Uncertainty was the word of the day as teams got ready for the race with rain pouring down the pitlane, yet seeing it stop before the actual start. Andrea Dovizioso was leading halfway through the race, when apocalyptical levels of rain hit the track and caused a red flag. After the standing water was swept off, the riders lined up for a new 12-lap race.
The end of those laps led to a surprising first career win for Jack Miller, the first for a non-factory rider since Toni Elias ten years ago, in Estoril. The Australian looked unbeatable after taking the lead from Marc Marquez, the championship leader settling for second, earning handfuls of points as his main rivals were out of contention. The last podium spot went to Scott Redding after a late overtake on Pol Espargaro.
But first thing first: the initial race start saw Scott Redding leading into the first turn but running wide on the exit, leaving Valentino Rossi into the lead, with Andrea Dovizioso following. Aleix Espargaro flew into third, Marc Marquez cautiously trailing him before Hernandez decided to go for it and took third from the duo. By the end of lap three, the Columbian was taking the lead from Rossi and building a gap of almost 3 seconds on the softer rear tyre.
Marquez had a few solitary laps into fourth, until Petrucci started to show his fondness for wet conditions by charging from the back and overtaking the Spaniard with 22 laps to go. The Repsol Honda rider soon found himself rubbing elbows with a resurgent Andrea Iannone.
Gaps started to appear between the riders as heavy rain dropped once more just as a dry line had begun to form. In the tricky conditions, a hard-charging Hernandez got caught out with fifteen laps to go, restarting down in nineteenth, changing bikes and crashing out once again.
Dovizioso inherited the lead while Danilo Petrucci was starting to put pressure on fellow Italian Valentino Rossi. After swapping positions on a few occasions, Petrucci grabbed second as teammate Redding recovered to attack the Doctor. Another great recovery was that of Dani Pedrosa, climbing into sixth, fighting his Repsol Honda teammate as the red flag was waved with twelve laps to go.
Once the rain calmed down, the race was restarted for another twelve laps, riders starting in the order they finished the original race, Dovizioso once again on pole. Marquez ran wide into turn one, falling back into third, with Dovizioso and Rossi ahead of him. Pedrosa was the first victim of the conditions, losing it into turn nine, Cal Crutchlow following his example into turn twelve.
Miller rocketed into an impressive fourth as Rossi led the way with a functional rain light this time around. One lap later, runner-up Dovizioso got caught out too, handing a podium position to the Australian. The new leader wasn’t as lucky as the Marc VDS rider, Rossi falling soon after in turn ten as the front wheel of his Yamaha washed away.
With eight laps to go, Miller found himself leading the race after a determined overtake on Marquez, who decided to play the long game. And he never looked back. Five seconds behind him, Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding squabbled for the last podium spot, the Brit taking third with two laps to go.
After a reasonable start in the first race, Lorenzo started dropping back at a shocking rate, down into nineteen by lap seven. Viñales had a similarly difficult first race in sixteenth position. The restart cast a more positive light on their weekend, with Viñales leading Lorenzo into ninth.
Such a chaotic race left us with many other highlights, including Iannone saving a fifth place from last on the grid, Hector Barbera in sixth, Laverty in seventh and Bradl in eight. Rabat, Pedrosa and Smith all scored points despite crashing during the race.
The second happiest rider in Assen was Marquez, who extended his lead over the Yamaha duo. Lorenzo is now 24 points down, with Rossi a critical 42 away from the Honda man. What an 86th edition of the Dutch GP!
|13||38||Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||3 Laps|
|19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||1 Lap|
|51||Michele PIRRO||Ducati||7 Laps|
|46||Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||10 Laps|
|41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||10 Laps|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||11 Laps|
|9||Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||11 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||0 Lap|
|68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||0 Lap|