Press releases from the teams and Michelin after a scintillating race at Assen:
Rossi Rallies to an Astonishing Win in Assen
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Teams Valentino Rossi brought his A game to the Motul TT Assen race today. The nine-time World Champion completed a challenging weekend due to mixed conditions with a superb win, giving him the longest winning career through all classes, spread over 20 years and 313 days. Teammate Maverick Viñales fought his way up from eleventh on the grid and was heading towards the leading group, but his efforts ended in a DNF after an unlucky fall.
Rossi kicked off the Dutch Grand Prix from fourth position as darker skies loomed. He quickly slotted in behind Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez in third place and was quick to respond as his rivals attempted to break away, setting a provisional fastest lap of the race on lap three and four, with Danilo Petrucci tagging along. The Doctor piled on the pressure with 17 laps to go and overtook Marquez a lap later in the first corner, making the fans cheer. He duplicated this manoeuvre on the next lap to take over the lead from Zarco, which was followed by a touch between the two in turn 4, but the Italian kept the lead. Four laps later the Factory Yamaha man inched away as his pursuers battled for second place. The Doctor increased his lead to about a second, but with 8 laps left white flags came out as rain started to fall. Rossi was forced to lower his pace, allowing his rivals to close up. Adrenaline levels reached an all-time high for the VR46 fans as their hero fought tooth and nail to hold off his rival. Petrucci passed him with five laps to go, but the nine-time World Champion wasnt going to let the win slip away that easily. A lap later he used his nimble Yamaha YZR-M1 to charge past his compatriot in the chicane to regain the lead. The last laps were filled with drama as the pair had to deal with backmarkers, but Rossi held firm, taking a sensational win with a 0.063s advantage.
It was a busy race for teammate Viñales. Starting from eleventh on the grid he flew off the line and made his way through the first lap settling into tenth place. He took a couple of laps to get his tyres up to temperature at the cool Assen track, before he heated up his pace and started to carve through the bunched-up pack of riders.
The Spaniard put his head down and hit the front of the group fighting for fifth place with 16 laps left and was making strides, until a crash in the chicane prematurely ended his quest.
Today's results see Rossi move up to third place in the championship standings with a 108-point total. He is now three points behind his teammate Viñales in second place. The sensational win sees Yamaha hold the lead in the constructor championship with a 22-point margin and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP remain the leaders in the team standings by 28 points as they move on to Germany for the next round at Sachsenring in one week's time.
Position: 1st - Championship: 3rd - Points: 108
Im so happy, and for different reasons, because its a very important victory for the championship, but especially the feeling of coming back to the number one spot after one year is fantastic. Sincerely, I race with motorcycles for this feeling: for what I feel in the five or six final laps of the race. Thats always great and especially after a year without a victory. It was a great race and a great battle with Petrucci and everybody else. Im also happy from a technical point of view, because we worked a lot on the bike and we changed the chassis and now I feel like I can ride the bike more in my own manner, in a better way. Everything is open and this year we discovered that, from one track to the other, the situation can change a lot. We have to wait for next week and try to be competitive also at the Sachsenring.
Position: DNF - Championship: 2nd - Points: 111
I cant explain what happened, because I dont even know why I crashed. I passed there 2000 times, but today was the day. I was pushing myself over the limit, trying to bring the Yamaha to the top and I think that if I hadnt crashed I could have reached the riders in front, because our pace was very fast. We need to learn that in qualifying the minimum you have to do is sixth or fifth, so I know that the mistake was made yesterday, not today. I was feeling great on the bike today. I was trying to maintain the tyres on a good level and preparing an attack on the last ten laps. I was riding in a good way and really smoothly on the entire track and I felt much stronger than the other riders, I was trying my best. This crash is something we cant explain, we can only learn from it, especially concerning qualifying. I knew this morning it was going to be tricky and tried my best: it was everything or nothing and finally I got nothing. We have to go for it the next couple of races and we expect something different.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
What a drama-filled and exciting race! Vale is always a rider to watch in Assen and this year he again made good on the promise. He really deserved the victory today and claimed his first win of the season with an amazing battle in extremely difficult conditions. There was no better way to come back from a challenging weekend in Catalunya. Maverick was looking to recover from a not so easy starting position and when he moved up to fifth place and started to really push, he suffered an unlucky crash in turn 17. It was a pity to see his race end the way it did, considering his potential. After all the emotions today, we have a few days to recover before we head to the Grand Prix in Germany, held in just a weeks time. The track had been resurfaced and slightly modified, so we are eager to get work started there.
Marquez scores momentous podium in Assen, tough race for Pedrosa
Marc Marquez took a crucial third place at TT Assen that, along with Viñales’s DNF today, reduced his gap from the top of an incredibly close Championship classification to just 11 points, despite currently being in fourth place behind Dovizioso, Viñales and Rossi.
Changing weather played a tricky role again today, when a light rain started to fall seven laps from the end of the race. Marc managed the situation prudently and, having fought within the top three from the start of the race, in the final two laps held off all the attacks from fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who was charging from the back.
The 94th podium of Marc’s career is also the 400th for the Repsol Honda Team.
After starting from row four on the grid, Dani Pedrosa was able to advance to eighth place, lapping on almost the same rhythm as the front riders, but he struggled to keep temperature in the tyres when the rain started and ultimately dropped to 13th position. Nonetheless, his championship position did not suffer greatly, as he now lies in fifth, just 28 points off the top.
The Repsol Honda Team now move to the Sachsenring for round 9 of the Championship next Sunday.
"I’m very happy with the podium and with our race, as we were competitive enough in the dry at this track, which isn’t one of the best for us. Of course conditions were quite tricky and in this kind of situation you can lose or gain many points. I opted for the ‘safe’ option, more or less. Maybe I would have been able to try and fight for the victory, but honestly I had some warnings and thought it too dangerous for the Championship, so I decided to be consistent in the race and to push hard at the end. I paid close attention as it was hard to understand where the limit was, but in the end I was able to manage well. We’re just 11 points down on the lead and that’s important, no matter the fourth position. Now we go to some circuits that could be better for us, so let’s keep working hard and see what happens."
"Today the race was very difficult as I didn't have a great start and I didn’t recover the positions I hoped to. I found myself quite a distance behind, despite the fact that I was able to lap well enough compared with the guys at the front. Later, when the rain arrived, I slowed down a little bit and immediately started losing temperature in the tyres. I know that I’m very sensible in these kinds of situations and that next time I need to manage that better. I have to find a way to maintain the temperature in the slicks because when they get cold it becomes very difficult to get back on the rhythm and regain confidence. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to manage it better this weekend. The positive points are that I could make some good lap times early in the race and that I lost just one point on the leader in the Championship standings."
Andrea Dovizioso moves into the lead of the MotoGP championship standings after finishing fifth in the Dutch TT at Assen. Jorge Lorenzo finishes in fifteenth place after changing bikes in a flag-to-flag race
Andrea Dovizioso produced another great performance today in the Dutch TT race at Assen to move to the top of the MotoGP championship standings. The Ducati Team’s Italian rider, who started from row 3 after qualifying ninth on Saturday, finished today’s eight round in fifth place as the half-way point of the season approaches. The last time a Ducati rider led the world championship table was the 2009 Italian Grand Prix with Casey Stoner.
After finishing the opening lap in seventh place, Dovizioso began a thrilling come-back which took him up to second on lap 21, when light rain began to fall on the Dutch circuit. After a terrific scrap with Rossi and Petrucci, who eventually finished first and second, the Italian rider was caught first by Marquez and then by Crutchlow and he finished his race in fifth without wishing to jeopardize his championship lead, especially in view of the tricky track surface conditions.
It was a difficult race for Jorge Lorenzo after the Spanish rider started from the seventh row. After moving up the field into twelfth by lap 18, Lorenzo then lost a couple of places in the next few laps when it started to rain and he opted to return to the pits for a bike change on lap 21, finishing the race in 15th place.
Thanks to Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Racing Team) finishing runner-up in today’s race, Ducati has now moved up to second place in the Constructors’ standings, one point ahead of Honda.
The next round of the championship is the German Grand Prix on Sunday at the Sachsenring circuit.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 3rd
“Today’s race was a very difficult one and having to start from row 3 complicated things a bit. At the start I wasn’t able to be very smooth and I lost touch with the leading group, but I remained focussed to see where I could recover and when Viñales crashed in front of me, I pushed hard to get back up with the leading group. At that moment I was the quickest on the track and this is a good sign for our bike. When I came up on the leaders it started to rain but you couldn’t really see where the track was dry and where it wasn’t. For this reason I didn’t want to take any risks and I tried to finish the race in the best possible way to score some valuable points for the championship. We go back home in the lead of the table and it’s a new emotion for me because I’ve never been in the lead of MotoGP. I want to thank all my team because this weekend we again worked really well and despite the constantly changeable weather conditions, we made the right decisions, we stayed calm and in this end it all paid off.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 15th
“Today I experienced a race like the ones in 2014 or 2016: unfortunately with these changeable weather conditions I’m just not able to be fast. When it began to rain I thought that the situation was going to get worse and I decided to return to the pits to change my bike and go back out again on rain tyres. The rain actually didn’t increase and I had to settle for fifteenth place. Unfortunately we are still missing half a second a lap to be able to stay with the leading group, so now we have to turn the page as soon as possible and look ahead.”
VALUABLE POINTS AND IMPROVEMENTS FOR IANNONE IN ASSEN
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 25.
Andrea Iannone: 9th - +37.166
Alex Rins: 17th – 1 lap
A positive, encouraging race saw Team SUZUKI ECSTAR make progress at the GP of the Netherlands. Andrea Iannone ended his race in 9th position, while Alex Rins crossed the finish line in 17th, but their place at the finish line was not the whole story for the Team.
Andrea Iannone was fighting with renewed vigour at the beginning of the race, feeling confident aboard the GSX-RR and battling it out again with top riders. Then the wear on the tyres began affecting his feel with the bike, unfortunately preventing him from continuing his advance, but the feedback gave important information to the engineers.
Alex Rins came back after injury for what may be considered his second race of the season. His primary objective was to get the feeling back with the GSX-RR during the MotoGP racing weekend, and the outcome was very positive, as confirmed by the data. His performance in the first part of the race was solid and fast, with a good pace, and he was able deal with all kinds of conditions throughout the weekend, which is beneficial for his development in MotoGP.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
We cannot call ourselves satisfied by finishing the race in 9th and 17th, but compared to the previous race, today leaves us feeling very positive. Andrea made every effort, according to the situation, and we can clearly see what our problem is. When we have grip we are very good, but when it drops down it begins to affect the performance of the bike too much. This was an excellent race for development. Thank you Andrea. Alex unfortunately couldn't get into points, but this race was an experience for him. Today presented a very difficult situation with the flag to flag and he made important progress.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“At the end of the day my evaluation for this race is that it’s been a positive one, especially at this moment for us. We were able to witness Andrea being very competitive during the early laps; he made a good start and gained positions from the very beginning. He then fought and attacked. Then, in the second half, he struggled more; with the drop in tyre pressure, his feeling with the GSX-RR became worse and the lap time increased. There are still many things we can improve but we see that we have a good base, and importantly that when he feels confident, he can be fast. We’re happy as well for the first half of the race with Alex Rins. In dry conditions his lap time wasn’t bad at all. Despite having a bad start he found a good pace and was able to recover some positions. He also tried to swap the bike when it started raining. It was a bet that didn´t play out well, but at least he gained a lot of experience in this, what I would call, his second race of the year. He was good on dry, wise on wet, always had a good pace… we can look forward to the next GP of Germany with positivity.”
“The first part of the race was very positive, I jumped from the 16th place which was not easy, but I managed to recover and get into the top 10. I had a good rhythm, very close to the top. Then we had some problems with the grip. When tyres drop, the GSX-RR dramatically changes its behaviour, and I couldn’t be as effective as I wanted. We have to learn how to better manage these situations and keep closer to our competitors.”
"I’m happy about this race. It’s positive that at the end of this weekend I was able to experience all of these different conditions: dry, then wet, and also the flag to flag. The start of the race was not a good one, and I struggled to find the pace, but then I managed to get more confident and I could overtake and recover. When it started to rain I took a risk in swapping the bike, because I was already feeling less than comfortable, and I thought it would rain more heavily. That didn’t happen, so the result was that I lost time, but this also means more experience for me. I’m sorry for the final lap. What happened was that I didn’t see the blue flags, and my position was a bother to Petrucci, so I apologise to him.”
THE APRILIA RS-GP CONFIRMS GREAT POTENTIAL IN HOLLAND
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ IS BACK IN THE TOP TEN IN A RACE RUINED BY THE RAIN. CRASH FOR SAM LOWES
ALBESIANO: “WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO STAY IN THE TOP FIVE”
Aleix Espargaró is back in the points, finishing tenth in the Assen GP. This is certainly a positive result that ends Aleix's streak of zero point finishes, but the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Spaniard's race should have ended with a much different result.
Just after the mid-race point, the Espargaró-Aprilia package demonstrated its full potential. After a cautious start without forcing his pace too much, Aleix moved up from fifteenth to seventh, joining Crutchlow's group. An even more significant statistic is that during that part of the race (16th and 17th laps) he had lapped with the second best time and his gap behind the leader was less than seven seconds. In short, all the conditions were right for an excellent race finale, on the hunt for a top-five finish. Instead, raindrops began to fall and the altered grip conditions (Aleix had the hard tyre on the rear) ruined his pace completely. Aleix dropped back position by position to the end, in any case managing to defend a top-ten finish.
Notwithstanding, the Aprilia RS-GP confirmed once again in this race that a top-five finish is definitely within reach of a project which has made clear progress in terms of performance over recent months.
Sam Lowes, who had started from the fourth row for the first time thanks to outstanding qualifiers, crashed out in the ninth lap while lying fifteenth. There were no consequences for him and he can take comfort in a weekend where he demonstrated the biggest improvement of his rookie year in MotoGP.
"I cannot be entirely satisfied because our goal is still to be closer to the leaders. The race had started well. I managed the first part, successfully overtaking a lot of riders and maintaining a good pace. A few laps before the rain I had begun to visibly recover ground. The RS-GP was really working well and I was closing the gap quickly. Unfortunately, I did not have a good feeling on the damp track and I was unable to push. Today we demonstrated once again that we can be very competitive, but the weather got in the way."
"It was a difficult race for everyone. We had ridden on the dry track only on Friday and the track changed completely. I was in a good group. When Lorenzo overtook me I felt like I could stay with him and set my sights on a good position. I battled a bit with Baz. I was faster than him in some situations, but we overtook one another on practically every lap. I crashed as I was opening up the throttle. Maybe I was a bit too close to the white line, but this weekend I definitely took a step forward. I am pleased that there will be a race in a few days because we are on a positive trend."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"Once again we expressed potential that is clearly worthy of the top-five which did not bear the deserved fruits due to a contingent situation. As long as the race proceeded in normal, dry track conditions, performance was very high. When it began to rain after the mid-race point, Aleix was just over six seconds from the leader. He had caught up to the group ahead of him without pushing too hard and he had a better pace than they did. Realistically, he could have aimed for the top-five. The level that Aprilia has achieved is a clear fact by now. We will keep going strong because if our potential is at these levels, we will soon be reaping the results.”
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"With the dry track we rode a fantastic race. Aleix maintained a spectacular pace. He moved up through the ranks easily and was lapping with the same pace as the leaders. Those raindrops ruined the final result, but there are many reasons to be confident and even pleased to have finished the race in the top-ten anyway. These are points that boost morale after our recent DNFs. We draw confidence from the knowledge that we are close to the leaders in terms of performance and that is what we are taking away from this race.”
KTM's best MotoGP result from Espargaro; Oliveira 4th in Moto2, Bendsneyder unlucky
RACE 8th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – TT Circuit Assen (NED)
As the half way point of 2017 season approaches, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team took their best ever MotoGP finish today in Assen, Holland with Spaniard Pol Espargaro clinching 11th place while Bradley Smith crashed out at halfway mark of the race. Miguel Oliveira finished fourth in Moto2 to keep same postion in the championship standings, his team-mate at Red Bull KTM Ajo, Dutchman Bo Bendsneyder, was extremley unlucky just 20 metres from the finish line when he was touched by another rider causing him to crash out from a possible top 5 finish, therefore Marcos Ramirez on 6th place was the top KTM rider.
As the half way point of 2017 season approaches, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team took their best ever MotoGP finish today in Assen, Holland after a dramatic race where mixed conditions and bravery were the order of the day resulting in Spaniard Pol Espargaro clinching 11th place as the team chips away step by step at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing.
The race started under grey skies that turned to drizzle and light rain nearly half way though, leading to some riders entering the pits and change motorcycles for ones with wet tyres. However, the crossover point of the wet tyres to be an advantage never happened so Espargaro, who didn't stop, bravely threaded his way over a slightly damp track on slick tyres to gain the best points scoop so far for the Austrian manufacturer. Team mate Bradley Smith made a fantastic start only to be unlucky in running wide and falling off just before the rain fell. He was desperately disappointed but fortunately didn't get any injury.
The KTM RC16 motorcycles had further development after the last race in Barcelona following a three day test in Spain resulting in data and hardware applied even if wet weather thwarted further confirmation of those tests at Assen. Now the team's focus is already upon the German Grand Prix weekend at the Sachsenring in seven days time, the fourth race in five weeks.
Espargaro: "It was a typical Assen race as after ten laps some rain spots came down, but at the start in the dry I felt quite alright as we were about a second a lap off the top guys so it's the best race we've done in dry conditions...so maybe we were going to finish about 35 seconds back (if it was dry to the end). This is important and very positive for us so I'm pretty happy, but we still need to continue working on the problems we know we have over the next races and tests. Overall though, it's great to get KTM's best MotoGP result, something I am very proud of as the guys here at the track and in Austria are working so hard."
Smith: "I'm OK but just a little bit frustrated after I made a good start. In fact I felt pretty good and was in front of the group that was fighting for the top 8 but then they edged ahead as I had a new set up for this race, but I found my rhythm and got back into some low 1m 37s laps. However, later on I ran into turn seven a little bit too fast and tucked the front... I'm really sorry for the team and my crew as it's quite frustrating that this has happened today but we'll regroup and improve the motorcycle for Sachsenring next weekend."
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): "I call today typical Assen. This is what happens here! You think everything is done and then...it's Assen. Maybe this is a reason why we choose soft/soft tyres but when the rain came some of the riders took the risk and some not so much, so I'm very happy that Pol made the correct decision. He did his max out there but for KTM it is the best result we have achieved in MotoGP and this is in the book. It's another step. For Bradley it's unlucky as he put so much effort into his recovery from Barcelona to here, especially at the beginning of the race he was in a great group, but he was there...then he ran wide and fell. At least he is OK after this so now he'll be back at the Sachsenring and stronger with it too."
Fantastic race by Petrux that ended only a heartbeat away from victory at #DutchGP. Scott crashed in the last lap while he was in P7
"It wasn’t a one off!"
Danilo Petrucci is on fire. Following the podium at Mugello and the great race in Barcellona, at the Cathedral of Speed he was protagonist of a stunning race. A good sunday also for Scott Redding, even if a crash in the last lap didn’t allow him to take home a precious seventh place.
Petrux started well from the front row, and was immediately in the leading group with Zarco, Rossi and Marquez. The race pace was awesome and the third position came during lap 11 when he was able to overtake Zarco. Four laps later he attacked Marquez for the second position. A few drops of rain begin eight laps before the end of the race however the leading group remained on the track. Seven laps from the end also Dovizioso was able to catch the leading group and the fight was epic. Petrux came out victorious and remained attached to Rossi in order to take the lead of the race 4 lap from the end. Petrux was also ready for a new attack on the last lap, but Rins and Barbera (along with the absence of blue flags) did not allow him to find the right condition to overtake Valentino. Petrux ended second only at 63 thousands of a second from Vale. We will try again in Germany Petrux!
Also Scott started very well, leading the group behind the leaders with a significant race pace. This was highlighted by the fastest lap in the tenth lap, and by the impression that could join the leading group. Suddenly Scott started to experience lack of front-grip from lap 9. On lap 13 he is in P11 but manages to remain focus. When the rain starts to drop he decides to remain on track. And this is the right decision as he start the last lap in P7. Unfortunately Scott lost the front and was not able to bring back home a precious 7th place.
2nd – Danilo Petrucci
"It's a great result. I am very happy for this P2 although I have to admit that for a long time I had the taste of victory in my mouth. I was convinced I could pass Valentino in the last lap. Everything was set for the overtake but unfortunately I struggled to pass Rins and Barberà who were lapped. It’s a pity. I am sure, however, that tomorrow morning I will realize what we did: a great weekend. And to be honest I can not wait to be in Germany. I want to win!".
DNF – Scott Redding
"Following a very good start, in the first few laps the race pace was excellent. Then I started to lose feeling especially with the front tire that started suddenly to drop. When it started to rain I thought things could improve but I did not find the benefits I expected. I'm so sorry for the crash in the last lap, but I have to admit it was a good weekend, especially after the big problem we experienced on Friday".
CRUTCHLOW CLINCHES FOURTH FOLLOWING FINE RIDE AT ASSEN
PRESS RELEASE: 25 June 2017 | Assen Grand Prix
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow produced a superb performance at the Dutch Grand Prix to claim fourth place after a thrilling finale at Assen. The Briton held his nerve after a disappointing start and fought his way back to ensure he was contesting the podium places by the time rain started to fall over the closing laps of the race.
Having started from eighth on the grid, Crutchlow got away slowly but found some incredible pace as the race headed to its climax. Having passed Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso to take fourth spot on the penultimate lap, the LCR man then showed his class to move past Marc Marquez and into a podium position. However, the three-time world champion hit back at the second to last corner to retake third, leaving Crutchlow to settle for a fine fourth place after a memorable battle.
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi claimed victory with fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci second on his Ducati.
Cal Crutchlow – 4th
"I’m pleased to finish and pleased to finish fourth. I was a little disappointed with my pace in the middle of the race, I had some sort of problem with my front tyre and I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. But I still thought we were on for a good result and kept battling.
“I got a bad start and that really hindered me, as well as not starting from the front rows. I think that really cost me the podium or even the chance to fight for the win because the pace was not drastically fast. After it started to rain I kept a cool head, but I made a mistake by showing Marc (Marquez) and (Andrea Dovizioso) Dovi my hand, I went too early and should have passed them on the last lap. As it was, Marc just followed me and passed me on the second to last corner and there was nothing I could do.
“But it was a great fight, I really enjoyed it and credit to the podium guys.”
Miller scores superb sixth place in Dutch TT
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller scored his best result of the season so far with a superbly judged ride into sixth place in today’s Dutch TT.
In tricky, low grip conditions with a late race rain shower Miller stayed calm and played a waiting game in his controlled charge from 13th on the gird.
The performance shows that Miller is back to the form that produced a string of top ten results in the opening races of the season.
Despite falling back to15th place in the traffic of a frantic opening lap, Miller did not panic as he engaged fellow Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow in a mid-race battle for tenth.
The Australian’s patience and wet track skills were rewarded on lap 20 when he moved into sixth place as rain showers swept across the 4.5km Assen circuit.
Miller elected not to take the option of a pit stop for a bike swap and wet weather tyres, the same strategy employed by race winner Valentino Rossi.
Spanish rider Tito Rabat finished a tough weekend on a positive note with a controlled ride into 12th place, after starting in last place on the 23-rider grid.
Rabat finished just 0.7s behind KTM rival Pol Espargaro and ahead of factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.
A huge crowd of 105,000 was in attendance for the eighth round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Jack Miller: 6th
“The first lap was not good, from my grid position I got stuck on the outside through all the right hand corners and lost time, but once the group flattened out I got up to tenth in a group with Dani and Cal. I was a having nice fight with Dani and then the rain came. I kept my pace to keep temperature in the slick tyres and pushed through to sixth. With more risks I might have been able to challenge for the podium but I wanted the points, this was a good result for me. I never thought about changing bikes, there wasn’t enough rain for wet weather tyres.”
Tito Rabat: 12th
“This was one of the most difficult weekends of the season for me as I did not have a good feeling in the cold and wet conditions. But for the race we made some important set-up changes and I was able score points, I am happy for this 12th place. When the rain came I thought to stop and change bikes but then realised it was not raining very hard so I stayed out but it was not an easy decision. Towards the end I was catching Pol Espargaro and I thought I may have a chance to pass him at the final chicane but it didn’t happen.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Jack again showed his potential with sixth place in conditions that made it easy to make a mistake. He showed a lot skill to stay out in the rain and not change bikes and have the pace to finish sixth. It was not an easy weekend for Tito and I am very happy he got some points so he could take something positive out of this race with 12th position.”
Brilliant Abraham takes seventh in Assen
Sunday, 25 June 2017 13:59
Pull&Bear Aspar rider equals his best result in MotoGP. Álvaro Bautista crashes out when riding in sixth
The Dutch TT saw a return to winning ways for Valentino Rossi. The Italian took his first victory since June of 2016, beating Danilo Petrucci and Marc Márquez in a race led by poleman Johann Zarco for the first half. A crash for Maverick Viñales and fifth place for Andrea Dovizioso closes the gap at the top of the overall standings, with four riders within 11 points of each other. Dovizioso is the new leader with 115 points, 4 ahead of Viñales, 7 ahead of Rossi and 11 ahead of Márquez. In seven days’ time, the MotoGP riders will be back competing at the German GP –the final race before the summer break.
Karel Abraham had an excellent race at Assen, with a seventh position that equals his best result in the premier class. The Pull&Bear Aspar rider was already in the points when fine rain has altered the plans of the MotoGP field. From that moment, the Czech rider gradually ascended the order, shaking off two rivals at the end to place seventh. He picked up a further nine points for his tally. Álvaro Bautista was up into sixth place when he crashed out, twelve laps from the end of the race and just before the rain started to fall. The Spaniard, who been in fifth at the start of the race and remained in the top eight until the crash, is now turning his attention to Sachsenring after an unfortunate Dutch TT.
7th Karel Abraham: "With this race I have equaled my best result in MotoGP. The conditions were adverse today, but I was convinced that the race would be dry. However, with ten or twelve laps to go, a fine rain fell. I continued to push -I think more so than other riders- and I didn’t come in to change bikes as others did. I couldn’t see if the track was wet or not, so I was pushing and hoping it was OK. I could have pushed a little more, but maybe that would not have been sensible. At the end, at the start of the last lap, I was ninth. Fortunately, Iannone slowed down a lot, as did Baz who was behind him, and I was able to overtake them both. It was clear that we could do better than what we showed yesterday in qualifying, with eighteenth place on the grid, and we demonstrated that in the race."
Álvaro Bautista (DNF): "These things happen in racing, but this year we are working well and we don’t deserve this slump. The race was about waiting to see what happened, because we had barely ridden in the dry. On the first few laps I tried to be more cautious and not take many risks. Then we had a nice fight with several riders. The group stretched out a little, I was going at my own pace and suddenly at Turn 5 I lost the front. There's no reason I can give as to why I crashed. I feel bad, because we are doing things right, but we lack that little something to help us finish the races and be up there, because we have the potential. We were riding well, I was comfortable, and at the least I could have finished in the top six. Physically I am OK, my morale is a little hurt, but the next race comes around soon and I’m sure that in Germany we will recover and regain a good feeling."
Fantastic eight place for Loris Baz in crazy Dutch TT at Assen
Reale Avintia Racing rider Loris Baz finished the Dutch TT in a fantastic eight place following a tricky race at the legendary Assen track today. The 24 year-old French rider started the race from the 14th place on the grid and he was able to gain some positions when the rain came with six laps to go. He started a thrilling last lap battle for seventh place with Suzuki factory rider Andrea Iannone. He beat the Italian but didn’t expect a final attack from fellow Ducati rider Karel Abraham, how passed both Iannone and Baz on the lasz lap. Nevertheless, eighth position is a great result in a difficult weekend for the Reale Avintia Racing rider.
His teammate Hector Barbera fought his way through from 20th place on the grid and he was catching the group of Baz in the final part of the race. But when the rain started, he took the decision to swap bikes and he did the last six laps on rain tyres. This was not a winning bet and he struggled with rain tyres to finish the race 16th.
The MotoGP World Championship heads now to Sachsenring for the German Grand Prix, which will take place next week. It will be the last race before the summer break.
Loris Baz | P8
“We were lucky with the rain, because in dry conditions I had no confidence and also I started to feel pain in my right arm after just two laps. I had no feeling with the front and I decided to keep my pace, because a big group was right behind me. When I saw the first drops on my visor, I pushed harder to keep the tyres in the right temperature range and to avoid changing bikes. The strategy was right and I finished eighth. On the last lap, Iannone overtook me and I passed him back in the fast lefthand corner, but I didn’t realise Abraham was so close and he caught me. But there is not a big difference between seventh or eight place, the important thing is that we finished inside the top ten, which is a boost to my motivation ahead of Germany where I hope to finish the first half of the season with another strong result.”
Hector Barbera | P16
“Today I lost the bet. The rain started towards the end of the race and when it rains at Assen it usually rains hard, so I thought that if I swap the bike and go out again with rain tyres, maybe I would have an advantage. When I saw Zarco going into the pits I took the risk to change the bike as well. With these decisions you sometimes win and sometimes you don’t, and today it was not the best decision. In this kind of races I’ve always been quite conservative and I stayed out until the final moment with bad results. Today I did the opposite and took a big risk, but is turned out disastrously. We had the worst possible conditions in the race, but at least we learned a new lesson for the next time we’ll have a flag to flag race.”
Misfortune for Tech3 pair at Dutch Grand Prix
Johann Zarco endured a tricky time today at the Motul TT Assen after an eventful race in front of 105,000 enthusiastic spectators. The rookie powered forward from pole position and spectacularly ran at the front of the field for almost the entire opening half of the race. Then spots of rain began to fall and Zarco took the opportunity to swap to his bike with the wet setup on the 20th lap. However, after climbing to 12th, he was issued with a ride through penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane. He ultimately finished in 14th, which marks a tough conclusion to an otherwise notable weekend.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger experienced a disappointing end to the Dutch Grand Prix after falling at turn one on the 10th lap. The young German bolted forward from 6th, his best qualifying result of the year, but he ran wide and slipped back to the rear of the pack. However, he began muscling his way through the field, until he fell, marking his first DNF of the year. Nevertheless, the young gun seeks to make amends at his home Grand Prix in Saxony next week.
Position: 14th - Championship: 6th - Points: 77
“Overall, I have to say that today was actually positive. I made a very good start from pole position when it was dry at the beginning, and I took the lead which was a great feeling. No one passed me and I did the best that I could by riding my references. After that, I started to fight with the other riders and we changed places. At two points on the track, I was struggling a lot compared to them, yet I managed to stay in the group for a bit, but then it rained. Honestly, at this point, I was nervous about crashing because we are on the limit anyway but when we see rain, it can be scary. I could not push anymore with the slick tyres, so I took the decision to swap bikes. In the end, it didn’t rain enough to make a difference yet, I could not carry on with my dry bike. This is part of the game and sure, we made some mistakes, which includes a ride through penalty but I didn’t lose so many positions. I want to say that it was a positive Sunday because I was competitive at the beginning and in the dry conditions, plus, I was able to stay with the leaders and fight for the podium. This is the target so we just need to build everything up in order to reach it, but we are close.”
Position: DNF - Championship: 10th - Points: 51
“It’s a real shame about what happened today and I can’t hide my disappointment. First of all, I ran off the track after six corners and this caused me to drop back to last. Then, I tried to fight my way through the group but I couldn’t start a solid rhythm because I was in the mix with some of the slower riders. Anyway, I overtook a few people and I was pushing but then, unfortunately, I fell at the first corner. It’s a pity because some of these riders collected some good points today and I know that I am quicker than them, so we could have done a great job. Nevertheless, I will now focus on my home Grand Prix next week where I am determined to have a strong weekend in front of my fans.”
“This weekend ended in a disappointing way, but we are learning and we will be back stronger in Germany. The performances on Saturday were great, and we all know that Johann clinched an unbelievable pole position and Jonas got his best qualifying result so far. However, there was always going to be the possibility of strange weather and the riders didn’t have a lot of dry track time this weekend so I was a bit nervous on the grid. Our guys decided to choose the full soft tyres, front as well as rear, and Johann had an incredible opening half to the GP. He had a small touch with Valentino, which cost him a bit of time, but from that moment, he held on to fourth. Johann told me that when the first few raindrops fell, it disturbed him more than the guys in front and he couldn’t keep their pace. So, he took the gamble to switch bikes, in case there was a heavy downpour like the one in warm up, yet, unfortunately, this didn’t happen. It’s a disappointing end to the day, but Johann said that we will learn by being at the front, plus, we must remember that he is still a rookie and we are stronger now than when we came here. As for Jonas, I am disappointed because we expected a strong race from him. We know that he is really fast here, but he was pushed off the track and then maybe a bit too impatient to move up the field. It’s a shame, as we believe that he could have easily finished inside the top ten because the laps that he completed were very quick. However, just like Johann, it’s his rookie season and he is learning so we have to stay calm. The good news is that the race next week is Jonas’ home GP which is very important for him and we can’t wait for FP1 on Friday in Sachsenring.”
MICHELIN AND ROSSI RESPLENDENT AT ASSEN
Michelin and Valentino Rossi produced incredible MotoGP™ performances in daunting conditions as the nine-time World Champion triumphed during today’s Motul TT Assen in The Netherlands.
Starting from fourth on the grid, Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was in the chasing pack that was led into the first corner by pole-setter Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3). The Frenchman then led the race for 11-laps despite the attentions of Rossi, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing). On lap-12 Rossi made his move, with a pass that was to prove important despite the large amount of work he still had to do in the closing stages.
This weekend witnessed a mix of weather from very warm and sunny on Friday, to heavy rain on Saturday. Today’s race started with overcast and cool conditions and the excitement was heightened as rain started to fall over the 4,452m circuit on lap-18 causing the white flags to be waved to allow the riders to come into the pits and change to wet tyres if they wanted to. Some runners chose to come in to change, but the front pack stayed out and produced some exciting battles as the race drew to a close, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) joining the action at the front as the rain continued to fall. Despite the diminished conditions the MICHELIN Power Slicks still gave impressive grip and the lap-times hardly dropped, as the combatants constantly changed places. The closing laps saw Rossi and Petrucci go head-to-head for the victory with both leading at various stages, before Rossi made a decisive move as he lapped a slower rider, and although Petrucci pushed to the line, Rossi took the victory by just 0.063 seconds. Petrucci had the reward of finishing as First Independent Rider and taking his second podium of the season.
Behind the front two a four-way fight was going on for the final podium place, with Marquez just taking the spoils on the line despite the valiant efforts of Crutchlow. Dovizioso was a close fifth, a position that saw him move to the top of the riders’ classification, as previous leader Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) crashed as he pushed hard through the pack to catch the leaders. The action continued throughout the field as Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made his way from thirteenth on the grid to sixth. Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) recorded his best result of the season so far to take seventh, narrowly beating Loris Baz (Avintia Reale Racing) and Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), as the pair took eighth and ninth respectively. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) rounded out the top-ten, with his brother Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) following him home, a result that meant six different manufacturers featured in the first eleven-places, again highlighting the competitiveness of MotoGP. The full range of Michelin tyres were used throughout the weekend, with five of the six MICHELIN Power Slicks being chosen in various configurations for today’s race, again underlining the choice that is available to all riders to give them the best performance window for their riding style and machine.
Today’s event was watched at trackside by 105,000 spectators, which made it the most attended race of the year so far and all those watching were treated to a fantastic spectacle which produced the fifth different winner of this already intriguing season and leaves the championship wide open as the top-four riders are covered by just 11 points. Michelin and the MotoGP field will now make a trans-European journey this coming week as the championship heads to Germany and the ninth round of the season. The race at Sachsenring on Sunday 2nd July will signal the mid-way point of the calendar and be the last event before the summer break.
Valentino Rossi – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP:
“I’m very happy because the bike and the tyres worked very well for the weekend in all the conditions. It was very tricky to make the choice, because with the medium we know we are very strong, but the conditions were not fantastic so we had to wait until the last moment. At the last moment we risked a little bit and put the hard on because we know the hard was a bit better on the Yamaha and it worked. It was a great race and I am so happy!”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“We have been pleased with the performance of the tyres here at Assen this weekend. During the wet and drying session on Saturday the wet tyres worked very well, times were considerably quicker than in similar conditions last year and we had very few crashes despite the riders reporting that the track was giving very little grip. The race today again saw most of the compounds being used in different pairings right through the field, but we did not foresee what would transpire later in the race. As the rain began to fall we would have expected lap-times to drop, but the guys at the front hardly slowed down at all. They produced some fantastic racing which was a perfect demonstration of the confidence they had in the tyres to push so hard in those tricky conditions. We are constantly trying to produce the best tyres for each track to allow the riders to give such excitement for the crowds and we will continue to that. Next week we head to Germany which will be a very tough test as the track has been resurfaced and we have no data for it, but we are sure we have the right tyres for it and we are ready for the challenge.”