After two and a half years of misery, nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi took victory in Holland today with a dominating display of controlled aggression harking back to the glory days of 2009. The Factory Yamaha rider was back to his best at the Circuit van Drenthe, the scene of seven previous victories, as he overcame the early race issues that blighted him at Barcelona and took the fight to the might of HRC.
|Rossi storms to victory at Assen
Photo: Yamaha MotoGP
An expectant front row of Crutchlow, Marquez and Bradl were beaten to turn one by an as-always fast starting Pedrosa. The Spaniard was looking to put the maximum amount of points possible in to the injured Lorenzo to open up a bigger gap at the top of the points table and set about breaking the pack as early as possible. What Pedrosa didn’t count on was the pace of his rivals and try as he might he couldn’t break the tow on the pursuing trio of Marquez, Stefan Bradl with his new found confidence on Brembo brakes and a comfortable looking Rossi in 4th.
As a sign of things to come, Rossi passed Bradl in to the Gert Timmer Chicane at the end of lap 1 with a strong move up the inside, sitting the German up momentarily allowing a chasing Lorenzo to close in on the German and take 5th further round the lap. The early pace, just as at Barcelona, was hurting Crutchlow but the Coventry man learns quickly from his mistakes and played a patient waiting game as the bike gradually came to him, just one slightly wide corner exit that let Lorenzo through was the only early blot on an almost faultless early race.
It was lap four that Rossi took up his charge to the front of the race, on the brakes at turn 1 neatly slipping up the inside of Marquez and off in pursuit of Pedrosa. Meanwhile, in the mid top ten Aleix Espargaro was having a career best dry ride mixing it comfortably with the regulars and reinforcing his qualifying display. The crowd erupted as The Doctor took the lead of a dry race for the first time since 2010 and immediately opened up a small gap on Pedrosa.
The injured Jorge Lorenzo was putting in the ride of his career. After being passed by Crutchlow for fourth the reigning world champion gamely hung on to the Brit for as long as possible in about as much discomfort and pain any motorcycle racer could endure in a race. By lap 11 though, Lorenzo’s pace began to understandably drop away, although it was still fast enough to keep Bradl at a distance, as he could only watch on and will Crutchlow to get among the factory Hondas and prevent even more points damage. This was a ride of epic proportions from the double MotoGP world champion, a Spartan performance, and could prove telling come Valencia at the end of the season.
The Repsol Honda duo took the fight to each other, trading places on laps 16 and 17 before Marquez found the extra ounce of pace necessary to take the fight out of Pedrosa and leave him to the rapidly closing Crutchlow. It was at the iconic Gert Timmer chicane that Crutchlow put a smile behind the grimace of Lorenzo as the factory ride-chasing Brit took third place from a struggling Pedrosa with five laps remaining and immediately put in three laps consistently quicker than the reigning Moto2 World Champion to push for a Yamaha 1-2 but on the last lap a lunge from a long way back in to the tight turn 1 saw Crutchlow clip the back of Marquez’s Honda RC213V and run wide, losing the momentum and the chance of second place. Pedrosa was far enough back not to trouble Crutchlow for third as the Tech3 rider immediately got back on the gas.
Bradl had a lonely ride to sixth place from Alvaro Bautista, an impressive Aleix Espargaro, another top ten finish for Bradley Smith with a frustrated Andrea Dovizioso the first of the Ducatis home.
Scenes of jubilation and delight greeted Valentino Rossi as he took his 106th career victory, his 47th win for Yamaha and 8th win at the ‘Cathedral’. many doubted the Italian would take another victory, as Rossi himself admitted afterwards, he felt the same. The dark days of Ducati are well and truly banished and The Doctor is back in session. That can only be a good thing.
|1||25||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||171.0||41’25.202|
|2||20||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||170.9||+2.170|
|3||16||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||170.7||+4.073|
|4||13||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||170.5||+7.832|
|5||11||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||170.0||+15.510|
|6||10||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||169.1||+27.519|
|7||9||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||Honda||168.9||+31.598|
|8||8||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||168.8||+32.405|
|9||7||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||168.7||+33.751|
|10||6||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||168.7||+33.801|
|11||5||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||168.7||+34.371|
|12||4||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||167.1||+57.674|
|13||3||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Energy T.I. Pramac Racing||Ducati||166.9||+1’01.424|
|14||2||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||Ignite Pramac Racing||Ducati||166.9||+1’01.561|
|15||1||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||ART||166.7||+1’04.426|
|16||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda-Suter||166.3||+1’11.114|
|17||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||FTR Kawasaki||166.0||+1’15.249|
|18||71||Claudio CORTI||ITA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||FTR Kawasaki||165.4||+1’24.884|
|19||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||165.3||+1’25.854|
|20||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||FTR||165.3||+1’25.978|
|21||67||Bryan STARING||AUS||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||FTR Honda||165.3||+1’26.256|
|22||70||Michael LAVERTY||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||PBM||165.3||+1’26.610|
|23||22||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||FTR||164.5||+1’38.173|
|52||Lukas PESEK||CZE||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda-Suter||161.6||16 Laps|
| | ||
|Pole Lap:||Cal CRUTCHLOW||1’34.398||173.2 Km/h|
|Fastest Lap:||Lap: 5||Valentino ROSSI||1’34.894||172.3 Km/h|
|Circuit Record Lap:||2012||Dani PEDROSA||1’34.548||172.9 Km/h|
|Best Lap:||2012||Casey STONER||1’33.713||174.4 Km/h|
results courtesy of MOTGP.com