Round 08 Netherlands

  • Magic Marquez Wins Assen Epic To Increase Points Lead

    Marc Marquez increased his World Championship lead with an astonishing victory in the epic Dutch MotoGP round, which will live on in memory as one of the greatest premier-class encounters in the history of the sport.


Report

Magic Marquez Wins Assen Epic To Increase Points Lead

TT CIRCUIT ASSEN, Netherlands, July 1, 2018

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) increased his World Championship lead with an astonishing victory in today’s epic Dutch MotoGP round, which will live on in memory as one of the greatest premier-class encounters in the history of the sport.

The 25-year-old reigning World Champion spent much of the 26 laps in a breath-takingly close dogfight that had half a dozen riders in the hunt for victory. At the end of the race the top 15 finishers were separated by just 16 seconds, an all-time record in motorcycle Grand Prix racing’s 70th season.

Marquez started from pole position, but the battle was so intense that the lead changed most laps and sometimes several times a lap. At half-distance the Spaniard found himself down in fourth place, albeit less than four tenths of a second behind the leader. However, he kept his cool and made his plan for the later stages, when he was able to escape from the pack and ride a series of mesmerizing laps that put him more than two seconds ahead of Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales, who finished second and third to complete an all-Spanish podium.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

This was Marquez’s fourth win from the first eight races of this 19-round championship. The success moves him 41-points clear of his closest rival as he aims for a fifth premier-class title to equal the feat of Honda’s most successful rider, Australian Mick Doohan, who won five consecutive 500cc crowns in the 1990s.

Despite his impressive advantage, Marquez is in no mood to relax or ease off. The next race takes place at the Sachsenring, where the former 125cc and Moto2 World Champion has every intention of adding to his unbeaten record, which goes all the way back to his days in the 125cc class in 2010.

Today, Honda also increased its lead in the Constructors World Championship, 30 points ahead of its closest competitor. Honda has won six of the last seven manufacturer crowns and is currently chasing a hat-trick of titles, just like Marquez.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) underlined the superb performance of Honda’s RC213V by running in the lead group and finally finishing sixth, less than four seconds behind Marquez. The Briton qualified second fastest behind his fellow HRC rider and started well, before slipping back to eighth on lap ten of 26. Renowned for his late-braking performances, the 32-year-old felt he was stressing his front tire a great deal and thus had to take a lot of care when overtaking. 

On the final lap, Crutchlow found himself in fifth and pushing to make the podium – a result he felt was within his reach. However, he lacked rear grip and a rear slide through turn eight pushed him off line and allowed Valentino Rossi through. Crutchlow now sits sixth in the championship, two points behind top independent-team rider Johann Zarco and only 20 points behind second-overall Rossi.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) ended a difficult weekend in 15th place. Assen has always been tricky for the diminutive Spaniard, who struggles to change direction through Assen’s fastest section, between Hoge Heide and Ramshoek at the end of the lap. Pedrosa also struggled with the rear-grip issues that troubled him during the last two race weekends. This afternoon he was part of an exciting five-rider fight for 12th place, but finished the race with the final World Championship point.

MotoGP rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) went into the race with hopes of securing his first premier-class top-ten finish, so the two-times Moto2 race winner was disappointed to finish 19th. 

The 26-year-old Japanese ace started well, running inside the point-scoring positions for the first four laps. However, lack of front and rear grip prevented him from pushing to his maximum and left him in a fight with fellow rookie Hafizh Syahrin.

Twice Moto2 World Championship runner up Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) had a challenging weekend, taking the checkered flag in 20th place. Luthi’s Marc VDS Honda squad will test at Brno in the Czech Republic before the next Grand Prix, which will provide the Swiss rookie a chance to sample a few different set-ups.

Luthi’s team-mate Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was unable to start the race. The reigning Moto2 World Champion broke a bone in his left hand in a high-speed fall at turn seven on Saturday morning. He now faces a race against time to be fit for the next race, on July 15.

In the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 class, Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) rode to a start-to-finish victory that puts him firmly back in control of the title fight. Due to arm-pump issues at the Italian Grand Prix and tire woes at Barcelona-Catalunya he had Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) slash his championship advantage from 25 points to just one point. 

This weekend the Italian was in imperious form, topping every free practice session, taking pole position and leading every lap on the way to his fourth victory of the season. The race wasn’t completely straightforward, however. Fellow Italian Lorenzo Baldassari (Pons HP40 Kalex) made life increasingly difficult during the middle stages. At one point, Baldassarri reduced Bagnaia’s lead to just 1.6s. However, his charge was ended by cruel luck – a flat rear tire. The result gives Bagnaia some breathing space in the title fight, with a 16-point lead over Oliveira, who finished sixth today.

Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) produced a remarkable comeback to finish second. The 19-year-old Frenchman made sensational progress through the top-ten after ending the first lap in 12th, two weeks after winning his first Grand Prix at Barcelona-Catalunya. Quartararo is benefitting from a revised swingarm and which allowed him to match the pace of Bagnaia from mid-race distance. 

Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) took a fine third-place finish to end a challenging weekend. The Spaniard suffered crashes on Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, which forced his mechanics to completely rebuild his machine ahead of race day. The 2014 Moto3 World Champion was nevertheless in the podium fight throughout, but had no answer to the advancing Quartararo who took second place from him on lap 22. 

Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) equalled his best Grand Prix result with another fourth-place finish, the third time in four races he has finished in that position. Reigning Moto3 World Champion Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) finished fifth. Oliveira’s team-mate Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) was seventh, with Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) completing the top ten. 

Moto3 sensation Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) stormed to his fourth victory of the season in a dramatic Moto3 race, which had Honda riders monopolizing the podium. The Spaniard, who started from pole position and made his customary great start, led the pack by 0.9 seconds on the first lap. 

Four riders eventually closed in on Martin, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), Marco Bezzecchi and John McPhee making it an exciting five-rider fight at the front. It was a fast, furious battle with the lead changing hands frequently, but with three laps to go, Martin pounced. 

Martin finished the race 0.6 seconds clear, an impressive result following a hefty crash in FP2, which left him with a bruised right foot. Bezzecchi, who arrived at Assen leading on points, suffered a last-lap crash that gives Martin a two-point lead. 

Canet produced an excellent last lap out-braking move on Bastianini at the final Geert Timmer Bocht chicane to secure second place, his first podium since round two. 

Bastianini was content to secure third place, only his second points-scoring finish at Assen in five attempts. The all-Honda podium was the first in the Moto3 class since the season opener in Qatar, and proved the handling capabilities of the NSF250RW, which was perfectly suited to the high-speed swoops that define Assen. 

Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) enjoyed a welcome return to form by placing sixth, his best result since his third-place finish in Qatar. The 2016 FIM Junior Moto3 World Champion was one of eight riders engaged in a race-long scrap for fourth place. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was also in the group, finishing ninth. 

The MotoGP paddock now has ten days to catch its breath before the 2018 season resumes in Germany at the Sachsenring, where practice gets underway on July 13.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st

“It was a crazy race, full of adrenaline—this feeling is one of the reasons we do this sport! Yesterday, I was expecting something like this, but nothing like it actually was! We were a wild bunch, everyone fighting against everyone; I think all of us made contact with somebody else at some point. We had to attack and defend, attack and defend. We had so many ‘big moments’ and risked crashing. It was crazy! It was impossible to define the best strategy, impossible to make plans, so eventually I decided to just fight and see what we could do in the end. In the last three laps, I gave it everything, no matter the tires, no matter the championship. I had been trying to reduce the group because when you’re fighting for the title, you just want the fewest riders possible at the front, but it was difficult. Only when I saw I had more than one and a half seconds of advantage before the last lap did I think, Okay, we’ve got it, let’s just finish this lap. It was an important win and 25 very important points, but we need to keep going, keep pushing, and keep this same level.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 6th

“I think it was a good race, but the last two laps were my downfall as I made a big mistake when I passed Valentino (Rossi) and thought I could push to the guys at the front. But I ran really wide at turn eight and only just stayed on the bike and had to settle for sixth position. I got a good start and not too bad a first lap, but I decided not to push too hard at the start as the front tire was too soft for the Hondas it seemed – this is why you probably saw Marc (Marquez) get passed during braking a few times. I was happy in sixth or seventh where I was and just wanted to maintain my rhythm and do a good pace. But it was a good battle, I said (before the race) any one of eight guys could be on the podium and it seemed that way. All credit to my team though, they did a good job.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 15th

“It’s been a very difficult weekend, including the race. We didn’t start well and couldn’t make any progress in the early laps. In the beginning I had the same feeling from practice but little by little I started to be faster and more comfortable, so I improved my pace in the end and was able to do some decent lap times. I still wasn’t fast enough in the final chicane, but at least in the end I was lapping better than during the rest of weekend. We must work and try to be faster in qualifying.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 19th 

“Of course I’m a bit disappointed about today’s race. After the start I was fighting a lot within the group, but I was struggling to find the rear grip with our option of the hard tire on the rear. It was not the wrong choice because we tested this tire twice and it worked well for us, but I just struggled for grip until towards the end of the race and my pace wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. The team, as always, did a great job this weekend and I’m disappointed about the result, but I’m looking forward to the Brno test and am hoping to find another step forward. We’ll keep pushing hard and look to improve. The next race at the Sachsenring will be a completely different test, but I have good memories there and will stay positive.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 20th

“This race was not a lot of fun for me. Right from the start there was nothing I could do, when I tried to push I felt the bike getting out of control and could not stay with the group ahead. So my focus in the race was to work on my riding style, changing position on the bike and concentrate on finishing the race. Now we have an important test day in Brno where I want to try many things including some electronic set-up before the race in Germany.

Moto2

Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1st 

“We arrived here with just one point ahead of Miguel [Oliveira] and it was important to reopen the gap in the standings, taking advantage of the fact that I really like this track and that it fits my style. It’s always special for me to win here at Assen: I have to thank the whole team because they did a great job, we took a big step forward in qualifying and today we were really competitive. It was a really long and hard race, especially the last laps, when, due to the wind, it was difficult to manage the bike in the fastest corners. I had a strong start and my goal was to break the group and push alone.”

Fabio Quartararo, Speed Up Racing: 2nd 

“I improved a lot since Le Mans. We found something on the bike and I totally changed my riding style. I’m happy because we were fast. In the first part of the race I was struggling. When [Mattia] Pasini and [Brad] Binder made mistakes I was able to catch the first group, because in some corners I was using different gears to the other riders. I want to say thanks to my team because they made a really good job this weekend. Now we’re focused on the next race.”

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 3rd

“This podium is a good result to finish the Assen weekend especially after destroying two bikes, I suffered a lot in practice and qualifying. The race was long and hard and despite the strong wind I had good rhythm but also made a couple of small mistakes that cost me some time. Overall I’m not 100 percent satisfied because of the couple of mistakes I made over the weekend.”

Moto3

Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 1st

“This was our goal: I wanted a small group at the front and I made sure it happened. I waited calm for most of the race, as I also had a problem with my front brake which didn’t allow me to overtake under heavy-braking, but with four laps to go nobody wanted to take control and when I saw on the big TV screens that I had McPhee behind, I decided to push. I’m really sorry for Bezzecchi. Obviously I’m happy to be leader than having a 23-point gap. We want to enter the summer break as points leaders, so we’ll have to try and do it again at Sachsenring.”

Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 2nd 

“Jorge [Martin] pushed on the last lap and escaped. He was able to take advantage of that extra fieriness he has in races. Now we're still fifth in the standings but only 24 points behind the leader. I think our goal must be to fight race by race and look for the victory which has been hard to come by this season.”

Enea Bastianini, Leopard Racing: 3rd 

“This race was incredible. Jorge pushed from the first lap and it was difficult to close the gap to him. Finally we were one group of five riders. In the last three laps Jorge pushed a lot because we were slowing down. It was impossible to recover the gap. I had to battle Aron for second position, and I passed him in the penultimate corner, but he was able to get me back in the last chicane. It was a good race.”

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Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 08: Netherlands Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
3 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
5 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
6 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
7 Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
8 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
9 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
10 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
11 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
12 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
13 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14 Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
15 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
16 Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)
17 Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
18 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
19 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
20 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
21 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
22 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)
23 Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2 Fabio QUARTARARO (Beta Tools - Speed Up Racing)
3 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
4 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
5 Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
6 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
7 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
8 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
9 Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
10 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
11 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
12 Augusto Fernandez(Pons HP40)
13 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
14 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
15 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
16 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
17 Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
18 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
19 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
20 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
21 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
22 Isaac VIÑALES (SAG Team)
23 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)
24 Eric GRANADO (Forward Racing Team)
25 Federico FULIGNI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
26 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
RT Romano FENATI (Marinelli Snipers Team)
RT Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
RT Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)
RT Danny KENT (MB Conveyors - Speed Up Racing)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
2 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
3 Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
4 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
5 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
6 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
7 Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
8 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
9 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
10 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
11 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
13 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
14 Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
15 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
16 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
17 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
18 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
19 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
20 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
21 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
22 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT (Honda Team Asia)
23 Ai Ogura(Asia Talent Team)
24 Livio LOI (Reale Avintia Academy)
25 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
26 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
27 Stefano Nepa(CIP - Green Power)
28 Van De Lagemaat Ryan(Lamotec Lagemaat Racing)
RT Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
RT John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)

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