenth position. He was quick to find a good rhythm and closed the gap of 2.325s to Pol Espargaro, Carl Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl over the next six laps. The Doctor then only took another three laps to move up to fifth place. He was consistently closing on Aleix Espagaro in fourth, but there were not enough laps, leaving him to hold fifth at the line.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a good start, the Spaniard moving up from ninth to sixth in the first lap. Having found a good wet pace, he threatening to break into the top five when changing weather again disrupted the race. Lorenzo made the change to a dry bike and having returned in 17th was able to move up several positions to 13th by the flag.
With fifth place Rossi scores 11 points and is now tied for second place in the championship with Dani Pedrosa, 128 points behind Marc Marquez. Jorge Lorenzo gains three points, leaving him in fifth in the championship standings, ten points behind Dovizioso in fourth.
Bradley Smith completed a challenging race for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team in Assen by crossing the line in 8th after enduring the unpredictable Dutch weather for round 8 of the 204 MotoGP World Championship. Smith began his 26 lap sprit around the legendary 4252 metre circuit from the last grid slot of the second row before holding 8th place during the opening lap as he intrepidly powered through the rain and over the damp track surface. The historical Assen circuit proceeded to dry rapidly forcing the young British rider to enter the pits to change bikes on lap seven. He then re-joined the race and set into an incredibly competitive rhythm aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 and in the final stages of the race he was the fastest MotoGP rider on track, also producing the 3rd fastest race time on his final lap as he just missed out on P7 by a tenth of a second.
His Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Pol Espargaro suffered ill luck as he retired during round 8 of the 2014 MotoGP world championship at Assen on lap 18. The reigning Moto2 World champion began the day in positive fashion by seizing 3rd in this morning’s warm up before starting the Iveco Daily Dutch TT from 11th on the grid. After choosing to make a last minute swap to his tyre choice, the rookie had to start from the rear of the field in 23rd but expertly elevated himself up to 14th position by the end of the first lap before changing bikes on lap seven due to the drying track. The Spanish star rejoined the race and set his sights on regaining some positions but fell on lap 15. He heroically remounted and attempted to carry on after entering the pits again to swap bikes, before retiring on lap 18 from the Grand Prix. His non finish marks a disappointing end to a weekend which was full of high promise with the MotoGP rookie continuing to learn at every race in an impressive manner during his first season in the premier class.
NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro had a great ride at Assen despite the difficult conditions. Starting from pole, Espargaro held third position behind Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso until the tyre change. The Spaniard was also able to ride a good pace with the dry set-up. Espargaro fought hard with Dani Pedrosa for third place, but had to give in eventually. He finished third leaving him sixth in the championship with 67 points.
It was a difficult race for teammate Colin Edwards. Struggling to find confidence on the tricky and changeable track conditions, he finally finished 22nd.
“You know, I took a risk because the conditions looked good but unfortunately one minute before the start it started to rain again so I had to change bike and start from last. It’s a shame because if I had started with the wets I could stay in front with the top guys. Anyway it’s something about luck today and unfortunately this time it ended like this. I’m quite satisfied with the rest of the race because I had good pace and a good feeling with the bike. Also here in Assen I was quite fast.”
“I have to say that the bike was working quite well on the wet and the dry, I just had a bad race as a rider. My confidence wasn’t great; I didn’t want to crash like last year. I didn’t have value enough like the other riders to go fast, it was a bad race for me. I would like to apologize with my team, the engineers and my fans because they all did their best but today it was definitely my worst race ever. In the dry I’m confident and not afraid of crashing but when it’s spitting maybe I have the memory of last year and I didn’t have things clear in my mind. In future if something happens like this I hope to be more confident and less scared of crashing.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Unfortunately it was clear from the start of the weekend that the weather was going to be the biggest factor today. As always the team worked hard from the first session to give both Vale and Jorge the best possible set up for the race. In typical Assen fashion we had the weather changing every couple of minutes in the lead up to the start, making it a real gamble to decide which tyres to start on. Having started from the pit lane Vale did well to come back and ride through the chaos to take fifth. Jorge gambled on staying out a lap later than the leaders to change to slicks and so had a bigger challenge to come back. It’s a shame as our results don’t represent what we have been capable of here, had the weather been more consistent. We’ll put this weekend behind us now and hope for either fully wet or fully dry at the Sachsenring!”
“Overall I am pleased with my performance at the end of the race even if the position is not what I’m aiming for. I was very comfortable with the bike once the track had dried and my race pace would have seen me within top 5 if not on the podium. Unfortunately at the same time today was quite a frustrating situation. The bike didn’t work too well in the rain and I lost so much time at the beginning because of these wet conditions. I decided to follow Jorge’s judgement on the pit stop and remained out for one more lap with him which was definitely the wrong decision as I lost approximately 10 seconds during that lap and when looking at the time sheets now, I would have been able to fight for 4th position with Aleix had I not lost that time. However when I rejoined the race the bike was awesome in the dry. The team did a great job but it’s still just a bit irritating to end up in this position after such a solid end to the race in terms of pace. So unfortunately the result doesn’t justify our efforts but we’ve worked really well this weekend and I go hard from the beginning to the end and look forward to giving it my all next round in Germany.”
DNF, 8 Laps
“It has been such an unlucky and disappointing end to this weekend! We started in a brilliant way during the practice sessions where I felt strong and competitive on the bike. My only worry was the weather and the storyboard planned the worst scenario for me. The rain arrived when we were going to the starting grid and from that moment on I got really nervous. I think , we also made a few of unfortunate decisions as it was actually a gamble which tyres to choose at the beginning of the race. Also the fact that my first ever wet laps had to be the opening ones of today’s race did not really help my confidence. However, I really didn’t feel comfortable enough to push and when we changed to dry tyres I was already far behind trying to close the gap to the riders in front of me, but I made a mistake and crashed. Afterwards, I returned to the pit box and tried to finish the race with my second bike, which was on rain tyres, but with the track already dry there was nothing I could do. Now I have to look forward to the next race in Germany in two weeks of time where we hopefully will be able to show our true potential.”
“It was a great race and the battle with Dani Pedrosa on a factory Honda was hard but it was good fun. On the wet I was cautious so I lost the contact with Andrea (Dovizioso), but with the dry set up I pushed hard to fight for the podium. We had a very good battle with Dani: he was overtaking me on the straight and I passed him in the corners. It’s a pity, but I’m happy with this result. We gained important point for the championship and now we are 6th. We leave Assen happy with the results and we will return stronger in Sachsenring.”
22nd, 3 Laps
“It was a difficult weekend and I struggled a lot also in the race. The tracks conditions were very tricky, I played a bit with the tyres but it didn’t work. I lack of confidence and I cannot push as I would like. I need to figure out something for the German GP.”
Superb race by Dovizioso at TT Assen to take runner-up slot, Crutchlow ninth
Andrea Dovizioso today ran an almost perfect race on the Dutch TT circuit at Assen, where the eighth round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship was held. With an intelligent strategy, the Ducati Team rider perfectly interpreted the difficult weather conditions to take home a well-deserved second place, behind winner Marquez. With this result, the second podium of the season after a third at Austin, Dovizioso moves up one place in the world championship and is now fourth on 91 points.
Starting well from seventh place on the grid on rain tyres for the early laps in the wet, Dovizioso found himself second behind Marquez and did not even relinquish the position during the pit-stop on lap 6 to change bikes when the track started to dry. Andrea actually took the lead on lap 8 and stayed there until lap 15, when he was overtaken by the championship leader, and he finished the race in second place, with a comfortable advantage over third-placed Pedrosa.
Team-mate Cal Crutchlow did not have an easy race. Starting from fifth on the grid after a good qualifying session yesterday, Cal was able to make it into sixth position by the mid-point, but then started to lose ground and he concluded the Dutch GP in ninth place.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd
“The conditions today were very difficult but we managed to get a good start with the right choice of tyres and a perfect race strategy. I had a good feeling with the bike right away, there wasn’t much water but the grip was good, you just had to understand which corners were wet and which were dry. Both Marc and I were able to interpret the track quicker than the others and we pulled out a good gap straight away. I followed him for the early laps, this was my strategy, then I managed to pass him when he made a mistake but his pace was quicker than mine. This second podium of 2014 is very important for us: we are all working so hard and I really want to thank my team!”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 9th
“It was a really tough race today for everyone because of the weather conditions. As far as I was concerned it was a disappointing result because I felt we should have taken more advantage of the conditions as soon as the track dried, but I had the same problems as I had in every practice. We had too much understeer with the bike and I was not competitive enough. A good job by Andrea, today he got a fantastic result for the team.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Obviously today we are very satisfied with Dovi’s second place! We knew that our Desmosedici could perform particularly well in the wet but the conditions in this race were really difficult: the team ran an excellent strategy and Andrea was able to keep up a good pace in the rain and then maintain a high rhythm even when the track dried out. He also managed to lead for eight laps, and then when Marquez passed him, he continued to lap well to defend his position. It is a result that fills us with satisfaction and gives us confidence for the future.”