Marquez Increases Championship Lead At Assen
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez increased his 2019 points advantage with a fine ride to second place at sun-blessed Assen.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) increased his 2019 points advantage with a fine ride to second place at sun-blessed Assen today.
The 26-year-old Spaniard fought a typically spirited battle for victory with eventual winner Maverick Vinales, finally making sure of the 20-point haul for runner-up spot in the closing stages. After eight of 19 races he leads the championship by 44 points from Andrea Dovizioso, who finished fourth today.
Assen is a very unusual circuit, with multiple changes of direction which make life tougher than ever for riders. During the weekend Marquez struggled somewhat with this issue, which put him fourth quickest in qualifying and off the front row for the first time this year.
However, the five-times MotoGP king gave it everything he had in this afternoon’s race, swapping the lead with compatriot Vinales on several occasions. Marquez had chosen a soft-option rear slick, which gave him excellent traction for much of the race, but during the final laps the harder compound chosen by Vinales gave him the edge.
Marquez’s second-place result continues his amazing record of seven podiums from the first eight races of 2019. Indeed, when Marquez has made it to the checkered flag he has always finished first or second, with four victories and three runner-up results. His only non-score came at April’s Americas GP, where he slid off while holding a commanding lead.
On the podium Marquez raised a flag celebrating the 60th anniversary of Honda’s first World Championship race in June 1959. The race got underway following a popular lap of honor by five-times 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan and Kunimitsu Takahashi, the first Japanese to win a Grand Prix race, in May 1961. Doohan rode the 1989 Honda NSR500 which Eddie Lawson to that year’s 500cc world title, while Takahashi rode a 1959 125cc RC142, the machine which began Honda’s world-class racing adventure that has so far won 779 Grand Prix victories, 60 Riders World Championships and 69 Constructors World Championships.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) rode a strong race to seventh. The 33-year-old Briton might have done even better, but he had a brake issue entering the very first corner and then twice ran off the track while battling with rivals. At one stage of the race he was the fastest man on the track and his pace was certainly good enough for a top-four result, but in the end he had to be content with seventh place, his best result since he finished third at the season-opening Qatar GP.
Japanese ace Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) had high hopes of another great result, until he was taken out by a rival in the early stages of the race. The 27-year-old from Chiba started well and was biding his time to move forward when he was knocked down at speed entering turn eight on lap four.
Marquez’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) took no part in today’s action. The three-times MotoGP World Champion was ruled out of the weekend when he crashed at the high-speed turn during Friday morning’s FP1 session. Lorenzo sustained a stable fracture of his T6 vertebra and a trabecular fracture of the T8 vertebra in the crash. He underwent tests and treatment at a local hospital and was transferred to his home in Lugano, Switzerland, yesterday. The 32-year-old Spaniard won’t be able to compete in next weekend’s German GP. It’s not certain when he will be able to return to racing.
Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex) won a superb first Grand Prix victory at the end of an incident-placed Moto2 race. Fernandez was in the midst of an enthralling four-man battle for victory in the closing stages of the 24-lap race; with the 21-year-old Spaniard, points leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) all in with a chance of the win.
Then with less than three laps two go Baldassarri and Marquez tangled at turn four, both of them crashing out, leaving Fernandez just ahead of Binder. Fernandez, who took the first podium of his career at May’s Jerez GP, kept his head to take the checkered flag 0.612 seconds ahead of 23-year-old South African Binder.
Three seconds further back Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) took third for his first podium result of 2019, a fraction ahead of 32-year-old Swiss rider Thomas Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex), who now leads the World Championship, six points ahead of Marquez, who is 19 points in front of Fernandez.
Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team Kalex) had his best ride of the year, finishing fifth, less than two seconds off the podium. The result of the 26-year-old from Kanagawa somewhat made up for the misfortune of team-mate Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team Kalex), who crashed out after starting from pole position.
Grand Prix rookie Moto2 team-mates Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex) and Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a very unlucky Assen debut this weekend, both riders ruled out of the race through injury.
Ekky Pratama got no further than Friday, when he crashed after another rival collided with him. The 26-year-old Indonesian sustained concussion in the fall and was kept under observation at the Assen hospital over Friday night. Chantra fell during this morning’s warm-up session, the 20-year-old Thai rider fracturing his left wrist.
Italian teenager Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) won a frantic battle for Moto3 victory, passing Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) at the penultimate corner to take his second victory of the year, by just 0.045 seconds.
The Dutch round of the Moto3 series was like so many other races this year – a huge leading pack chopping and changing position at every corner. At half-distance the leading 15 riders were covered by just 1.8 seconds, then a number of incidents split the pack, with the two leading Hondas finishing 1.5 seconds ahead of third-placed Jakub Kornfeil.
The unluckiest victim of the numerous late-race incidents was Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), who started from second on the grid and led most of the first half of the race, until he was pushed off the track by an over-enthusiastic rival. That relegated the hugely talented 19-year-old from Fukuoka to ninth place. A few laps later he was involved in a four-man pile-up that cruelly ended his race.
Toba’s ill-luck was particularly undeserved because he had the pace to win the race, wearing a special livery and leathers to commemorate Honda’s 60th anniversary of world-class racing.
At least Honda once again proved its strength in depth in this most competitive of categories, with its sixth victory from the first eight races of 2019 and seven of the first eight finishers riding the company’s superb NSF250RW machine.
Arbolino’s race – which he described as the best of his life – moved him into fourth place in the title chase, while Dalla Porto’s third runner-up finish in four races allowed him to substantially close the points gap on series leader Aron Canet, who finished 12th today. The 22-year-old Italian now stands only seven points behind Canet going into next weekend’s German GP.
Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) recovered from 16th on the grid to finish fourth, less than six tenths of a second off the podium. The 22-year-old Spaniard was chased over the finish line by French GP winner John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Toba’s team-mate Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), who finished the race only 2.2 seconds behind the winner. The 18-year-old from Tokyo’s result equalled his best finish, at Barcelona-Catalunya two Sundays ago, and underlines his improving form in his rookie Grand Prix season
Immediately behind Ogura were Catalan GP winner Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and tenth-placed Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) who led the first lap and ran with the leaders in the early stages. Eight of the top ten finishers were NSF250RW riders.
Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) was well on the course to a points-scoring finish until he lost control of his motorcycle. The 18-year-old from Yokosuka saved the situation brilliantly, but finished out of the points in 17th.
Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) was a victim of the same multi-bike crash that eliminated Toba.
The paddock now heads into the heart of Europe for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring next weekend. After the ninth race of the year the paddock gets a three-week break before August’s Czech GP at Brno.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd
“An amazing weekend here in Assen overall. I chose the soft tyre and targeted the podium so this is like a victory, because we have again increased the advantage in the championship. I saw Vinales was faster than me and breaking away and I tried to stay with him to avoid a battle with Quartararo at the end. I was behind Vinales for a few laps and then I saw he was faster. Congratulations to him on the victory. The most important part is we have extended our lead in the championship at a circuit where we struggle. Thank you Assen, see you next year!”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 7th
“I think we salvaged not a bad position considering the weekend we had. Midway through the race I was the fastest guy on the circuit, but I didn’t feel good with the bike on the first three or four laps and I got passed a lot. Then I was able to do my own pace, which was faster than the guys ahead, but when I got to them I made too many mistakes – I ran off the track three or four times. We tried our best and that was it, we have to work on the negatives of the bike, but we’re working well as a team and I think we did a good job to be able to be competitive enough today. As I said, my pace in the middle of the race was very, very good and we need to work on being able to go faster at the start.”
Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: DNF
“It was an unlucky day; we made a good start at the beginning and I tried to follow the top group. Then I was fighting with Cal, Jack [Miller] and Valentino [Rossi], and on that lap Vale overtook me in turn one and I overtook again in turn two, then in turn eight he tried to overtake me again from the inside but I saw him lose the front end and I had no time to recover and he took me out. It was an unlucky crash, but although I’m not 100 percent okay, I’ve not got any injuries which is good because it was a nasty crash. I hit the fence and I can’t completely remember what happened, but I want to thank all my staff for helping me.”
Augusto Fernandez, Flexbox HP 40: 1st
“I don’t know what to feel yet – it’s unbelievable to win my first Grand Prix! The race was really good. I didn’t make a great start but I rode really well in the first few laps to get with the lead group. From there I tried to stay there to give myself some possibilities at the end of the race. For sure the Marquez/Baldassarri crashed helped my final result. I’m sorry for Balda because we are team-mates fighting for the team championship. But I’m so happy for this win.”
Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 2nd
“I’m very happy because today we finally took a big step forward. At the beginning and halfway through the race I felt comfortable and I was riding really well, pushing hard. The last part was a bit trickier, but I tried to work as much as I could to maintain the position. I want to thank my team, because in the warm-up we still had some issues. However, we found the solution and had the bike ready for the race. We are definitely on the right track; I’m motivated and looking forward to continuing to work in the next few contests.”
Luca Marini, SKY Racing Team VR46: 3rd
“An unexpected podium: not so much for the thrilling final, but for the crash of yesterday and because during the whole race I had problems with the gearbox. It wasn't easy, but the team did a great job to allow me to be competitive in qualifying and make a step forward in the warm-up. I tried to ride well, then I also had a bit of luck for the podium, but I was there. A race full of overtakes, with high temperatures and no grip. Being aggressive is not my strongest point, I am a clean rider, but this is something I will have to work on. Thanks again to all the team: yesterday they practically rebuilt the bike.”
Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: DNS
“I’m really sorry for the team. I made a big mistake during the warm-up, and the consequence is that I lost the chance to do a good race in Assen. This night I will fly to Barcelona and tomorrow afternoon Doctor Xavier Mir will do surgery on my left wrist. Unfortunately, I will miss also the next race in Sachsenring, but I hope to be ready for Brno”
Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex): DNS
“I still feel a lot of pain in my neck, both the doctors and the team decided that the best for me it was to rest and to try to be recovered for Sachsenring. I’m very sorry for the team, because they had prepared this race conscientiously, but everybody agrees that the safest was not to race.”
Tony Arbolino, Snipers Team: 1st
“I am very happy, another victory after a hard race. I always fought to stay ahead, without losing the contact with the firsts. In the final part, after a contact with another rider, I lost contact and I thought it was finished. I gave everything, by risking a lot, to catch Dalla Porta once again. In the last lap, I knew perfectly where to overtake him, as I tried that before, and I did it. I thank my team for the excellent job done.”
Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 2nd
“The most important thing is that we are getting consistently good results from race to race, but I hope in the near future I will win again. It was a difficult race because of the strong winds. I have to be happy with this result because we rode another fantastic race and took another podium. We have to keep going like this and I’m sure the win will come soon.”
Gabriel Rodrigo, Kömmerling Gresini Moto3: 4th
“I was feeling very well at the start of the race and I managed to make my way to the front pretty quickly – up to eighth place. I relaxed for a second and I got passed not by two, but eight riders! Also, in order to avoid the green strip at the last chicane – and a possible penalty – I closed the throttle and found myself basically in 20th place. From then onwards a new race started, and it was all about giving it all to come back again. I avoided a crash in front of me; I wanted to catch Arbolino and Dalla Porta, but they had something more today. After two DNFs this is a positive result, a sort of “different” fourth place. Now we can look ahead at Sachsenring with greater confidence.”
Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 6th
“Overall I’m happy with the weekend. When I arrived here, my target was to finish in the top ten, because for me Assen is one of the most difficult circuits of the calendar. But after FP1, when I finished in P1, I changed my target and started to think of the possibility of a podium. At the beginning of the race I struggled a lot with the hard tyres, losing many positions, but in the end, I finished P6. It’s a good result, but I’m convinced that I lost the option to be on the podium”
Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia: DNF
“Very disappointed about the final result of the race. At the beginning, I was leading the top group, riding calm and trying to break the group, but it was not possible. Then I decided to be there controlling the rest of the riders, but suddenly [Darren] Binder caused a dangerous situation in the chicane and I went straight, losing many positions. I tried to recover, going every time better and better, but I make a small mistake in braking and I crash. Nothing to say, only to work hard in Germany, concentrate on my riding and try to do another step.”
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|2||Marc MÁRQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|5||Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|6||Danilo PETRUCCI (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|7||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)|
|8||Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|9||Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)|
|10||Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|11||Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|13||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|14||Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)|
|15||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|16||Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|17||Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|RT||Johann ZARCO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|RT||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)|
|RT||Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|RT||Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|1||Augusto FERNANDEZ (Flexbox HP 40)|
|2||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|4||Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|5||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|6||Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|7||Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|8||Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|9||Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|10||Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|11||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (MB Conveyors Speed Up)|
|12||Jake DIXON (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|13||Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)|
|14||Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)|
|15||Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)|
|16||Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|17||Jonas FOLGER (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|18||Xavi CARDELUS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|RT||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|RT||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)|
|RT||Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|RT||Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|RT||Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|RT||Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|RT||Jorge NAVARRO (MB Conveyors Speed Up)|
|RT||Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|RT||Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|RT||Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)|
|RT||Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|1||Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)|
|2||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)|
|3||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)|
|4||Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|
|5||John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|6||Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)|
|7||Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)|
|8||Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|9||Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|10||Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|11||Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)|
|12||Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)|
|13||Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|14||Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)|
|15||Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|16||Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|17||Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|18||Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|19||Andrea MIGNO (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|20||Stefano NEPA (Fundacion Andres Perez 77)|
|21||Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|
|22||Ryan VAN DE LAGEMAAT (Qnium Racing )|
|23||Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)|
|RT||Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)|
|RT||Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|RT||Raul FERNANDEZ (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|RT||Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)|
|RT||Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|RT||Albert ARENAS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|RT||Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)|