story and photos courtesy MotoGP
Valentino Rossi (above) has won the Iveco TT Assen, picking up his 80th victory in the MotoGP™ premier class and his first since the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2010. The nine-time World Champion shared the podium with Marc Marquez and pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow, with Jorge Lorenzo finishing fifth despite a broken collarbone.
Lorenzo generated many of the headlines before the race, having been cleared to race less than four hours before the start and having travelled back from an operation in Barcelona. Rossi’s afternoon started from fourth on the grid. A decisive pass on LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl saw the Yamaha rise to third in a very strong move at the chicane as the first lap came to a close. The Italian then proceeded to hunt down the Hondas, dispatching of Marquez on Lap 4 and Pedrosa on Lap 6 in what was a similar move to that of 2007. He would go on to take an emotional victory by 2.1 seconds.
Marquez’s second place boosts his championship situation, finishing ahead of both Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Having sealed his first front row starting position since Le Mans, the 20-year-old rookie ran third but caught Pedrosa on the 18th lap; his first attempt to overtake failed, but the reigning Moto2™ champion made the most of his next opportunity and seized second spot on the drag to the first corner.
Pedrosa would fall back one more place before the chequered flag, losing out to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow who was fortunate to avoid a crash when he touched Marquez’s rear wheel on the final lap. Although fourth is Pedrosa’s worst result since Round 1 in Qatar, he still extends his championship lead by two points.
Lorenzo was mightily relieved to have scored 11 points, having suffered a heavy crash on Thursday before being operated on in the early hours of Friday morning. He arrived back at Assen on Friday afternoon and was given the green light to race after 11 o’clock this morning. Having risen to the top five from 12th on the grid by only the second lap, he ran as high as fourth but fell back as pain began to kick in.
Sixth place went to Bradl, who, from his first ever MotoGP front row, had briefly snatched second at the start, whereas GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista overhauled leading CRT rider, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, for seventh with six laps to go. On the final lap Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden lost two places and fell to 11th, dropping behind Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and his own teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Avintia Blusens’ Ivan Silva finished 23rd covering for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama, whereas Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek was the sole retirement.
Valentino Rossi’s success is his first since returning to Yamaha and, as well as being his 80th win in the top tier, is his 106th career victory and eighth at Assen.
MotoGP™ Race Classification
1- Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha 41:25.202
2- Marc Marquez SPA Honda +2.170
3- Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha +4.073
1st CRT 1- Aleix Espargaro SPA ART +32.405
Moto2™ title rivals Pol Espargaro (above) and Scott Redding went toe to toe at Assen on Saturday, with the Spaniard triumphing in the Iveco TT Assen. Switzerland’s Dominique Aegerter finished third after leading earlier in the race, confirming his second ever podium finish after Valencia 2011.
On a weekend full of dramas, the first retirement came before the race had even started as 2010 class champion Toni Elias crashed on the Warm-Up lap. As the lights went out, Marc VDS Racing Team’s championship leader Redding quickly dispatched of Espargaro and his Tuenti HP 40 teammate Esteve Rabat to seize the lead.
The front battle hit fever pitch on the eighth tour. Espargaro had retaken the lead from Redding but, as the Englishman dived up the inside of the first corner, both men went wide and it was Aegerter who led the race to the delight of his team. As the front end pace increased, he would drop back into a battle with Rabat and Johann Zarco.
Espargaro handed the lead to Redding on the 20th tour, then following closely before mounting a strong challenge into Turn 1 at the start of the final lap. He would keep the top spot, defending at every one of Assen’s 18 corners. More last lap drama saw Rabat plummet from third to fifth, handing the final rostrum position to Aegerter on the Suter, while Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio finished fourth.
The aforementioned Zarco ended his day in sixth place for Came IodaRacing Project, with the rest of the top ten all crossing the line somewhat spaced out; positions seven to ten were filled by Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon, Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi, Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres and QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West.
A total of four riders failed to make the finish. Following the pre-race demise of Elias, there were crashes for NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi, Blusens Avintia’s Kyle Smith and JiR Moto2’s Mike di Meglio.
Moto2™ Race Classification
1- Pol Espargaro ITA Kalex 39:51.883
2- Scott Redding GBR Kalex +0.017
3- Dominique Aegerter SWI Suter +3.509
Luis Salom has increased his Moto3™ championship lead by winning Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. His advantage increases to ten points over Maverick Viñales, who lost the top spot by running wide in the final moments of the race. Alex Rins completed the podium after leading for many of the 22 laps.
Friday had seen Miguel Oliveira become the first-ever Portuguese rider to clinch pole position in any class, also picking up the first Moto3 pole for Mahindra Racing. He would finish the race fourth and involved in a titanic five-rider battle for the lead, with Salom picking up his third consecutive win and fourth of 2013.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom started fourth, having lost provisional pole position after running off-track in qualifying. He took second in the early stages of the race before dropping back to fourth position and holding station. His late-race attack – fast becoming a typical strategy of the Mallorcan – would begin in earnest three laps from home, pulling an impressive move on Rins for second.
It looked as though Viñales had the race won thanks to the fight taking place behind, but the Team Calvo rider’s wide line on the exit of Ramshoek was just the invitation Salom needed on the last lap. They would cross the finish line just a tenth of a second apart, with Alex Marquez dropping to fifth as Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Rins completed the podium.
Rins headed the field for the majority of the race and by Lap 10 had pulled out a lead of 1.3 seconds, but this was quickly decreased as Salom in particular upped the pace of the chasing group. 19 seconds behind the top five, Jonas Folger was sixth for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3, with Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller a further eight seconds in arrears.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Arthur Sissis, Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou and Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo rounded out the top ten, while both CIP Moto3’s Juanfran Guevara and Ambrogio Racing’s Danny Webb were injured in crashes; the Spaniard was taken to Assen hospital for a CT scan following a first-corner accident, whereas the Englishman fractured his right wrist and was attended to in the Clinica Mobile.
Salom’s feat marks only the second time a rider has won three consecutive races in the Moto3™ class.
Moto3™ Race Classification
1- Luis Salom SPA KTM 38:20.086
2- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM +0.122
3- Alex Rins SPA KTM +0.282
EARLIER: Crutchlow on Pole at Assen
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow (above) will start from his first ever GP pole position for Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider will share the front row with Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo missed qualifying after his crash on Thursday, however following an overnight operation has returned to Assen to undergo a fitness test tomorrow morning before Warm Up for a possible return.
A truly dramatic qualifying session for the 65th World Championship Dutch TT concluded with several riders grabbing provisional pole position, only to be demoted by their rivals just moments later. Rain had fallen earlier in the day but would not disrupt the grid-deciding period.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, Bradl and Marquez all provisionally held the top spot before Crutchlow delivered the pole time of 1’34.398 to become the first British MotoGP™ pole-sitter since Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2002. Behind him, Marquez qualified in the top three for the first time since Le Mans and 2011 Moto2™ title winner Bradl sealed his first front row start in the premier class. Honda’s Dani Pedrosa had looked likely to collect his third consecutive pole, but crashed at De Bult with six and a half minutes remaining and would tumble to fifth.
Rossi qualified fourth, his best qualifying this year, whereas Tech 3’s Bradley Smith will line up behind Pedrosa in sixth – also his best grid position to date. The third row will be headed up by Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who further raised the bar as the best ever CRT qualifier. It was also a positive day for teammate Randy de Puniet, who was quickest in Q1 and will start ninth.
Q1 was also full of surprises. Andrea Iannone crashed his Energy T.I. Pramac Racing machine when challenging for a place in the shootout, which leaves him 13th on the grid. Two places further back, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso could manage no more than 15th, which is his worst grid position since joining the top class in 2008. The field is completed by Ivan Silva, back on the grid with Avintia Blusens as substitute to Hiroshi Aoyama, who picked up hand injuries at the last round in Barcelona.
During Q1 there was also an incident during which Avintia’s Hector Barbera was deemed to have impeded Dovizioso on the racing line, after which the Italian kicked out at the CRT rider in displeasure. Both riders were given one penalty point by Race Direction for their actions.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha 1:34.398
2- Marc Marquez SPA Honda +0.357
3- Stefan Bradl GER Honda +0.480
1st CRT 7- Aleix Espargaro SPA ART +1.102
Pol Espargaro has claimed pole position for Saturday’s Moto2™ Iveco TT Assen. The Tuenti HP 40 rider will start alongside Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco and Marc VDS Racing Team’s championship leader Scott Redding.
The historic Assen TT Circuit has already been subject to much rain this weekend, not least this morning when the final Moto2 practice session was red flagged for half an hour due to a crash for QMMF Racing’s Rafid Topan Sucipto; the Indonesian rider would go on to qualify at the back of the grid despite an injured left foot.
Espargaro sits second in the riders’ standings to Redding, 35 points in arrears. His second pole in a row and third of the 2013 season came in the form of 1’38.734, edging out Zarco by just over a tenth of a second. Behind Redding, Row 2 is headed up by Espargaro’s teammate Esteve Rabat who suffered a crash during the session.
Xavier Simeon and Anthony West complete the second row for Desguaces La Torre Maptaq and QMMF Racing, respectively, while Row 3 will be occupied by NGM Mobile Racing’s Mattia Pasini, Marc VDS’ Mika Kallio and JiR Moto2’s Mike di Meglio. Independent wildcard Gino Rea will line up 24th.
Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Pol Espargaro SPA Kalex 1:38.734
2- Johann Zarco FRA Suter +0.099
3- Scott Redding GBR Kalex +0.145
Miguel Oliveira (above) has earned the first Moto3™ pole position for Mahindra Racing, having set an identical Assen lap time with Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez just before. Maverick Viñales will start on the front row for Team Calvo, whereas championship leader Luis Salom held pole until retiring from the session with four minutes to go.
A threat of rain saw the majority of riders streaming out of the pits in the opening moments with the sole aim of posting competitive dry weather lap times. No showers would come during the session, which resulted in a quiet patch before track activity increased for the final efforts in the closing 15 minutes of the session.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s championship leader Salom looked to have sealed the top spot, but ran off-track and was unable to restart his KTM. His rivals proceeded to push hard and just thousandths of a second separated those filling places two to five. Oliveira delivered 1’43.588 before Marquez matched it just seconds later; pole goes to the former – for posting the time first – and he becomes the first Portuguese rider in history to achieve pole position in any of the three classes of the World Championship.
Salom will start fourth and one position behind Viñales, who is his closest title rival, whereas Marquez’s teammate Alex Rins and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger complete Row 2; incidentally, the German saw one lap being removed for exceeding track limits. On the sidelines, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin.
Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Miguel Oliveira POR Mahindra 1:43.588
2- Alex Marquez SPA KTM 1:43.588
3- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM +0.061