June 27th, 2015
The Moto2 race was red flagged before the first lap was completed as Luis Salom clipped the back of Ant West's bike and tumbled off track, cracking its right crankcase, spilling oil all over the place and ignominiously catching fire. The restart would be 16 laps.
A dry start and no flag-to-flag racing in Moto3 means the race would be stopped to let the riders change to wet tyres for safety reasons if it starts to rain. Would the weather hold off?
Dani Pedrosa crashed heavily at De Bult. He was taken to the medical center, where he was diagnosed with contusions to his left thumb and finger.
Jeremy Burgess was famous for finding that special something on Sunday morning that gave Valentino Rossi the edge in the race in the afternoon. It is a tradition carried on by Silvano Galbusera, who has replaced Burgess since the start of the 2014 season. Galbusera, too, always seems to find that extra little tweak during warm up that makes the difference between cruising in fourth or finishing on the podium, and even on the top step. The fact that it has continued since Burgess' departure suggests that the tweaks were very much a collaborative effort, with input coming from his data engineers and mechanics, as well as the rider himself, of course.
Two weeks ago in Barcelona, Rossi's team appeared to have found something extra special. For it did not just work on the Sunday in Catalonia, taking Rossi from the third row all the way up to 2nd, but it has even carried through to Assen, some 1600km further north. Rossi was quick from the moment he rolled out of pit lane for the first time at Assen, and has been at or near the top of the timesheets ever since. In this form, Rossi may well have expected to have been on the front row, but he went better than that. Putting in one of the best laps of his recent career with a couple of minutes to go, he simply hammered the opposition. As a sign of just how dominant he was at Assen, he led the second fastest man, Aleix Espargaro, by nearly a quarter of a second. The next quarter of a second difference covers second place to eleventh, from Aleix Espargaro to Danilo Petrucci. It is incredibly close at Assen, except at the front. One man reigns supreme.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and others after qualifying at Assen:
Tito Rabat, current Moto2 world champion, went into the session having gone two tenths of a second quicker than anyone else, with only Xavier Simeon and Johann Zarco within half a second. Conditions were dry and clear.
Results and summary of qualifying practice at Assen:
Marc Marquez has topped the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class, laying down an impressive pace to lead the way. The Repsol Honda rider ended in front of two Movistar Yamaha riders, Valentino Rossi taking 2nd, while Jorge Lorenzo finished in 3rd. Both men had good pace, but it was Lorenzo's which looked closer to the run of 1'33s which Marquez put down.
Dani Pedrosa was two tenths behind Lorenzo, and four tenths behind his teammate, while Cal Crutchlow came home in 5th, two tenths behind Pedrosa. Aleix Espargaro was the first of the Suzukis, just behind Crutchlow and just ahead of the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso and the Tech 3 Yamaha of Bradley Smith.
Results of qualifying for Moto3 at Assen:
Valentino Rossi has ended a rain-disrupted final session of free practice to head into qualifying as the fastest man. FP3 was a session of two parts, with light rain chasing the pack back into the pits after the first quarter of an hour. It never rained enough to affect the track, but caution prevailed, leaving everyone to wait for the final 12 minutes or so before returning to the track to pursue a coveted spot in Q2.
Rossi was fast in those final minutes, but only made sure of top spot at the very end of the session. He bumped his Movistar Yamaha teammate back into 2nd, after Lorenzo put in two searing laps to briefly take over at the top. The two factory Ducatis follow the Yamahas, Andrea Iannone leading Andrea Dovizioso, while Bradley Smith secured his spot in Q with a solid lap in the last few minutes. Smith finished ahead of the Repsol Honda pairing, Marc Marquez leading Dani Pedrosa. Marquez had led for the first part of the session, but dropped down the field when the pace hotted up.
Maverick Viñales was the only Suzuki rider to get into Q2, Aleix Espargaro ending up in 12th, and having to come through Q1. Pol Espargaro made it four Yamahas through to Q2, ending just ahead of Cal Crutchlow. Crutchlow and Pedrosa were the only riders not to improve their times in FP3.