Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Assen:
Ben Spies has taken his first ever MotoGP victory with a stunning display in treacherous conditions at Assen. Spies took the lead after Lorenzo ran wide at Turn 1, and after Marco Simoncelli highsided out in front of Lorenzo, taking the Spaniard out of the race, Spies went on to take the win unchallenged. Lorenzo's crash and subsequent fightback limited the damage to Casey Stoner in the championship, but the reigning World Champion ceded another 10 points to the Australian in the title chase.
The race was really decided in the Strubben, the first left-hander of the circuit. After Spies had taken the lead from Lorenzo, Lorenzo was leading the chase round the series of right handers that make up Assen's new north loop. As he lined up for the Strubben hairpin, Simoncelli dived underneath in a brave but clean pass. The cold conditions meant that the left-hand side of his tire was not up to such a tough move, however, and the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider highsided out, taking Lorenzo with him into the gravel. Both men rushed over to their bikes, Lorenzo rejoining very quickly, Simoncelli taking longer to get his lightly damaged Honda RC212V restarted.
With Lorenzo out, and Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso delayed, Spies had a gap, which he pushed mercilessly to exploit. Once the advantage was comfortable, Spies could respond to anything that Stoner could throw at him with ease. Stoner's second place, once he could work his way past his teammate Dovizioso, was also never in doubt, though Dovizioso made the Australian work for it during the first half of the race.
With Lorenzo and Simoncelli out, Valentino Rossi took 4th spot, saving a tough weekend on his first outing on the Ducati GP11.1, finishing 12 seconds ahead of his teammate Nicky Hayden on the orginal version of the Desmosedici. After an astonishing charge back through the field after crashing, Jorge Lorenzo clawed his way back to finish 6th, and salvage 10 championship points. Lorenzo now trails Stoner by 28 points, with Andrea Dovizioso now some 9 points behind him.
No doubt Lorenzo will be furious at losing more points outside of his control, and yet more questions will be asked of Marco Simoncelli. This is the 4th race out of 7 that Simoncelli has crashed out of, and added to his ill-advised pass on Dani Pedrosa at Le Mans, he is fast losing some of his shine.
|14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||1'52.494||25 laps|