Assen, The Netherlands
As we reported at Mugello, the claiming rule is to be dropped from the MotoGP rulebook. Introduced to prevent factories entering MotoGP under the guise of private teams, the claiming rule allowed any factory to claim the engine of a bike entered by a CRT team. But after the Grand Prix Commission agreed to the introduction of a spec ECU, the decision to run the spec software proved to be an alternative and more effective way was found of separating full factory efforts from privateer teams. The claiming rule was never actually used, the factories having said when the claiming rule was introduced that they had no intention of ever claiming an engine. It was kept there as the ultimate threat, Teddy Roosevelt's 'big stick' to prevent other factories from even considering such a ruse.
The new distinction between factory and private teams is now the spec ECU, and so the claiming rule has been dropped with immediate effect for all teams (Forward Racing, Avintia Blusens, PBM's Michael Laverty, CAME Ioda Racing) currently using the spec software. From 2014, all teams will have to use the spec hardware, and so the claiming rule will be dropped completely for the 2014 season.
This was a day when legends were born. After race after race of watching clinical perfection, savored mainly by the Grand Prix connoisseur, the 83rd Dutch TT at Assen was a shot of raw, unfiltered passion, emotion, will, strength and determination. It was a day which will live in the memories of everyone there for many years to come, for more reasons than there is space to mention. It is partially a tale of how a great circuit helps produce great racing, but it is mostly about the way that logic does not always triumph in sport. And that the will to win can drive elite athletes to go beyond themselves, and explore limits they didn't know they had.
What will we remember most? Valentino Rossi's return to victory, after two barren years at Ducati and the fear that he had lost his edge with age? The exhilarating battles that took place for the top five, with passes being made despite the risks? With another chapter in the fierce rivalry that is building in Moto2, between Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding? With Luis Salom's mature and calculated last lap lunge to take the win in Moto3? Or the story of Jorge Lorenzo, who broke his collarbone on Thursday, flew back and forth to Barcelona to have a plate fitted, and then raced despite the pain, 36 hours after his operation?
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Saturday's exhilarating race at Assen:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the thrilling races at Assen:
Summary and results of MotoGP race:
Summary and results of Moto2 race:
Summary and results of Moto3 race:
After testing his shoulder in morning warm up, Jorge Lorenzo has been passed fit to race in a medical examination. Yamaha issued the following press release after warm up, containing statements from Lorenzo on his condition:
The Real Man of Steel Returns
Assen (The Netherlands), 29th June 2013
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo delivered a superhuman effort this morning, taking part in the MotoGP Warm Up after a medical check cleared him to ride. Despite being in obvious pain following surgery to his left collarbone just over 24hrs ago the reigning World Champion was able to gradually build up a competitive pace and even threatened to take the top spot in the last seconds but was denied by traffic.
Lorenzo wasn’t the only one to impress in the Warm Up, teammate Valentino Rossi was also on blistering form, wrapping up the session as the fastest rider, the Italian clearly continuing to enjoy his new found confidence in the YZR-M1 under braking.
Valentino Rossi topped the timesheets in the morning warm up at Assen, but the big story is Jorge Lorenzo. The factory Yamaha rider was cleared to participate in warm up by medical officials after a check up this morning, and set the 8th fastest time, seven tenths slower than Rossi, in blustery conditions. Lorenzo faces another checkup at 11am before being passed fit for the race.
What an intriguing weekend the 83rd running of the Dutch TT at Assen has turned out to be. (Well, I say weekend, it's still Friday, but in any racing paddock, the weekend starts once bikes roll out for the first practice, and ends when the final press conference of the day is completed.) The story lines are plentiful, made possible by mixed conditions, low grip and a barrel load of ambition.
First, there's the MotoGP polesitter. Cal Crutchlow took his first ever pole in the class on Friday, with a perfectly-timed lap to blast ahead of Marc Marquez and earn himself a Tissot watch. He left it to the very last lap, but cut it very fine indeed. He crossed the finish line with just 3 seconds left on the session clock, giving him a final attempt at pole. He had worked out he would make it across the line for one last shot by looking at the sector times displayed on the digital dashboard, but when he exited the GT chicane and saw the starter already out with the checkered flag, he had gotten a little nervous.