2016 Assen MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Filling Up The Record Books

We knew that the 86th edition of the Dutch TT at Assen was going to be historic. It was, after all, the first time the race was to be run on Sunday, after being run on Saturday since 1925. What we didn't know was that the day the race was held would end up being the least interesting historic fact about it. The record books will have plenty to say about Sunday's race at Assen.

There was some fascinating racing in all three classes, as is is so often the case at Assen. The Moto3 race saw a scintillating race decided at the line, the podium separated by less than four hundredths of a second. We had a return to something like the Moto2 of old, with a sizable group battling over the podium spots. And last but not least, we had a bizarre two-part MotoGP race, red-flagged, restarted, and with a mold-breaking winner. When we look back, the MotoGP race at Assen could well prove to be a pivotal point in the championship.

The red-flagged MotoGP race was down to the weather once again playing a starring role in the weekend. After rain on Saturday, Sunday started bright, though the track took time to warm up and dry out. Clouds rolled in and rolled back out again, as is their wont at Assen, occasionally spitting but not looking like they would cause major problems for any of the three classes. Until the last part of the Moto2 race, when the heavens finally opened and drenched the track. That race would be red-flagged, and it would not be the only one.

One for the record books

Having two races red-flagged on the same day was unusual, but it was far from the least common thing to happen on the day. We had three riders take their maiden victory in each of the three classes: Pecco Bagnaia in Moto3, Taka Nakagami in Moto2, and the surprising Jack Miller in MotoGP. It was the first time since Sepang 2009 that we had three winners from three different continents. Miller was the first rider since Ben Spies at Assen in 2011 to break the hegemony on victories held by Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Márquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner in MotoGP. And Miller's win was the first victory by a non-factory team since Toni Elias used a set of Dani Pedrosa's cast-off Michelins to win at Estoril in 2006.

Sunday started with a Moto3 race that was the usual thriller. A group of 14 riders broke away, over half of whom were Italian, and containing championship leader Brad Binder. While the Sky Racing VR46 riders did their best to beat each other up, ably assisted by Pecco Bagnaia, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Niccolo Antonelli, Brad Binder sat coolly in fourth or fifth place for most of the race, seemingly biding his time and waiting to pounce. He would not get the chance: as they pack rounded the blisteringly fast Ramshoek, Binder saw a rider come up his inside, and got on the gas a fraction earlier than normal to try to stay ahead of him going into the GT chicane.

A little too early: the Red Bull KTM broke traction and nearly spat him off, Binder forced to run wide and through the grass. Some quick thinking by the cameraman operating the massive boom tracking camera meant Binder could just duck underneath the boom as it was raised, and rejoin the race, well out of touch with the leaders.

New winner #1

Victory would come down to a final lap battle, Pecco Bagnaia using smarts and corner speed to out-drag Andrea Migno to the line by a tiny margin. It was Bagnaia's first Grand Prix victory, but also the first victory for a Mahindra in Moto3. Migno crossed the line in second, but was put back a place after passing a rider across the green tarmac outside of the Meeuwenmeer corner.

Bagnaia's victory was well deserved, and has been coming for a while now. The Italian has been totally outperforming the other Mahindra riders, seemingly untroubled by the gearbox problems which dog the Mahindra. But the Italian has proven time and again he can run at the front of a race.

Despite the fact that Binder crossed the line in twelfth, the Moto3 race had remarkably little effect on the standings in the championship. Jorge Navarro, absent after breaking a leg in a training accident, was lucky to only lose 4 points to Binder in the championship. Binder was lucky to pick up a twelfth position, when it could so easily have been a DNF. Only Romano Fenati was less lucky, the Italian finishing off the podium and crossing the line in fourth. Fenati had an ideal opportunity to regain some points on his championship rivals, and he did not capitalize on it.

New winner #2

After Moto3 had set the bar very high, Moto2 did its best to live up to expectations. Takaaki Nakagami, Johann Zarco, Franco Morbidelli, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Tom Luthi and Sam Lowes all scrapped hard for the first half of the race, until Nakagami decided he had had enough, and pulled the pin. Once in the lead, the Japanese rider quickly opened a gap, going on to take an impressive victory, leaving his rivals breathless in his wake. Like Bagnaia in Moto3, Nakagami is a rider who has had a win coming for a very long time, and they way the Japanese rider finally sealed the deal was deeply impressive.

Johann Zarco took second, the Frenchman's title defence growing stronger every week. Franco Morbidelli took the final podium spot, in what would turn out to be a very good day for the Marc VDS Estrella Galicia team. Sam Lowes struggled to fourth, having problems with grip from the hard rear tire. Alex Rins crossed the line in sixth, unable to be competitive all weekend. The result works out well for the championship, however: Zarco and Rins are now tied on 126 points, with Lowes just five points behind.

Wet, wild and weird

The rain which cut the Moto2 race short was a harbinger of what was to come in the MotoGP race. The race started on a wet track with a slowly drying line, persuading everyone to use the harder rear wet tire. That choice would prove to have a bigger influence on the results than expected once the race had been red-flagged and restarted, when the riders all switched over to the softer compound wet tire.

The first race proved to be very entertaining, with Yonny Hernandez becoming the first Colombian rider to ever lead a MotoGP race, using the Ducati's outstanding wet-weather grip to pass Valentino Rossi. His lead lasted nine laps, before a little too much eagerness saw him crash out of the lead after the rain began to fall very heavily once again.

Aquaplaning stops play

Rossi then found himself embroiled in a battle with Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding, with Dovizioso taking over the lead on lap 14, and Petrucci a lap later as the rain intensified. But by that time, conditions had become so bad that the race was red-flagged. Riders afterwards complained of aquaplaning and the rear spinning up under acceleration at high speed, as the water became too much for the worn rear wets to handle.

The dry line had caused even the hard rear wet to start to show significant wear, much of the tread being lost by the heat being generated. Once heavy rain fell, the riders were left to face a torrential downpour with a rear tire which was starting to resemble a slick, and was simply too dangerous to continue. Though everyone agreed that stopping the race was the right thing to do, several riders felt it should have been stopped earlier.

Aggregate vs sprint races

After waiting for the worst of the rain to pass, the race was restarted, with riders lining up in the positions they finished lap 14 on. It was to be a 12-lap sprint race, with full points awarded for the shortened race. That would later lead to discussions over the merits of sprint races versus aggregate races, where the results from both races are combined. The Grand Prix Commission has rejected aggregate races as being confusing for fans and viewers, though technology has moved on considerably since that decision was made. Dorna's outstanding on-screen graphics could quite easily be adapted to show the virtual race within a race, and the aggregate times of the two parts of the race.

The shortened second race also meant that the riders all switched to the soft wet rear tire, and this would prove to be problematic. There was a lot more grip with the soft wet, while the Michelin front was still too hard to provide any useful feeling. The first fourteen laps saw just one rider crash, Yonny Hernandez falling out of the lead. The last twelve laps saw a veritable cavalcade of crashes, as one rider after another misjudged the rear grip and pushed that little bit harder knowing they only had twelve laps to go. The grippy rear overpowered the front, and down they went.

Shooting himself in the foot

The main victim of the switch to soft wets at the rear was Valentino Rossi. The Italian had been strongest in the opening laps and had already opened a gap. But then he entered the Stekkenwal 4 km/h faster than on the previous lap, and crashed out of the race. Rossi was absolutely livid, above all at himself for having made such a costly mistake. "During the weekend, all the practice, I was always very precise in the riding style and I never make a mistake," Rossi said afterwards. "All the other guys make mistakes, crash and everything. But unfortunately I made the mistake in the important moment. And was a shame because I already don’t hear the noise of the others so I already had a good advantage."

Rossi going down opened the door for Marc Márquez, who had been sitting behind Rossi watching the Italian disappear into the distance. Márquez was showing a surprising maturity in his approach, not being suckered into following Rossi, or even following Jack Miller when the Australian passed him. "It was a race where you can lose a lot of points, so my mentality was to just go out and try to finish the race," Márquez told the press conference. His patience would be amply rewarded, taking second place and extending his lead over Rossi to 42 points, and over Jorge Lorenzo to 24 points.

It's Miller time

But the day really belonged to Jack Miller, and the Marc VDS Estrella Galicia team. The Australian has faced a barrage of criticism since deciding to skip Moto2 and go straight to MotoGP, especially after a poor rookie season aboard an Open Class Honda at LCR. Miller saw victory as a chance to prove his critics wrong. "Coming up through from Moto3 into MotoGP was a big step, but this makes it clear that we do know how to ride a motorbike and I'm not an idiot," Miller told the press conference afterwards. "It gives Honda something back for taking such a big gamble on me and the risks those guys have taken to bring me through from Moto3 with the amount of criticism they have taken, and the amount of criticism I have taken."

The win was also a reward for Marc VDS and for team manager Michael Bartholemy. The German-speaking Belgian had signed Jack Miller to race in Moto2 three years ago, but the Australian had opted for another season in Moto3. That breach of contract lay between them for a long while, the wound only really healed once HRC put Miller into the Marc VDS team at the beginning of the year. Bartholemy had worked hard to raise the money to run a two-bike MotoGP team, and that hard work has finally been vindicated.

Fans and journalists had been quick to write Miller off as a failed project, overlooking the many factors which complicate his entry into MotoGP. The Australian is riding a Honda, probably the most physically demanding bike on the grid. He is doing so after having massively smashed his right tibia and fibula in a training crash, and having also damaged cartilage in his leg. He is only now starting to get to the stage where he is strong enough and fit enough to start to race. Miller thanked Cal Crutchlow after the race, having spent a week with the Englishman on the Isle of Man, and having put in over 500km of cycling in that time.

What critics hadn't seen is the slow and steady improvement over the past few races. Miller is now rarely stuck at the bottom of the timesheets, slowly getting to grips with the RC213V. He had a strong result in Barcelona three weeks ago, ending the race in tenth. After the first race was red-flagged, he would have been more than happy to take the ninth place he had been sitting in when the race was stopped. "I was happy with ninth in the first race, really content with that," he said after the press conference. "I thought, ‘Shit! Why are they restarting it?’"

There is clearly still a long way to go for the Jack Miller project in MotoGP. But there is now real reason for optimism. Sure, the win came in unusual circumstances, but those were exactly the same for every other rider on the grid, and Miller handled them best. He now has to take that confidence and move forward in the dry, as well as the wet.

Lorenzo's lack of grip

Confidence, especially in the wet, was the biggest problem for Jorge Lorenzo. The red flag came as a godsend for the reigning world champion, as he was sitting in nineteenth at the time. The restarted race saw Lorenzo finish in tenth, and score 6 valuable championship points. Lorenzo was candid after the race that his tenth place was inherited rather than earned. "I gained because the others crashed, not because I was overtaking," Lorenzo said. "But I was not competitive. It was very difficult to be competitive in the first race because I was probably slower than ever, especially when all the big water came. I was slower and slower."

What is Lorenzo's problem? Part of it is surely still the hangover of his 2013 crash, which saw him break his collarbone. According to team manager Wilco Zeelenberg, Lorenzo is losing three to four tenths of a second in the fourth sector, the part of the track where he hurt himself so badly. When conditions are treacherous, this makes things worse, and Lorenzo can't find a solution to his problems.

Less corner speed, more braking

But Lorenzo also has issues in very specific conditions. If he does not have any grip from the front tire, due to rain or any other reason, he finds it impossible to change his style enough to adapt to the circumstances. "When I feel the front doesn’t have grip under braking, with the style I have and the position of my body on the bike I suffer more than the other riders," Lorenzo explained.

"I am not able to suddenly change my riding, especially to gain the time on braking in the entry of the corner. Normally I sacrifice the other corner to have corner speed but if you don’t have corner speed in the middle of the corner you do not gain. And you also lose on braking. That’s the only way. When I have front feeling, like Motegi, in the rain I’ve been able to be the fastest one. But when I don’t have it I can be the last." This is the one chink in Lorenzo's armor, and one he will have to address at some point in time.

The events of a wild MotoGP race are likely to prove decisive in the championship, despite the fact that there are still ten races left to go. Marc Márquez' sensible attitude paid off richly, the Repsol Honda rider extending his championship lead over Jorge Lorenzo to 24 points. Valentino Rossi's crash puts him now 42 points behind Márquez, the championship now very difficult for him. But it's been a topsy turvy season so far, so it would be unwise to write anyone off just yet. The top three have six race crashes and DNFs between them in just eight races. There are ten more races in which to shake things up still.


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Total votes: 157
Total votes: 139

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Comments

I'll be the first to admit I'm not exactly the biggest Crutchlow fan in the world, but I thought it was really classy and showed a genuineness that Cal jumped into parc ferme to give his former teammate and friend a hug for winning (and Lucy too!...although gladly she and the bun didn't hop over any fences and stayed on the outside of parc ferme). Cal gained some points in my book for that!

Total votes: 154

"I am not able to suddenly change my riding..."

Hmmm... I'm wondering if this statement will foreshadow his change to Ducati when the time comes. Perhaps I'm reading to much into it. Perhaps the GP16/17 is a much more compliant and less idiosyncratic bike than it was during Rossi's tenure there.

Regardless, what an absolutely brilliant ride by Jack. I imagine this will take some time for this win to truly sink in for him.

Brilliant article as always David. Thank-You.

Total votes: 154

Huge congratulations to Jack Miller for an impressive win under difficult circumstances. I know some will be quick to point out how he benefited from others' misfortune and greater need for caution--and of course there's some truth to that--but as David points out, all riders faced the same conditions and Jack came out ahead. His victory was well earned.

Like SpiesFL commented on the race results post, it was impossible to avoid getting choked up when Jack spoke with Dylan Gray in parc fermé. It was clear how heavily the criticism has weighed on him, and how much winning means. I'll also cop to a bit of guilt. I know I've spoken of Jack in less than glowing terms at times, and his comments today were a good reminder that everyone on the grid ranks among the best motorcycle racers on the planet, and their talent and effort warrants respect. 

Total votes: 180

Thanks for the shout out mate! :D
And damn Miller for making me feel like a lady watching a love story lol

Total votes: 145

I think that MM93 wins this season exactly the way Vale did in the not so far past: He is not the utterly fastest due to a bike that is not perfectly the way he needs it, but manages to stay upright and shovels in the points when others try to blitz their way to victory and fail.

Its the most adult way to handle a season and thats why Vale used to do that.

MM93 is one hell of a learner in my eyes.

Vale on the other hand is doing the oposite: He fails this season the way MM93 did: Trying to show the world what a great racer he is until physics set in which then suddenly pull the plug.Thats a rookie way of handling a season.

As a lifelong Vale-fan, I just hope Vale gets his emotions in check and tries his old approach again...at least a little bit.

I can imagine that he hears those voices "...you are old...its your last chance..give it everything you´ve got..." and that drove him over the cliff at Assen.

But I´m fantasising.

It was one hell of a race and extra long pleasure for every real fan of this sport.

 

Total votes: 154

Awesome race... close first half and unforgettable result. Only regret is Yonny crashing out.

Hopefully this will seal another year for Jack.

I'm starting to like these crazy weather races more and more.

Total votes: 149

Very brave and impressive ride by the guys on slower bikes: Jack, Scott, Danilo and Yonny.  

In a way, it's reassuring the the usual suspects, Vale, Dani, both Andrea's and most of all, Jorge, are human after all.

The way that Valentino was fighting before crashing was pretty impressive, but his unforced error spoiled the party. Marc came out the smartest in the race for the championship.

It was a memorable Dutch TT and it will sure be a memorable season.

 

 

Total votes: 149

Race! Miller was so moving in his comments no matter what happens in the future this will be the race he never forgets. Ever! Still not sure what to make of him : is this proof that he's becoming consistent and more skilled? Not sure. Still it was epic for him and for us to watch.
I'm still not over the way VR threw everything away- he said it himself this was one of the biggest most stupid mistakes of his entire career. I can't agree more. He was way too fast to stay on that bike - almost 1.5 seconds faster than any other... just stupid. But,without trying to find excuses, I think that the reason he lost it goes back to the Mugello blown engine. He is extremely frustrated, he knows he has the speed and the confidence to win and he needs to be extra aggressive to make up the lost points. I'm almost certain that if yesterday he had had less points to make up for he would have never pushed that hard. Now the championship is definitely out of his reach unless there are several DNFs
Rather unfair : it's been a long time since we saw him so focused and so strong. Big shame for everybody the WC is shaping up to be a JL MM matter now.
Slightly off topic: I read the Assen preview write up just now: David it's such a great read! It's time I pay my dues, I'm gonna become site supporter

Total votes: 148

Three new winners and a new manufacturer on the top step of the podium in the form of Mhindra.Peco Bagnaia's win was for me the stand out win of the day and that is not to detract from Nakagami's and Jack Miller's fantastic perfomances.

Three riders that must be smarting are the top three in the first race, being Dovi, Petrucci and Rossi.

Another 2 laps and Petrucci may well have been the overall winner, a new winner and Ducati's first winner since Stoner days.

The aggregate option versus the sprint race option raises a few issues.A simple and fairer solution would be to simply award half points for each race based on position only and not aggregate times. Such a system would have seen Dovi pick up 12.5 points, Petrucci 10 points and Rossi 8 points for their day's efforts, a much fairer reflection given race 1 lasted considerably longer than race 2. The big winner of the day, Marquez, under such rules would have picked up about about 5 points for race 1 and 10 for race 2, giving him 15 points to Rossi's 8 and Lorenzo's 3 points for race 2, thus keeping the title chase tighter at the top. Everyone will have their take on the rules and that's just mine.

A great day of racing and entertainment all round.

Total votes: 169

At some point during the weekend, every single MotoGP rider crashed (fortunately without serious injury).

Poor Michelin will take the blame again but in their defence, it must be said that this was the first time that their wet weather tyres (called 'Power Rain') had been used competitively and teams had little experience of the two compounds available.

In the first race, almost everyone chose the soft front/hard rear combination but it was Hernandez who stormed to the front using a soft front/soft rear combination and easily opened-up a 3 second lead before crashing on Lap 9.

Having noted this, everyone opted for the soft front/soft rear for the re-started race and the result was carnage.

Most riders blamed the higher grip level of the soft rear tyre for their particular crash, but what did they really expect from a softer tyre - less grip? Everyone was in the same boat and it was the riders who made the least mistakes who rose to the top.

Miller's win was magnificent. 

Total votes: 166

Maybe I heard it wrong, but before the restart it was mentioned that Miller would be the only one on soft/hard combination.

At this moment I thought that this 'poor' team does not even have proper access to whatever information/data :)

Although it was well known that soft/soft is unbalanced in terms of grip, everybody was afraid that maybe the others would gain and also choose this combination? Game theory...

Total votes: 139

... but the English commentators were wrong initially. They did correct it later in the broadcast.

More importantly was that Miller kept his front tyre from the first part of the race as he had good feel from it. He looked far more solid and controlled than those he was passing.

Total votes: 127

Miller confirmed in a pre race interview on Australian Foxtel that an agreement had been reached with his current teams for 2017.

So Jack was back even before he made a significant claim for contract renewal.

Total votes: 135

What a wild and crazy race. I seriously couldn't watch the last few laps of the race with Jack leading, expecting him to crash as well. He didn't and crossed the finish line with an epic wheelie. So good to see fresh blood in parc ferme. You could feel Jacks hapiness through the TV. I live in Los Angeles and wish there were Americans in the sport, but seeing a non Italian or Spaniard take a win is so refreshing. Off to Germany...

Total votes: 142

Clearly he's a promising talent, but what about his bike?

In Moto3, all teams are supposed to be be supplied with updates at the same time - Mahindra/Aspar are said to have worked their way around that by getting support teams to sign 'an agreement'. One that allows the Aspar factory team to use parts that they can't get on the dubious grounds of 'development', and on the promise that they'll get them sometime soon.

'Sign a piece of paper that gives us free reign, or forget about getting upgrades anytime this year - or even a bike next year.'

So Bagnaia looks good, but Mahindra are making quality riders like McPhee and Masbou look poor. Hanika has lost his place.

Wayne Gardner described the customer Mahindra as being "a piece of sh*t".

One Mahindra finished first - the next one finished 16th.

Total votes: 133

Even though he made a huge mistake, Rossi has been on impressive form that last few races.   I hope for the championship's sake that he gain regain some points and the 3 heroes can battle it out at Valencia

Total votes: 144

His margin of victory is usually in the 100+ points range. One notable exception was 46 points. When the points get close he makes mistakes. See history. I don't see it happening this year.

Total votes: 129

Couldn't agree more with this little comment amongst all else...Dorna has the best on screen timing and positional display by a mile...it is actually possible to somewhat follow what is going on down the field and away from the TV cameras, as opposed to the hopeless "scrolling" set ups that so many other motorsports use (WEC in particular has the worst).

Total votes: 143

only thing that bugs me... are the Playstation-like sounds whenever the Championship standings (or whatnot) change *rolleyes* 

Total votes: 144

This race really did show that one big flaw in Lorenzo's riding. His lack of adaptability in difficult conditions. All throughout his career he's had troubles with the rain.

On the rare occasion he can make it work, but only rarely. There's no doubt of his skills and achievements, he'll be amongst the top end of the great riders the sports ever seen. But to push for the absolutely best tag, the lack of being able to adapt to any conditions will be the one thing that stops him.

In contrast, wheres Rossi is very much considered the GOAT, I see Marquez as the one who has all the hallmarks of pushing for that tagline the hardest in the future. But he's still very young and way too early to think of that sort of thing when he's still got much more to achieve.

But if young Marc does manage to win this year, it'll certainly further boost those credentials for possible GOAT status further down he line in his career. Still a long way to gom but what a championship is shaping up to be.

Total votes: 134

Great races! I think possibly the future of the championship was shown very well in the Moto3 race.  It seems to me the last of the Spanish domination is trickling up through Moto2 into MotoGP, but there is a tidal wave of Italians coming in Moto3.  The Starks may say "Winter Is Coming", but I think the Rossi household is saying "The Italians Are Coming" cool

Total votes: 132

Isn't it ironic ( though for me very sad) that VR is gonna be in the same situation MM was last year? No consolation there of course, but could that become a factor? I mean could this make both MM and JL slightly paranoid about any of VR actions? I'm not hinting at anything here. Just honestly wondering about it.

Total votes: 138

indeed me thinking about it too, but it still long way to go, maybe 3-4 race before the end, when the things almost settled, but maybe not, because defending more hard than attacking, in our recent situation, VR almost pressure free because the last DNF, and it give both MM and JL the pressure to defend the point, exactly like VR last year when he settled for safe point finish and JL attacking to the max race by race

i wonder how about vr tail light too, it's punishment actually equal DQ or only fit points penalty?
and if it's equal DQ, how about KTM vs Honda moto3 rev limiter clash?

Total votes: 119

I watched the QP and race onsite and was exactly at the place where MM had a big save on saterday, where MM crashed and stole the scooter and where VR crashed on sunday. 

Indeed it was a sensational MotoGP weekend!

It is good to see that rain can be an equalizer of differences in technology of manpower. But is it really? It lookes like that not rain is an equalizer, but overly dangerous conditions.

At first I feel dissapointment about the championship that's not very open anymore.

Why is it that I further feel dissappointed about? I think to see the best riders struggle in dangerous situations and fail or fall. It looked like a complete gamble and lottery! If I look at the crashes involved and the complete lottery concerning the results I think these kind of races do not attribute to the way I would like to explain the essence of the sport to the outer world. It looks like it is about taking risks and be lucky. We seem to jump back to the crazyness of the local clubcircuits or maybe  the sixties where the biggest succes could also be received with the biggest balls an the smallest brains, rather then skills.

The material given, I believe rulechanges and tyre issues ended in that most of the riders where forced to push without front-end feel in wet or semi-wet and conditions. It is sensational. But where is the glory in make riders push without feel? If we want to see this, we can also send the riders off next races with street tyres :-) I think can feel JL's pain here.

What amazes me is that Miller rode a bike that is considered to have the worst front end feel of the field, in a race where most riders complain about not being able to get some temperature in the fronttyre.

I saw Rossi's crash real live. Just before his crash i was amazed about his aggressive style of riding, as he was the only one that was entering corners in a way that it looked like dry conditions. The problem was caused the corner before the crash, where his back wheel spinned up and stepped away coming out of the turn. Controlling this took some time causing his enter in the next corner slightly faster and a bit offline compared to the previous lap where he displayed  aggressive corner entryalready. As most corners at Assen the corner has a strong canting, which makes cornerentry and -exit real overly problematic in low grip conditions.

To me before the crash VL reminded me of the overconfident state of Lorenzo years ago that causing his trainingcrash. However it was big blow to see the man of the weekend crash (also for the public) and see MM going safely win championship points, and JL that was nowwhere a dead last save championship points, where he probably shouldn't. In some corners, before riding on last position, JL seemed like a riding chicane mid-corner for other riders.

Also a bit confusing to get used to that MM is racing with his head more and more and VR without it. And that people that are labeled as loser suddenly become winners. It would be easier for the viewer if everyone will stick by it's role! :-)

Total votes: 149

What a day of racing. Unbelievable stuff really.  Assen and weather always throws a spanner in things. 

In the first race, seeing Yonny clear off at the front, it really was a matter of time I felt before he crashed. I really wanted him to prove me wrong, but the guy has had history of over riding and losing it when in good position.  As happy as I am for Jack, what a result that would have been - a GP14.2 in the hands of YH68 is the first non-factory and Ducati to win in years?  

So sad when Rossi lost the front.  Really was looking forward to the championship tightening back up.  Still, lots of the season left. You can bet he's unlikely to make that mistake again.  

and of course so happy for Jack, but I must say I was almost out of emotion from the rest of the day's racing.  It was all so good, the GP race was just insane.  

 

As Nicky would say, "That's why they line 'em up on Sunday"

Total votes: 123

But it was on in Race 2.

Still, if the heavily blinkered Dorna officials with their many cameras can't see a blatant kick, then what hope of them spotting an even more obvious rule infringement - like a rear safety light not being on in dangerous conditions?

Maybe there was too much spray for them to make a clear decision - or maybe they simply chose to ignore the fact again?

Anyway, Rossi came away from Assen with a big fat zero, and his championship challenge is in tatters. That's penalty enough.

Total votes: 172

Rossi should of been black-flagged in Sepang - he was found guilty of 'irresponsible riding'.

Rossi should of been black-flagged in Assen - he rode around in dangerous conditions without a safety light.

That's pretty irresponsible too, but still he wasn't black-flagged - maybe you can explain why that is?

The MotoGP.com feed even gave a 'still' to highlight that his light wasn't on, but Race Direction did nothing. Why?

Still too hard for you? I'll give you a clue - maybe it's because he's 'Rossi' and apparently he's above the law?

If it had been Barbera or anyone else, they'd of been immediately and rightly punished - but no, not 'Rossi'.

Do you understand?

I don't.

Total votes: 127

...is the responsibility of the team in the garage to my knowledge. And from what I know Yam will get fined. But you are right he deserves some big punishment: who does he think he is keeping that light off?
And what about the seat belt? It wasn't on! And exceeding speed limit? I mean he was really too fast just before crashing.
I think he should be disqualified for at least 3 more races. Even better: let's just ban him for the rest of the season.
That should give you some peace of mind.
And if it's not enough let's start a nice
#VRGOHOME
This should settle it once and for all.

Total votes: 130

Ultimately, safety is the rider's responsibility.

He/she is the one on the track.

He/she is the one who gets sanctioned if he/she breaches or ignores their duty of care to fellow riders - not the team.

Rossi should of been black-flagged in Race One for an obvious safety infringement that once again endangered the safety of those around him, but yet again he wasn't.

Why - when it was so clearly shown on camera to millions of viewers?

Race Direction can spot a Moto3 rider exceeding track limits by a metre or so in the heat of a last lap battle and they can relegate the offender a position (Migno), but they can't or won't spot Rossi riding around without a tail light for more than a dozen laps in a blinding ball of spray - not even when there's a 'still' of him with his unlit light (courtesy of MotoGP.com).

Why? 

Total votes: 124

Slightly off topic here but didn't know where else to post.

Can someone PLEASE do something about the resident commentators at Assen? Especially in the lower classes, they are just terrible. No information, no enthusiasm, have nothing to say. The girl doing the German and English translations (and has been doing for years) sounds so deflated it completely kills the excitement. During Moto3 the commentators hardly said anything about homeboy Bo Bendsneyder riding in the top ten. Oh that's right, on the grid the guy said 'we were expecting a podium'. Probably a bad joke - but seriously?

Next time I will put my headphones on with the MotoGP commentators on it.

Total votes: 137

I agree the commentators are really horrible. And somehow they manage to stay for already 20 years I think. No depth, no insightinformation, never actual of accurate information and always cutting down midrace overtaking actions as clueless since the race is still undecided. Never mentioning local talents scoring some points. If something happens on the circuit they even cannot manage to mention the name of the corner, but stick to the (internal) number of the marshal stands (which numbers are not corresponding with the numbers of the corners)

It is even more shameful when the other classes that are not part of the motogp circus appear. The people who are completely dependend on the the public at this mainevent. Only the winner is mentioned in a non interesting way..... I was a local sponsor I would not be satisfied.

Really worthless and annoying. If i could skip them, I would!

I think the whole track is run by a bunch of goodwilling amateurs really. It is great to see that they somehow manage to organise 3 mainevents.  I think the logic behind some investments they do is also not of this world....

 

 

 

Total votes: 126

I completely agree! No knowledge, no enthousiasme and lots of silence.  

Even Corne Klein was terrible !

Great organisation but the commentary is lacking for many years.  Glad Jan de Rooij is not so active anymore ! 

Total votes: 121

Didn't know how much I missed the celebratory burn outs.

...and a proper stand up wheelie across the line. 

Good on you Jack!

Total votes: 148

david, can you please explain why there is no post race interview on the motogp site?

Total votes: 130

Of the 64 comments on the 2 articles re this race there are just a handful that I found interesting. Most that weren't criticized one person's view of the race as soggy and tepid, often ironically invoking fan boy intentions that I don't see, in a manner that was rather fan boy ish.

Irony again - lackluster drivel about someone finding a race to be as such. We have had much better comments here. I thought the race was interesting but not great. Needn't watch it again. And the results not preferable for the championship - and no, I am not a fan nor foe of any rider in particular.

Yes the front - rear balance of the Michelin wets is off much like the slicks were when we opened the season. This is real. Stories about it are just that.

Iannone had a shot at a podium from the back of the grid which was amazing but did not materialize. He crashed out and lucked back into the race. Interesting, yes.

Lorenzo has an Achilles heel in these conditions which is interesting to see and is playing out for the championship. I was thinking that he felt that he was in a bad dream and wanted it to end.

Marquez has matured and raced well. Rossi got caught on his back foot and looked human, but conducted the weekend well. Strategy looked fine.

Redding took lines that didn't normally exist, keeping out of vulnerable outside lines in traffic that caught others out. Interesting. The Duc 14.2 is a fantastic rain bike, and remains so on Michelins. Interesting!

Hernandez led. Miller won. Mortal decent GP riders on mid pack packages. Interesting. The Aprilia bikes were in decent spots. Vinales, who I pegged for a strong race, was not. Interesting.

Visibility was horrible. I have raced in the rain, you can't see squat. Rossi could have left (Dovi etc) a rider in front of him w some distance to not get a face full of spray, have a reference point tow, and a "canary in a coal mine" trail breaker to explore the conditions for him but he didn't. Then again, nice to be in front w some visibility. Interesting. Lots of crashes, interesting. No, I wouldn't prefer an aggregate race, thanks. Yes, unusual result for the statistics watchers.

So on and so forth. I didn't PARTICULARLY enjoy it though. Seldom do love rain races. Nor one rider out in front w a gap all race. Nor "parade" races w little passing. My only MotoGP re-watch is Marquez's squiggly front tire calligraphy save from Saturday. Wow! And comments here too...must we have fan boy shite accusations thrown around because someone didn't particularly care for the race? I didn't either, nor the comments section after the race. Paradoxically of much the same "substance," but at least the race was interesting and colorful.

Total votes: 142

Reddings on the GP 15 which isnt known for its wet weather capabilities it was just good riding on his part. Wet weather takes the advantages of the bike and more the rider.

Total votes: 126

As I said before, I did not particularly enjoy this race. That does not mean I discount the accomplishments of the guys on the podium, they did very well. And it's great to have a new team winning, MarcVDS deserves it. Miller has shown flashes of speed in the wet before but this time managed to stay on and capitalize. Great win for the guy. But to me most of the race was just frustrating rather than exciting. Actually, by far the most entertaining thing that happened for me was Rossi crashing out. That may sound slightly childish but let me explain.

See, last year I came very close to quitting wachting and following MotoGP altogether. I have been watching ever since I can remember, I grew up about 15 minutes from the Assen track, my dad used to be a camera man at the track in the 90s. I do remember actually being quite enamoured with a certain mister Rossi when I was young. I think everyone was, such a display of raw talent bursting onto the scene was rare in those days, you had to admire it. But over the years I being seeing through his veil of playful ignorance. And that's fine, he does what he does and he does it well. But it's not for me. Now, this would not really be a problem if it was just that. But it has grown into something else now, something that's directly detriment to my enjoyment of the sport.

I don't hate or dislike Rossi and I appreciate his talent. But I am not a fan. The problem is that the rest of the MotoGP world pretty much is. Especially the commentators. I watch MotoGP through a variety of means, in both Dutch and English. And it's pretty impossible to escape. Every damn weekend I have to hear about how great Rossi is doing. Despite his age. How amazing he is in the wet. What a great guy he is for offering Marquez a whole handshake. And how boring MotoGP is without him. How everybody keeps making excuses for his faillures. "Oh he didn't win because he qualified 8th". And then silence when he doesn't win from the front row. Lorenzo has a bad Friday? He has no chance of winning the race. Rossi has a bad Friday? He always does, never count him out! Etcetera etcetera. Again, all this may sound petty to some people but years and years of it is starting to affect my enjoyment of the sport. So the whole damn weekend I had to hear about how Rossi is the absolute master in dry, half dry and wet conditions and I got sick of it. So when he went down due to no fault but his own, I allowed myself a moment of pure joy. The egg on the face of the commentators was delicious. Judge me if you want, but I think there are more people out there who can relate to this.

And compare the reactions too. I remember Lorenzo going down at Argentina, everybody jumping on him claiming the pressure got to him. What do we see now? Silence. A title contender threw away a big chance at gaining a lot of points on his main rivals and instead he  is now over 40 points behind. Rossi should thank Miller from the bottom of his heart because nobody is talking about his faillure. But that's normal these days, I heard the Dutch commentator, in the Argentina race recap, still claim the falsehood that Rossi mainly lost the Argentina race because his pitstop was slower than Marquez. The face that Marquez was way faster after the stops and Rossi essentially got passed by the Ducatis didn't feature at all.

I could go on but I think I made my point. What happened at Sepang and the abysmal way the series and especially Yamaha dealt with the fallout was almost enough for me to call it quits. I guess I love bikes and the racing thereof too much to do that.

Total votes: 189

Firefly as much as i can see your point I find it hard to understand. Basically what you're saying is: you dislike VR and enjoy his downfall because commentators praise him? By those standards we should start hating almost every major champion from Michael Jordan to Agassi....I mean commentators in awe when there is a great sportsman is not new. Besides with that reasoning you preclude yourself from enjoying pure achievements. In any sport. Forget for a second the commentators and ask yourself: is VR one of the most fascinating and skilled riders of his time (a time that right now expands to two decades)? If the answer is yes just enjoy it and forget the rest. At the end of the day you are just punishing yourself by not enjoying a thrilling tough championship.

Total votes: 165

I realise my reply was rather wordy but I did state specifically I do not dislike Rossi. Nor is the commentator's praise my only gripe. My main point is that Rossi has become bigger than the sport and that that for me, as a fan of the sport but not Rossi, is very bad thing.

Total votes: 133

And I hope it's clear that my post was by no means disrespectful towards you. I disagree on VR being bigger than the sport. That's a distorted perception fueled by sometimes bad sensationalist media coverage. But not everywhere and not all the time. Here at Motomatters for instance we never get that feeling. And honestly if you read the Italian press since Sunday evening VR has been crucified and basically called something close to stupid. Luckily for him the unexpected win of the italian football team against Spain got him off the hook as the whole nation diverted its attention to soccer. What I'm trying to say is that even before we entered a time of global media songs were sung about heroes. Sports heroes in this case I'm not comparing VR to the real Heroes with a capital letter. His achievements are outstanding but it does not mean he is bigger than the sport. And again if you read some of big sports newspapers you'll see that he gets his fair share of criticism. They still bring up his tax problem of 10 years ago. What's interesting, almost ironic is to see how he catalyses blind love and hate: your other post on not enjoying the race got immediate responses of people "accusing" you of being a fanboy! It's part of the people following the sport that makes it sometime unbearable but given what VR is showing on the track right now after all these years calls for huge appreciation. It's not his fault if people behave crazy.

Total votes: 132

Excellent post Firefly - have you considered becoming a 'Site Supporter'?

Total votes: 160

I know exactly how you feel. I didn't care much about the Rossi crash when it happened as I was too invested in projecting all my mental energy onto my favourite riders to please stay on two wheels or the podium, respectively (didn't work). But all the reasons you listed are absolutely valid and also continue to drain the enjoyment out of the sport for me. Rossi is seen by everyone as bigger than the sport and if you are no particular fan of Rossi but followed MotoGP for years, this becomes pretty much unbearable as it also generally, even if unintentionally, downplays every other rider on the grid, sometimes to the point of pure disrespect. It's also not good for the sport itself in the long run as it will suffer massively and probably go into a popularity slump for several years when he retires, which it might never fully recover from.

Just like you, I completely despaired at the end of last season. Enough to make me quit my video pass subscription after eight years and stick to what is available on TV, which is usually the same or even better coverage of ALL riders than the website offers and often mercifully less fawning. I have not regretted that decision since. I did somewhat regret my decision to go to Assen this weekend and having to deal with the mob mentality of a certain section of the Rossifans in person again, despite the joy of seeing, hearing, smelling the bikes up close and personal. I love all that, but will probably stick to watching MotoGP on TV for the next two years, with the sound turned on only for the starts, interviews and national anthems. 

Total votes: 125

Appreciating your posts over the years Firefly (there are a number of folks, Pitbull comes quickly to mind for instance, that have been a part of insightful considerate discussions here since way back). I disagree w you about some schtuff, and MY EXPERIENCE of what you are describing in this post is a bit different. But I understand yours, appreciate it, and enjoyed it.

Not so the people who, ironically, reacted personally and attacked you as a fan boy of Rossi.

I was really upset that he fell off. I want to see a close 3 way championship. And I want to see an old guy make an unlikely strong fight against great rivals. I was upset that Iannone fell off, and again that he didn't get near the front, not because I am a fan of his particularly, but that it a cool story - dumped by Duc, screwed up on track thrice, then sublimated/transformed the crap into greatness - he could have podiumed from the back!

Misano test is here, and Stoner is out on the GP16. Yes I want to know all about it. No, I don't want to know all of the knee jerk ego filled personal and adversarial conjecture, reactions and defenses that are as common as dust. Lap times, quotes, observations - YES PLEASE! It is good to have so many people with diverse knowledge and interest a part of discussion here. It can be appreciated.

Good lord, go back and read the years and years of posts from Firefly before you take brief self involved satisfaction in attacking him for voicing a simple opinion that the race wasn't what he had hoped.

Total votes: 137

Thanks Motoshrink, I have always enjoyed reading your contributions as well. I understand we all post from a place of emotion sometimes (as I did in the race thread very shortly after the race finished) but one of the reasons we (at least I) come back to this place is for the insight others can provide with their perspective. I always enjoy such posts and I hope mine can be seen as a contribution in that regard.

Total votes: 136

My apologies if this has been discussed before, but I was hoping someone might have some insight into the movement of the exhaust on the satellite M1.  

With five laps to go (1:29:45 in the MotoGP broadcast) in the MotoGP race on Sunday the director cut to the camera on Pol Espargaro's bike that was mounted just aft of the exhaust and it appeard to be moving in step with the rear shock.  The same view was shown again (1:41:47-49) as Pol pulled up to the garage and again the exhaust moved along with the suspension.  The best illustration of this movement came when Pol dismounted the motorcycle (1:41:53-57) shortly after pulling up to the garage.

An exhaust system that moves along with the shock/swingarm is contrary to what (little) I know about exhaust design.  Am I seeing things?  Missing something obvious?

Total votes: 128

The camera in those shots is mounted to the swingarm, which means it stays steady and you see the rest of the bike (including the exhaust) moving up and down in relation to it.

It's an absolute cracker of an angle

Total votes: 141

I suggested in an earlier post awarding half points for each part of the race. In the moment I neglected to consider 'parc ferme' and the podium and trophy bit.

The solution would be pretty simple on the slow down lap. Telemetry, aggregating position, can simply transmit positions one, two and 3 based on aggregate position over the two part race.

Surely more efficient than an aggregate time base and all the algorithms relevant and irrelevant.

There of course exists the diabolical angle should it raise its ugly head. That being the case of a part one winner being unable to take to the podium due to injury or whatever sustained in part two. The team principle then accepts the trophy on behalf of said racer.

Thoughts in the air for sure, but the current race within a race day system needs to be adressed especially in terms of the Championship points scoring system.

Total votes: 128

1st rider outside the Alien four to win a MotoGP race before Vinales or anyone else of the new generation. Pedrosa has two more years, after that Miller is ready.

Total votes: 122

David:

What a truly bizarre race, but excellent commentary as always. I have been waiting for the "real" Jack Miller to show up in MotoGP. Maybe this is the catalyst he needs to go to the next level of performance.  Loved the celebratory burn-outs and the exuberant stand-up wheelie over the finish line. True emotions at last. The 2nd race reminds me of street riding here in Portland Oregon in the rain where there are greasy white lines and manhole coves aplenty to catch you out. I could almost feel the apprehension from the riders as they tried to negotiate the monsoonal conditions to the finish. I empathize with JL99 in his comments about adapting riding style, it is all about trade-offs to stay upright, even on the street.  

Good to See SR45 have an excellent result, well deserved bornn of a consistent weekend in all manner of conditions. Maybe MM93 is maturing. His approach to let Miller lead and take the long likely will pay huge dividends as the 2016 season unfolds further. Kudos to DP26 for getting himself back up and soldiering on to a finish. Over the last 3 years my respect for him as a man and as a rider have grown considerably; actually the guy has class, something I thought I would never say.

It's going to be a long dreary 3 weekends waiting for Sachsenring. Miller's victory was like Iceland winning over England in Euro 2016; unexpected but well earned, exciting and the cause for true celebration. Back a few months we were all opining that 2016 might turn out to be a surprising year due to tires and electronics. Little did we know how significantly things would change throughout.  But, wait, methinks more to come in 2017 what with the huge game of musical seats that has taken place. Seems likely 2017 will be a completely topsy-turvy year with new manufacturer KTM and the maturing of the Suzuki and Aprilia projects. This is the kind of “new world order” I like.

Compared to MotoGP , F1 is so boring and pedantic. Drama, real emotion and surprise winners in all 3 classes fuel my interest. Haven't been this excited about race day since King Kenny was doing his thing a while back. Who could ask for anything more? The MotoGP script writers have gotten this mini-series down to a T. Can't wait for the next episode. Great to see Cal and Lucy congratulate Jack so genuinely. Enough out of me.  

 

Total votes: 133

thank you David,and everyone for your comments,it makes this site the 1st choice for Info,

after Migno was demoted a place for going on the green side panels,how would this apply to using 

the gravel in the last chicane? as last year.

proof that MM93 learns is his maturity in the race,and the fact he practised using the gavel trap 

at the last chicane,after being shown how last year .

 

thank you all

 

 

 

Total votes: 129

The sport of motorcyle racing is bigger than one talented Italian,regardless of how many fans he attracts to the sport/clothing industry.I personally have followed racing for over 40 years and will continue to do so once said Italian departs for whatever venture he pursues,along with 95% of his non motorcyleriding fan base.

Total votes: 142