Press releases from the teams and Michelin after Sunday's MotoGP race(s) at Assen:
Miller takes famous maiden MotoGP win in Assen
The 250th race of the modern MotoGP era will be one that Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS and Jack Miller will never forget, after the Australian claimed a remarkable maiden premier class victory at the historic Assen track.
Miller overcame perilously tricky conditions on a weather-dominated afternoon at the Dutch TT to become the first non-factory rider in 10 years to win in MotoGP.
He also became the first Australian to win a MotoGP race since Casey Stoner in 2012 after a day of high drama and tension in front of a sell-out crowd of 105,000 fans in Holland.
Scheduled to be a 26-lap race that started on a wet track, Miller had expertly mastered the tricky track conditions to charge from 19th into eighth when the action was halted on safety grounds on lap 15 as monsoon conditions enveloped the 4.5km Assen venue.
Once conditions had improved and standing water was cleared from the track, the race was restarted over a shortened distance of 12-laps, with the grid forming based on positions from part one.
Conditions were no less hazardous in part two, but as experienced riders crashed out of contention, Miller rode a majestically measured and composed race to move into the top three on only the second lap.
A brilliantly executed overtake on Marc Márquez on lap four then put Miller at the front of the field.
And it was a lead he never looked like relinquishing, as he rode a faultless final eight laps to win by almost two seconds, sparking jubilant celebrations to mark the first MotoGP win by Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS since its premier class collaboration started with Honda in 2015.
Tito Rabat’s Dutch TT was also a dramatic affair and he did an exceptional job to salvage 11th place to register his fifth point scoring finish of the campaign.
The Spaniard crashed on lap five in the 12-lap restart but demonstrated his never give up attitude by remounting to collect five important World Championship points.
Jack Miller: 1st
“I don’t often say this but I’m lost for words. I feel incredibly emotional right now and it is hard to describe the sensation of winning for the first time in MotoGP. I felt confident and fast in the first part of the race but it was the right call to red flag it because the conditions were getting pretty dangerous. The track was really slippery for part two as well but I immediately felt comfortable. I could see a few riders making mistakes but I just kept my focus and concentrated on being fast and consistent without taking any silly risks. Once I passed Marc I just tried to block out the fact that I was heading for my first win and keep a clear mind. Coming out of the final chicane and seeing the chequered flag was just an unbelievable feeling. My family and I have made a lot of sacrifices to make today happen and it feels amazing. I can’t thank Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS enough. They have given me incredible support and never stopped believing in me. I must also thank Honda and their management for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to show what I can do at this level. It might take a while to sink in but I am going to enjoy tonight that’s for sure!”
Tito Rabat: 11th
“It was a very difficult race and tricky conditions but I am happy to score more points. In the second race I’d got into the top 10 and felt I had a very good pace. I’m not normally so confident in the rain conditions but I felt really comfortable. I tried to pass Bautista because I was quite a bit faster than him in the last two sectors but I carried a bit more lean angle at turn 11 and it was a huge mistake because I crashed. I was lucky to be able to rejoin the race and I’m happy to finish and gain a lot of experience of the bike, tyres and electronics in the race. I want to say big congratulations to Jack and the whole team for the victory today. He rode an unbelievable race and deserved his victory.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I am not sure where to start after a day like today but it is hard to describe the range of emotions the whole team has gone through. Many people have worked all of their life to experience a day like today and to win in MotoGP, so now it has arrived the elation and emotion is something very special. I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I arrived in MotoGP in 2004 and sometimes you don’t think it will happen. But we’ve continued to believe and to push at our maximum to make it happen, and I actually still can’t believe it has! Congratulations to Jack because he was incredible today. Those kind of conditions always give an Independent Team a chance but you have to take the opportunity when it presents itself and Jack did exactly that. It was so easy to make a mistake but he was perfect. Those last few laps were so full of tension it was hard to watch at times, but to be the first non-factory team to win a MotoGP race since 2006 makes me immensely proud of the whole team. We’ve had a lot of criticism for taking Jack but I’ve never doubted his talent and we’ve shown the world today that together we can do great things. I must say a big thanks to Marc van der Straten for his energy and devotion to this project and to Estrella Galicia 0,0, Elf and Honda for their continued support. Let’s hope this is the first of many wins."
Momentous second place for Marquez in weather-affected Dutch TT
Marc Marquez’s brilliant and very important second-place finish in one of the trickiest races in recent years was enhanced by the amazing debut win of Honda satellite rider Jack Miller, who perfectly mastered the second part of the Dutch TT. The lottery that is a MotoGP race run in such challenging conditions ruled out a possible podium finish for Dani Pedrosa, who finished in 12th position after crashing on the first lap of the race’s weather-prompted restart.
The Assen TT originally started approximately one hour after a strong 15-minute downpour had heavily drenched the track. Marc had chosen a hard rear rain tyre, while Dani opted for the softer version. That proved to be the better solution, so although Marc managed to keep a decent enough pace to maintain fourth position in the race’s first phase, Dani was able to steadily recover ground from the back after the rain started again. He had just overtaken his teammate when the conditions became so difficult that Race Direction decided to put out the red flag on lap 15. That meant that the new grid position for the remaining 12-lap race was determined by the classification of the previous lap—lap 14—with Marc in fifth and Dani sixth.
Race 2 got off at 3 p.m., and both Repsol Honda riders went out on the Michelin soft rear rain spec. Marquez started well, entering the first corner first, but he ran wide shortly after and dropped back to third behind Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi. After the two Italians fell ahead of him and Miller caught and then overtook him, Marc wisely settled for the 20 crucial points that come with second place, thereby extending his championship lead to 24 points over Jorge Lorenzo and 42 over Rossi.
Like many others, Dani was betrayed by the tricky conditions and crashed on the first lap after the restart. He determinedly re-joined the race and was able to finish in 12th, and lies 4th in the standings 17 points down on Rossi.
“Today’s race was one of those in which you can either lose many points or gain them, and you can face it with two mentalities: either you take a risk to gain a bigger advantage, or you focus on finishing the race in order to lose the fewest points possible. The latter is the mentality that the team repeated to me about forty times between this morning and today, and it is exactly what I did. I tried to stay in the top five so as not to drop many points to Valentino [Rossi] and attempted to not make mistakes in order to finish the race. At the beginning of the first race I didn’t feel comfortable and lost touch, but then I was able to recover. I think that stopping the race was a good decision, because it was very dangerous out there. In the second race I started off thinking about pushing a bit more, but everyone was very fast and I decided not to follow Rossi and Dovizioso because they were going too quickly. However, both of them crashed later on. When I saw Jack [Miller] stalking behind me, I knew that he would be going for his first win so I preferred to let him pass and keep a couple of seconds gap between us, as well as a cushion to third place. I did that because with Jorge [Lorenzo] so far back and Rossi out of the race, second place was as good as a victory. In the end, we leave Assen with a bigger lead."
“It's been a pretty tough weekend but races like today are a lottery. In the first race it seemed that the strategy of running the soft tyre had gone well. At first, when the track was drying, I went slowly, but when it started to rain I upped my pace very quickly while others were at a disadvantage. However, that was when the Race Direction decided to stop the race. I felt unlucky, because it turned out that thinking ahead or trying to pick a different strategy wasn’t beneficial. In the second race I crashed on the first lap, because I had a new rear tyre without too much grip. It has been a difficult Grand Prix but we will try to find better solutions for the next race and regain our feeling in order to go faster."
Fifth place for Andrea Iannone at Assen, in a two-part, rain-affected Dutch TT. No luck for Dovizioso, who crashed out from second after leading the first part of the race
Heavy rain showers conditioned the Dutch GP at the Assen TT circuit, forcing Race Direction to bring the red flags out after 14 laps while Andrea Dovizioso, who had started from pole, was leading from Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) and Rossi. Andrea Iannone, who crashed on the same lap, managed to return to the pits and was able to take the start for the second part of the race.
The second grid line-up was based on the standings after the first part, which meant that the remainder of the race would be over 12 laps. Dovizioso powered away well and crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in second place, but he then crashed out in Turn 12 and was forced to retire. Iannone, who started from the sixth row, was able to work his way up to fifth place by lap 4 and he took the chequered flag in that position.
The race was won by Australian rider Jack Miller, ahead of Marc Marquez and Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati’s Scott Redding.
The morning warm-up, which was held on a dry track, had seen the Ducati Team riders demonstrate their competitiveness at this circuit, with Iannone topping the timesheets ahead of Dovizioso.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 5th
“Overall I think it’s been a positive weekend for us, because in the dry we were always competitive and we had a good chance of finishing the weekend well despite the rain, which until yesterday was a problem for me because I didn’t have much confidence, as well as the fact that I had to start from last place. In MotoGP it’s never easy to recover from the back, but I am pleased with both of my starts: in the first after the opening lap I was eleventh and shortly after already up to sixth, and maybe starting a few rows further up I could even have fought for the podium. I was right at the back of the grid again in seventeenth place in the second start, but I managed to recover well and cross the line in fifth place. In the end today’s result was quite positive for us and we managed to bring home some important points.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – DNF
“Obviously I am very disappointed because we had a great weekend and I was leading the first part of the race in very difficult conditions, but then too much rain started to fall and it was right to stop the race. What actually happened on the second start is that everyone fitted the soft rear tyre, which had a lot more grip but which created even more problems at the front, the reason for all the crashes yesterday and today. Valentino and I both knew that we were the fastest riders out there and we pushed ourselves on to be as fast as possible, but in the end we both made mistakes. There aren’t many excuses when you crash, because it means that you have made a mistake, but when there are so many crashes in two days in the wet it’s important to understand the reason why.”
MOTOGP AT ASSEN - STEFAN BRADL RIDES HIS APRILIA RS-GP TO AN EIGHTH PLACE FINISH, ALVARO BAUTISTA CRASHES WHILE BATTLING FOR FIFTH
ALBESIANO: “IMPORTANT SIGNS OF GROWTH FOR APRILIA"
The Sunday that just ended at Assen was a hard one, with the MotoGP race suspended due to heavy rainfall and then restarted with 11 laps to race. There was no lack of excitement for Aprilia, with Bradl and Bautista's RS-GP machines shining in both parts of the race and with yet another top ten finish in the end.
After the first start on a wet track, the two Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders maintained focus despite the difficult conditions, further worsened as the rain fell more intensely, conditions that forced Race Direction to suspend the race during lap 14. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl occupied tenth and eleventh place respectively, positions that they maintained on the second starting grid.
At the restart Alvaro and Stefan picked up where they had left off, riding cautiously on decidedly treacherous asphalt, as the many crashes that began straight away proved. With a good pace and taking advantage of the riders who dropped out, Alvaro moved up to fifth place before Iannone overtook him, in any case without pulling away. On the final lap, when he had completely closed the gap, the Spaniard attempted to take the inside line to move back into fifth place, but he fell victim instead to a crash.
Stefan Bradl, forced to use the second RS-GP, had a bit of difficulty finding the right feeling with the bike and the track, opting for a cautious race, in the end bringing home a well-earned and promising eighth place.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"A difficult weekend but positive for us in many ways. For example, our ninth place in warmup, with Bautista less than a second behind the leader, signs of growth that are important for us. In the race the riders did well. It was not easy to stay focused and it's a pity about Bautista's crash. In any case, Alvaro did well to try. Fifth place was within his capabilities and it would have been an incredible result. Stefan had some fuel problems at the second start; otherwise he would have been able to improve his already strong eighth place".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"I consider this to be a positive day. We defended well in the wet and if Bautista hadn't crashed on the last lap we could have taken our best result of the season. In any case, Alvaro did very well. He believed and tried all the way to the end and even if he didn't bring home the points, that is the right attitude. Stefan also rode an excellent race, bringing home another top ten finish in conditions which were definitely not easy. We still have a long way to go to improve, but we can be satisfied with this weekend".
"In the first part of the race I was riding well, despite the difficulties. At the restart I stayed calm, trying to figure out the track conditions lap after lap and setting my pace. I felt good, even when Iannone overtook me, opening up a little gap, I managed to close it back down. In the last lap I was very close to Andrea. His line went slightly wide on a turn and I moved in to overtake him. Unfortunately I fell, but in those situations the rider's instinct is always to aim for the best possible result. I'm sorry, first of all for the guys on my team and for Aprilia. Now the only thing to do is to look forward and keep on growing".
"It was definitely a race that will spark a lot of discussion. Race Direction took the right decision. The track was really getting dangerous. I was riding with confidence and I felt good in the saddle even if it was definitely not easy to go fast. Unfortunately, once I was back in the garage, we had a small electronics problem so I had to restart with the second bike. The geometry was slightly different and the feeling was not perfect, so I managed the race, in any case bringing home an important result. This is a good calling card for my home race at the Sachsenring".
VIÑALES & TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 9TH AT RAIN-HIT ASSEN
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 26.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales raced to ninth place in a drama-packed Motul TT Assen MotoGP™ two-part race in the Netherlands today as team-mate Aleix Espargaró was a casualty of the treacherously-slippery conditions and slid-off in the restarted race after fighting to catch-up after running wide early on.
Torrential rain caused a red-flag after 14 of 26-laps on safety grounds with the race re-run over 12 laps for full championship points. The first start proved to be complicated for Viñales, resulting in him being 18th after the first lap; he struggled to be competitive but managed to recover some positions, resulting in 13th place at the red flag. Even with new tyres, in the restart he suffered pretty-much the same lack of confidence with the machine, but he managed to make some overtaking manoeuvres and finally close the race well into the points.
Espargaró had a very positive jump in part one of the race, being third at the end of first lap, but then progressively lost competitiveness and slid-back some positions. At the restart, a collision with another rider pushed him into the gravel at the first corner, resulting in him being in last position. The modifications to the set-up done by his crew during the idle time between ‘part 1’ and ‘part 2’ proved to be effective though and the confidence he found back allowed him to recover on the riders ahead, but his positive progression had been interrupted by a slide that took him out of the race.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“For sure this has been a hard weekend for us. Maybe this is the typical Assen weather, but for us it’s not been a big deal. Until FP3, in the dry, we were going very well with both riders in Q2 and consistently performing among the top, especially Maverick with a very good pace. But after rain came, our troubles started to get bigger and we struggled to find good settings. In Sunday’s race we were taunted by the weather, and with the race split into two legs, we struggled in both as we couldn't find proper set-ups. Here we have understood that our machine still needs to be investigated further to take the best out of it, it can be performing in any conditions if compared to other bikes, but we still have a lot to learn on how to take this good from it and take profit. I want to see the positive side of the weekend; today we have gained much experience and collected a lot of data, which will be very useful for the next time we have a wet race.”
“Unfortunately the rain was not a big deal for us, we lack in experience and today we paid the biggest price. We were pretty competitive in the dry, but when rain arrived we couldn’t find a proper set-up to have a machine that could make me comfortable. I suffered a lot during both legs of the race, and I’m sad for this because I felt we could have had a good chance in the dry. Unfortunately, we still have a lot to learn and grow when we are in rain conditions, we are all learning, but for sure this result is under our expectations; although being well into the points is a positive thing.”
“It’s a pity because we did a real improvement and my feeling was good. After the first start I felt very uncomfortable on the bike, I couldn’t deploy the power to the ground and also had issues in turning, but in the time between the two legs of the race my crew applied some modifications that finally proved to be very effective. After the second start I had a collision with another rider at ‘Turn 1’ which sent me into the gravel, but I didn’t crash and I could re-join the race. After this the improvements to the bike allowed me to feel confident and recover to the riders ahead, but unfortunately I crashed. It’s a pity with the result, but I am finally satisfied for the job we have done and for this experience under the rain and it will be useful for the future in case of another wet race.”
Dutch Downpour Dampens Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Efforts
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo, who struggled in the first unpredictable race at the TT Assen, took the second chance with both hands today and secured tenth position. Teammate Valentino Rossi was riding impressively at the start of the 12-lap sprint this afternoon and was looking to win the race until a crash at turn ten meant the end of his challenge.
Dramatic rainfall at the TT Circuit Assen played a big role in the proceedings today. As the first race was red flagged due to weather conditions after lap 14, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had to go out for a 12-lap dash. Lorenzo rode a steady race to claim six vital points for the championship. Rossi was unlucky to get caught out by the extremely wet conditions and was unable to complete the race.
There was uncertainty before the start of the TT Assen, as black clouds were looming threateningly above the riders' heads on the starting grid. Jorge Lorenzo had a brilliant start the first time round, moving up from tenth to fifth in the first couple of corners. However, not being able to keep the pace at the front in the treacherous conditions, he made his Yamaha as wide as possible to defend his position but was unable to find a good feeling and held 19th place when the race was red flagged.
The race was restarted at 15:02 with the starting grid being based on the position the riders held on the lap 14 standings. Having to commence the 12-lap dash from the seventh row on the grid, Lorenzo also fought bravely during the second part of the race. Similar to the first outing, he had a great start and was able to move up several positions to 13th by the end of the first lap. Though he couldn't keep up the momentum, he pushed as hard as he could without crossing the limit and took tenth place over the line.
Teammate Rossi had a good start in the first part of race from second place on the grid and took the lead coming out of the first corner. He was quick to find a good rhythm, but remained cautious. He kept a steady pace but had to let Yonny Hernandez and Andrea Dovizioso come through as he was trying to get a feel for the monsoon-like conditions. He later regained second place when Hernandez crashed out and at that point Rossi decided it was time to put the hammer down and closed back in to Dovizioso whilst being followed by Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding. What followed was a tense battle between the top four riders, but it was cut short when the race was red flagged.
Rossi again had a good start the second time round, this time from third position, and was lying in second place after turn one. A lap later he was in the lead and soon opened up a gap of over two seconds to his closest rival, until he was caught out by the rain on lap three and unable to continue the race.
With a tenth place Lorenzo scores six points and is now 24 points behind Marc Marquez whilst holding second place in the championship standings. Rossi remains third in the rankings, 18 points behind his teammate.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Unfortunately it was clear at the start of the race that the weather would be a big factor today. As always the team worked hard to give both Vale and Jorge the best possible set up for the race, but none of the practice sessions were as wet as it was today. With the weather changing every couple of minutes it was a real gamble for the riders to decide how hard they could push. Jorge struggled to find a good feeling in the wet and did the best with what he had and has been able to take home some important points. Vale did well in the first race and also excelled at the restart of the race, despite the chaos. It was a real pity that he wasn't able to finish the race, because he has been strong in all these extreme conditions. It's a shame that our results here don't represent our potential, had the weather been a bit more consistent. We'll leave this weekend behind us now and focus on the next round at the Sachsenring!"
10th / +27.604 / 12 laps
"In the first race I was in 19th place and the last rider. I was even thinking about stopping because the conditions on the track were terrible, but I kept riding and they stopped the race. We restarted the race with less water on the track and a soft rear tyre and, though I was one of the last ones and there were many crashers, I gained more confidence than I had in the first race. These are important points for the championship, in the first race I would not have scored any. Marquez also scored a lot of points today, but Rossi, who could have recovered points, lost a lot. Ultimately we were able to save a difficult weekend. Before Le Mans we were also around 24 points behind and now we are more or less in the same situation, after two difficult races, so we have to think positive and keep in mind that we still have a lot of races to recover the gap to Marquez."
DNC / -10 laps
"It's a great shame considering our great level of speed and competitiveness this weekend with our bike at this track. We could have gotten some important points for the championship after a difficult weekend and we could have taken second place in the championship over Lorenzo, but unfortunately I made a mistake. In the second half I pushed too much while I already had a good advantage. On that lap I was trying to push to understand my level. In the second part of the race we started with a soft rear, which provides very good grip, but unfortunately I entered turn ten too fast. I think we had a good chance today, but with my mistake I threw away a lot of points. The distance, especially to Marquez, is quite big, but we need to continue working hard like this and try to be competitive also next time."
Fantastic podium for Scott. Petrux’s dream ends with the red flag.
Overwhelming emotions for Octo Pramac Yakhnich in the DutchTT; characterized by the rain which on lap 16 forced the riders to return to the pits. Danilo Petrucci was leading, Scott Redding came in third with an impressive race pace. The prospect of seeing both on the podium was concrete, confirmed by Danilo times (four consecutive best lap as the track began to dry out) and Scott's comeback in lap 13. He registered over two-times seconds less than the leading group. Scott took the lead at the first corner but a mistake set him back 10 positions. The British rider did well to stay calm, and from lap 3, recovered positions that let him catch up to the leading group while the rain began to fall harder. Meanwhile, Petrux had a perfect race without making any mistakes letting him take the the lead in lap 14. After the red flag and the re-start, the rider Fiamme Oro, had to deal with a technical problem that forced him to retire. As in the first start, Scott could not keep the position, but had the merit to believe in it to go get Pol Espargaro and win his first podium with Octo Pramac Yakhnich. With 15 points won, Assen Scott rose to 14th place in the ranking of MotoGP with 32 points. Danilo, after three consecutive Top 10 remains with 24 points. Octo Pramac Yakhnich rose to sixth place in the ranking for teams with 68 points.
3° - Scott Redding
"It is a great satisfaction. It was a very difficult race. In a few moments, before the red flag, I could not see hardly anything. I drove by instinct and I managed to stay upright. The feeling with the bike was great and it was so even in the second half of the race. I am very happy for having given this satisfaction to the boys who have done an extraordinary job. We had so much bad luck so far and this weekend with the first row on the grid and the podium is a reward for having always continued to believe in what we were doing."
DNF - Danilo Petrucci
"I am very disappointed. We went very fast throughout the weekend, the team did a superb job. I was convinced that I could be among the first even in dry conditions. I felt good in the race, everything was going the right way, I was very motivated because I felt that this was the right time to bring home the victory. Unfortunately, that problem has ruined everything. I saw the dash go off and I thought even that would hinder me. But the engine stalled. I am disappointed but also aware that we have done an extraordinary job. I would have deserved this win but I am sure we will have other opportunities. Starting from Germany!"
Espargaro powers through the rain to seize 4th at the Cathedral of Speed
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro equalled his best result in the premier class with a 4th place finish in a drama filled and soaking wet Motul TT Assen in front of 105,000 passionate fans. The Spaniard leapt forward when the lights went out at the beginning of the wet race and he carefully navigated around the circuit on the first lap which he completed in 8th. Then, shortly after, Espargaro dropped back six positions yet, he stayed focused and stuck into a consistent pace, which allowed him to move up to 9th by the midway point as he steadily made progress. However, by that time, the weather conditions were considerably worse which lead to the Grand Prix being red flagged. A shortened sprint of 12 laps resumed shortly afterwards and he got straight back to work before concluding the opening lap in 6th. With a third of the total distance left to run, Espargaro slotted into the final podium position as he continued to push, before eventually crossing the line in 4th, closing an incredibly challenging round 8 battle.
Meanwhile Bradley Smith's hopes of a strong result were dashed at the wet Dutch Grand Prix after falling on the 16th lap shortly after the race recommenced. The young Briton began the GP from 13th on the grid and he was shuffled back one position by the close of the first lap. Smith persevered as he launched into his recovery campaign and consistently progressed before clinching 12th when the red flag was shown. Nevertheless, the 25 year old lunged forward at the restart and moved up to 7th, yet his luck ran dry on the following lap as he fell at the 15th corner. He nursed his Yamaha YZR-M1 back to the pits and then bravely re-joined the Grand Prix and sealed 13th.
4th / +9.812 / 12 laps
"To come away from a tricky event like today with a 4th position in conditions that were completely wet, is like a dream for us. Of course there is a bittersweet taste in my mouth as I just missed out on the podium again, yet with all the crashes that we saw, I had to be careful and think about the Championship. In addition, Scott was clearly faster and able to push a lot more on the front tyre. In the second race we could use the softer rear compound and my feeling with the bike was much better straight away. Therefore, I can say that I believe I have been competitive in wet conditions for the first time since I've been in MotoGP. However my legs, arms, fingers, neck and whole body are now aching from the huge tension that we had while riding in these conditions. I must admit that I wished the GP was red flagged a bit sooner because it really was becoming dangerous to ride during the heavy rain. Anyway, the bike worked well, and the only issue we had to face was that, compared to the other manufactures, we struggled to get a feeling with the front tyre. The crashes from Valentino, my teammate and Jorge's race underline how tough it is for us to find the limit at the front end, so it was challenging to fight with the Honda and Ducati riders. Yet, this result is another important step in the right direction for my standings in the Championship and we have started to open a gap on the other satellite riders and also reduce the gap to Vinales. So we will continue to push and we'll remain focused so that hopefully, we can finish in a better position before the end of the season."
13th / -3 laps / 12 laps
"It was an eventful day and with the challenging conditions, it was tricky for everyone to not make any mistakes. We started with the harder option rear tyre, which was the first time that we tried it all weekend and it took me a long time to get a general feeling. Yet, I could see Pol just in front of me on the track and I thought that I had made the right decision to go for the full distance, because 26 laps is a long time. Then we had a lot of rain and to be honest, it would have be nice to stop a few laps earlier because it was quite unsafe. It's always difficult for race direction to understand the right moment but this is something we need to talk about in the future at safety commissions. Then, in part two, I felt a lot better because we were able to start with the softer compound of rear tyre, and twelve laps gave us that chance. I immediately made up a lot of positions in the opening lap, and in fact, I would say that it was one of the most competitive laps that I've had this season. Then unfortunately, like many other riders, I fell because I lost the front as it was pushed too much by the extra grip from the rear. Even though it's another disappointing weekend, it was nice to finish and get some points because the team has worked really hard. We will continue to soldier on and do the best that we can. Right now, if we look at the championship we're not where we want to be, but hopefully our fortune will change at some point this season and we'll be back to where we belong."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“What a weekend in Assen! We got the typical Dutch weather and it split the event into two incredible races for the fans. Race direction made the right decision to red flag the GP because there was far too much water on the circuit and it was unsafe to ride. Anyway, our two guys remained steady on the track in the first part which I think was the best decision because the asphalt was very slippery. After the restart, we knew there was a good chance of a strong result, and they ended lap one in two solid positions. Unfortunately Bradley, like many other riders crashed but he bravely recovered and managed to finish. I have to say thanks to him for doing his best and always pushing for any points. On the other side, it was a marvellous day for Pol. Last year he struggled a lot with the wet conditions on the MotoGP bike, but this season, he seems to be more comfortable. I think this is because of his efforts and also his adaptation to the Michelin tyres. We believed that a podium could have been possible and Redding stayed behind Pol for quite a while, however when he did overtake, he had a better pace and Pol was clever enough to not do anything too crazy. I want to thank him for being the first Yamaha in the field and hopefully there will be a podium before we end our collaboration with him. Now, Pol will head straight to Japan to test for the Suzuka 8 Hour race which, of course, we wish him luck with. We will be back on track soon and if we can complete the first half of the season one step higher in Germany, it would be the perfect way to head into the summer break.”
Fantastic sixth place for Barbera in a crazy race at Assen
Avintia Racing rider Hector Barbera took a fantastic sixth place in a crazy interrupted race at Assen. It was the first time in 86 years the Dutch TT was held on Sunday, and also the 250th race in the MotoGP era. But the race will be remembered for it’s final outcome.
The race, initially planned with a distance of 26 laps, was red-flagged due to torrential rain with 12 laps to go. In the first part, things went quite bad for Barbera and Pirro. Hector was 14th when the red flag came out, while Michele crashed on the last lap. Luckily he could get his bike back to the garage.
In the second part of the race, Barbera got the pace step by step to cross the chequered flag in sixth place behind Andrea Iannone. With this result, the Avintia Racing rider climbs one place, and with one race left until the half-way mark of the season, he is seventh in the World Championship classification. He also continues to lead the Ducati ranking.
Michele Pirro crashed again with five laps to go, whilst fighting for the top 10. Overall it was a really difficult weekend for the Ducati factory test rider.
Hector Barbera - P6
“I’m really happy with this result because the first race was a disaster. I decided to use the harder rain compound for the rear and it had no grip at all, with the bike spinning even on the straight. Just pointing to the corners, the bike was sliding and I did not enjoy riding in this conditions. In the second race, we used the softer rain tyre and the bike changed completely. But the difference was so big that it took me some laps to get used to it. After such a difficult weekend, with mechanical issues and two crashes, this sixth place is a reward for everybody in the team. I want to thank my team for their support during the weekend, because they react quickly to the problems and they push me to keep my motivation high.”
Michele Pirro - DNF
“This weekend was really difficult for me, I think one of the hardest of my career. But this is racing. I fell sorry for the team, because we had the chance to fight for the seventh place in the second race, but I crashed. I had no warning and the limit was so narrow that I couldn’t save it. I feel bad for the team because today we could have achieved a good result. These two races were a great experience for me, but to be honest I hoped to get better results. Thanks to Avintia for this opportunity, I hope it will go better next time.”
ASSEN DOWNPOURS RUINS CRUTCHLOW’S RACE
The MotoGP World Championship saw one of it’s most bizarre days of racing at the historic TT Assen, as biblical downpours brought out the red flag in the middle of the 26-lap race, meaning a shortened 12-lap event would decide the winner.
Having started on row two, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was making excellent progress despite the heavy rain which was falling around the track, rapidly closing down the leaders, with a sequence of fast laps before the stoppage.
He restarted the second race from seventh place, and having fitted a softer rear wet to his bike was hopeful of a good result. However, the extra grip meant he was pushing the front end too much, which was ultimately his downfall as he slid out of the race, but the Briton was thankfully unharmed.
The race was eventually won in stylish fashion by former LCR Honda rider Jack Miller.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – DNF
“I’m not happy as you can imagine. Everything in a race like today is going to be an if, but or a maybe, but I felt great in the first part of the race. The tyre wasn’t working properly at the start and I was struggling to get heat into it, but then as soon as it started to dry I was the fastest man on the circuit. I feel I would have won the race. Then it started raining again and it was a disaster.”
“In the restart I chose the softer tyre and crashed out, simply because I had too much grip in the rear tyre. I had no experience on the tyre apart from in the qualifying session yesterday, and the conditions were so different. I got caught out with a cold front tyre, and honestly I am so disappointed.”
“Take nothing away from the guys on the podium, especially Jack, but I felt there was an opportunity to finish the race on the podium and maybe win it. Jack took that chance, and I’m really pleased for him. If there was anyone else on the grid I’d want to win apart from myself, and it would be him.”
Hernández's podium dream denied in the rain
Sunday, 26 June 2016 15:16
Aspar Team rider leads first part of a split race but his hopes are dashed by a crash. Laverty takes creditable seventh to move back into championship top ten
The Dutch TT was dominated by the rain today, with a downpour around an hour before the start of the race and another one after fourteen laps, which saw the race red-flagged and restarted for a twelve-lap sprint. The star of the first part of the race was Aspar Team rider Yonny Hernández, who looked on course for a potential victory until he crashed after nine laps. Once the action had been stopped and restarted it was Jack Miller who took the surprise win, with Marc Márquez and Scott Redding joining him on the podium. A crash for Valentino Rossi and tenth place for Jorge Lorenzo have helped Márquez move clear at the top of the standings as the season reaches the halfway point with the next race at Sachsenring in three weeks' time.
It was a bittersweet afternoon for the Aspar Team, with Yonny Hernández following up his superb qualifying position of sixth by leading a MotoGP race for the first time over nine exciting laps before his crash. Hernández did manage to rejoin the race on his second bike but crashed again just a minute and twenty seconds before it was stopped, leaving him unable to restart. From that point the team's hopes rested on the shoulders of Eugene Laverty, who himself had started from pit-lane after a crash on the sighting lap. The Irishman was cut adrift from the back of the pack until the red flag appeared, which gave him the chance to make a fresh start and fight his way through to a creditable seventh place. Nine valuable points from a dramatic Dutch TT move Laverty back into the top ten in the championship.
7th Eugene Laverty: "I rode so slowly on the sighting lap because I didn't want to be the idiot that crashed... but I did! The tyre just felt like ice, it was so slippery. I had to run back for the other bike but I didn't think it was too bad because starting from the back of the grid was not too far from where we qualified. Then when I arrived at the end of pit-lane I could feel there was a problem with the front brake, which was stuck. That was why I struggled so much at the start of the race and dropped so far back. The second part of the race was good, I made a really good start and made up a lot of positions but from lap two to around lap six I kept losing the front, I almost crashed so many times and with so many other riders crashing out around me I had to be really careful. Over the last five laps the front tyre started to come better again and I was able to go really fast, we just ran out of time to catch the guys in front. Seventh place after so much drama is a good result."
Yonny Hernández (DNF): “I felt sure I could win the race, I didn't feel like I was on the limit and thought I had everything under control. However, I felt the front tuck a little and even though I tried to save it on my knee it wasn't to be. It is a shame because our main objective today was to finish the race and we didn't manage it. It was a great race for us up to that point, I am happy that I have led nine laps of a MotoGP World Championship race. Hopefully I get another opportunity like this and don't make the same mistake again.”
MILLER TAKES MAIDEN VICTORY AFTER MONSOON TYPE RAIN DISRUPTS ASSEN
Michelin saw its rain tyres used in competitive action for the first time this season as Australian Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took his inaugural MotoGP™ win in treacherous conditions during the Dutch TT at Assen in the Netherlands today.
Due to a heavy rainstorm that swept over the 4,452m circuit shortly before the start of the 26-lap race, all riders started the event with MICHELIN Power Rain tyres. From the beginning the race became an intense battle with the lead changing hands, before the skies opened and the track was deluged with water, giving race direction no other option than to red flag the event due to the adverse weather conditions after 14-laps.
This forced a re-start to be scheduled which would be just a 12-lap race in length. Fortunately the rain subsided and the event got underway on a wet track, but without any further precipitation. With every rider on the soft front and rear version of the Power Rain tyres, the grid reformed in the positions that the racers had finished in the previous aborted race, giving a front-row start to Andrea Dovizioso in pole-position for the Ducati Team, Danilo Petrucci on the OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati in second and Valentino Rossi on his Movistar Yamaha in third, Miller started from the third row in eighth position. Dovizioso led off the line, but was soon passed by Rossi as the Italian set about securing another victory at Assen. This unfortunately didn’t go to plan, as the Yamaha-man crashed while in the lead on lap-three. This handed first place to championship–leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), but his lead only lasted for one-lap before he was passed by the hard-charging, but smooth, Miller. The 21-year-old Australian on-board a Honda then took control of the race and never looked like surrendering the lead, as he crossed the finish line with an almost two-second advantage.
This year’s Dutch TT was held on a Sunday for the first time in its history and despite the torrential rain the huge crowd of 105,000 – the largest race-day attendance of the season so far – were treated to an exciting and incident packed race. Miller also took the accolade for the First Independent Rider and became the first non-Factory racer to win a premier class event since 2006. Marquez took second in the race, with Scott Redding (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) filling the final podium position after an exciting battle with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espagaro, which saw the Englishman get the better of the Yamaha rider as the race drew to a close. Andrea Iannone of the Ducati Team took fifth, with Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) sixth and Eugene Laverty (Aspar Team MotoGP) in seventh completing a trio of Ducatis to cross the line in quick succession. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Stefan Bradl was eighth, with Maverick Viñales the first Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider in ninth. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo of Movistar Yamaha took the final top-ten position.
Prior to today’s wet proceeding the MICHELIN Power Slicks had worked well throughout the weekend and had given the riders plenty of grip and feedback during the first three free practice sessions, before the rain also intervened in yesterday’s FP4 and qualifying. The data obtained during this weekend’s various wet sessions and the two versions of today’s race will prove invaluable for the Michelin technicians as the season continues, as will all the information gathered in the dry.
The MotoGP paddock will now cross the Dutch border and head to Sachsenring in Germany for the ninth round of this season’s championship, scheduled to be held on Sunday 17th July.
Jack Miller – Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS:
“It was an amazing day today and a very special race! We had two races, so it almost felt like World Superbike day. We haven’t had much wet track time this year so it was nice to get some feedback from the Michelin tyres and how they were working, and how the bike worked with the tyres. Yesterday I had two little crashes, but that was to do with not setting the bike up right for the different tyre. We adapted our bike around it and changed the set-up for today. After the first race we made some more changes to get it ready for the re-start and it was even better and the tyres worked very good for me in the race. I think with more time we can take things further with the Michelin tyres.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“This is the first time we have used the wet tyres in a race and in the first event – that unfortunately was red-flagged – they performed very well. All the riders had time yesterday to try them and adapt the set-up accordingly, so the race went trouble free, despite the almost impossible conditions with lots of water on the track. The second race was completely different, because with the shortened distance many riders were going much harder and as they pushed so hard some made mistakes, but Miller rode a great race and I was very impressed with how smooth he was on the bike and he thoroughly deserved his victory, so congratulations to him.
“In the dry on Friday and Saturday we were very pleased with the performance of the tyres and if the conditions had been different today I am sure we would have seen the race produce a fast pace, but the weather intervened so we will never know. We have learned a lot from this circuit, certainly about the wets and we will act on all the data to make sure we continue to supply the riders with the best tyres for all conditions and carry on evolving.”
Motul TT Assen
REDDING REVELS IN THE ASSEN RAIN
Scott Redding positively reveled in the rain to grab just his second ever MotoGP™ podium in the 12 lap re-started race at the Motul Dutch TT this afternoon. The Gloucestershire Octo Pramac Ducati rider battled with his old Moto2™ adversary Pol Espargaro to grab third place on the soaking 2.822 miles Assen circuit. Irishman Eugene Laverty continued his great season by taking seventh on the Aspar Ducati but it was not such a good day for Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith. Both crashed in the second race although Smith remounted to claim some welcome points in 13th place.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes had to fight for his fourth place in the shortened Moto2™ race because of the rain. The Federal Oil Gresini Kalex rider eventually finished fourth and is now third in the Championship just five points behind reigning World Champion and championship leader Johann Zarco. Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent picked up some welcome Moto2 points in 14th place. There was no such luck in Moto3™, Scotsman John McPhee finished just out of the points in 16th place with Danny Webb on his return to grand prix racing 22nd.
Miller walks on water for miraculous first win
With the track soaked, the rain eased and riders headed out onto the grid with wets fitted. The lights went out with riders knowing a flag-to-flag race was likely, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) grabbing the lead out of the first corner as they tiptoed around the first corners.
Once he had the lead Rossi didn’t look back, opening up almost a second advantage on everyone but Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) on the first lap. But soon the wild Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Team MotoGP) was past him.
Riders looked set to consider a change to intermediate or dry tyres but then the rain returned with a vengeance. Dovizioso was able to catch up to Rossi once again. The rain only got heavier and allowed Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) to join the battle for victory, Yonny Hernandez’s fall turning their battle into one for victory. But then with 12 laps to go the rain was ruled to be too severe and the red flag was brought out due to the weather conditions.
Not long after the race was restarted, run over 12 laps. The grid was based on the finishing positions on lap 14. As such Dovizioso lined up on pole with Petrucci and Rossi completing the front row.
Andrea Dovizioso, who had led the restart, lost the front end as he attempted to stay with Rossi. This granted Rossi a comfortable lead until he crashed out at Turn 10 a lap later. This is Rossi's third DNF of the 2016 season.
Known for his ability in the wet, Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) made steady progress off the line and soon found himself in second behind Marquez. Miller seized his chance and took the lead of the race at the final chicane on lap four. Marquez tried to close down the Australian but Miller kept his cool. Miller’s victory is the first MotoGP™ win by an Australian since Casey Stoner’s final victory in Phillip Island in 2012. He also becomes the first rider on a non-factory bike to win a race since Toni Elias won the infamous Portuguese GP in 2006.
Marquez settled for second place, extending his championship lead over both Lorenzo and Rossi by a significant margin.
The battle for third was one of the closest on track, Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Redding finding themselves in podium contention due to the falls ahead. Redding muscled his way past his former Moto2™ rival to return to the podium for the first time since Misano in 2015.
Iannone managed to take fifth place ahead of Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP). Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jorge Lorenzo completed the top ten. Lorenzo had a terrible time in both races, the 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship unable to find any speed in the wet.
Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and Bradley Smith all finished the race, everyone who remained upright scoring points.
Measured Nakagami breaks Japan’s winless drought
Fears of rain were briefly put to bed as the Moto2™ World Championship race at the Motul TT Assen lined up on the grid. The 24-lap race began with a lightning start from pole setter Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), who seized the lead immediately and Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) slide into second. Rain clouds threatened throughout the race.
Having led Warm Up, Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) carried his pace through to the race and was inside the top five from the moment the lights went out. The top five were close and on lap six the Japanese star passed Luthi for second and attempted to close in on Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) who had taken an early lead. On lap nine he went up the inside of the Italian and took control of the race. Two laps from the end the red flag was brought out due to rain, cementing Japan’s return to the top step. This is Nakagami's first win in the World Championship.
After the first five laps it looked as though Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) would be out of contention for victory, the French rider struggling to find his pace early in the race. But once he found his pace he flew, jumping into the podium battle on the tenth lap. Second sees Zarco right back in championship contention as joint leader.
From fifth on the grid, Franco Morbidelli held his position in the early laps, getting past Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami with relative ease. He held first place for some time but was eventually passed by Nakagami, the Italian focusing on his own race to secure third, only his second podium finish.
Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was fast right away and immediately found himself in contention. His pace improved towards the end and he challenged Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) for fourth. This result sees him only five points off the championship lead.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) would eventually cross the line fifth, just ahead of Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40).
Historic day for Bagnaia and Mahindra at The Cathedral
For the 800th time the lightweight class championship lined up on the grid, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) on pole. The Motul TT Assen was declared dry, but dark clouds began to blot out the sun as the lights went out. Away they went, Bastianini and Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) flying off the line.
Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) had a steady first lap and hit the lead on lap two. It was a cut and thrust battle for most of the 22 lap race, no one able to gain any sort of advantage. He timed his move to perfection, expertly navigating the final chicane to carry enough speed to take a photo finish victory. Not only was it his first win on the world stage, but also Mahindra's who have now broken Honda and KTM's domination of the lightweight class.
Having only scored his first points in Mugello, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) the Italian was once more involved in the podium battle. There was little room for tactics, Di Giannantonio doing all he could to hang on until the last lap. In true Assen style it was all about the run through the chicane, his Honda pushing him to third, 0.021s off victory. After the race Migno was demoted to third, promoting Di Giannantonio to second.
On lap nine of the race Migno put in an aggressive move to lead the race, having spent the opening portion of the Motul TT Assen just outside the top three. Binder attacked him but the Italian responded, able to hold his own against the championship leader. On the last lap he made an incredible move through Hoge Heide and the Ramshoek, coming from fifth to lead into the chicane. 0.018s separated him from his first win, making his podium debut with second. But after the race it was ruled that Migno had made an illegal overtake and was thus demoted to third.
Despite a strong start to the race, Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) was unable to make it happen on the last lap. The Italian was squeezed out coming into the final chicane and forced to settle for fourth, despite having led at multiple stages in the race. He’s now 58-points back on Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) left his charge till late in the race, leading as the final lap began but like Fenati found himself unable to progress at the chicane. Fifth is his best result since Mugello.