What a beautiful day it was.
In my mind, without a doubt, this was the best racing action I have ever seen in my life. Thanks to the weather, and the brilliant piece of asphalt that is Assen, all 3 classes gave us some extremely remarkable races, with even more shocking results.
I don’t think this has ever happened before, 3 riders who have never won a race, winning in their respective classes, on the same day.
Moto3: India finally wins
Things started with Moto3 as they always do, barely controlled chaos, too many close calls, and some crashes.
Italian Andrea Migno took the lead at the start, but this is Moto3, so that wasn’t really something that was expected to last more than a few corners at best. Fenati, Bagnaia, Bulega, Antonelli, Binder, they were all in there somewhere, trading places, moving from 1st to 8th in a matter of seconds and then back again.
One rider who had shown promising pace before the race was Canet, but he couldn’t keep his nerve and crashed out with 15 laps to go, in what can only be described as an overzealous move out of nowhere.
Pole man Bastianini once again added to the interesting statistic in Moto3, where nobody starting from the front of the race ever wins it. His crash was completely his own fault though, going too hot into no space.
Quartararo run of bad luck continued as he collected Gabriel Rodrigo’s bike after the latter highsided.
Brad Binder wasn’t so lucky this time, with his incredible streak of podium finishes finally coming to an end. 6 laps to go, a big movement on the rear forced Binder off the track, relegating him to a lonely finish at 12th.
At some points, with 6 or 7 riders all going straight into a corner, it looked like a disaster waiting to happen. But in the end Bagnaia took a sensational win from Migno without any major incident. Fabio di Giannantonio finished third, but was later pulled up to second when Migno was penalized one place for gaining out of track advantage for that last corner move from 5th to 2nd.
This was the first time team Mahindra scored a win, and they deserved it. They had a few podium finishes in the bag, and always looked in the fight for the top, but finally managed to bring it home at Assen. As expected, Mahindra boss was rather ecstatic.
With Navarro away injured, Binder managed to increase his championship lead even further with a race he’d probably want to forget. Here are the top 10 riders from the race, just look at the gap between the top 6 riders.
|2||4||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+0.039|
|10||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+1.038|
And here are the championship standings after Assen. Binder looks like he’s got it in his kitty nice and easy.
- Brad Biner – 151 points
- Jorge Navarro – 103 points
- Romano Fenati – 93 points
Moto2: Japan finally wins
The Moto2 race probably was the least interesting of the 3 today, but still far better than most F1 races I’ve seen this season.
Japanese rider Nakagami, who has in the past come so close, so many times to a win, finally did it. He took the lead with 16 laps to go, and then never looked back, finally taking the top spot after the race was red flagged due to rain.
His win wasn’t easy though, with Zarco pummeling towards him by the end, and if the rain hadn’t stopped the race, we might have seen one hell of a fight to the wire.
Luthi made a crazy start from pole, but was soon reined in by Aegerter and Morbidelli. Zarco, Baldassarri and Lowes had a fight amongst themselves while being chased by Rins and Corsi.
Nakagami took the lead from Morbidelli and was gone like a bullet, becoming the first Japanese rider since 2010 to win a Moto2 race. Many of the riders who had started well found themselves falling down the order, with Luthi ending up in a crash, and Aegerter finishing 9th.
Rins never looked like he was a threat to anybody, fighting hard with his own teammate, but otherwise riding a lonely race. Thanks to Zarco’s second place finish, they are now both tied at 126 championship points. Looks like Zarco might be able to become the first man to successfully defend a Moto2 title, even though this season didn’t start too good for him.
Sam Lowes finished a respectable 4th, after some huge moments fighting with Baldassarri. Lowes is now just 5 points adrift of both Zarco and Rins, and the championship looks wide open for now.
Here are the top 10 riders from the race.
|7||24||Simone CORSI||Speed Up||+9.482|
And here are the championship standings:
- Johann Zarco – 126 points
- Alex Rins – 126 points
- Sam Lowes – 121 points
MotoGP: Australia finally wins
MotoGP races are generally the more “sane” of the lot, but today it was completely different.
After the Moto2 race was stopped due to rain, the MotoGP race was declared wet, but looked like the track would dry up and the riders would have to come into the pits to change onto inters. But the famous Assen weather really made an all-out attack on the race, producing some shocking results on its way.
The first part of the race started with the usual riders up front, people who are comfortable with rain like Rossi, Dovi, Petrucci and Redding made steady progress to the front of the pack, while Lorenzo found himself at the bottom end of the grid. Both Pedrosa and Iannone, who had started towards the back of the grid for different reasons, made rather good starts and were soon into the top 10.
The surprise entry to the list was Yonny Hernandez, who overtook Rossi to lead the race in a rather effortless maneuver, and then went on to open a gap of some 3 seconds. With 15 laps to go, Hernandez pushed a little too hard and found himself in the gravel, a sad end that was going to get even worse. He changed bikes and was back on the track, but crashed once more, and this time for good. If he had got back on the bike somehow, he’d have found himself back in the second part of the race, like Iannone.
Dovi took the lead from Rossi, as Petrucci lunged a few times on him as well, but the charge of the Ducatis was stopped when the red flag was waved, conditions being deemed too unsafe for racing, a decision that some riders openly protested against.
Once the rain calmed down, the race was restarted for 12 laps. Marquez made a brilliant start to this one, almost taking the lead into turn 1 before running out wide and getting overtaken by Dovi and Rossi. Pedrosa unfortunately crashed on the first lap, ending a completely dismal weekend at Assen with a 12th place finish.
Crutchlow crashed once again, his eyes firmly set on demolishing the record for the most number of crashes in a season.
Miller found himself in 4th as Rossi lead the race, with Dovi crashing out heavily in an attempt to keep up with The Doctor, who himself crashed out soon afterwards in a rare mistake from the 9 time world champion. That 10th world title is looking rather difficult this year as well.
Miller took the lead from Marquez with 8 laps to go, and then he was gone. It was that moment when you start rooting for the underdog, and then most of the time the underdog shits his pants and slides out somewhere. Miller held his nerve, in fact he never even looked fazed, had no major moments, and wheelied into the chequered flag like a boss.
Redding took the final podium spot from Pol with 2 laps to go, while on the other end of the spectrum Lorenzo finished in a lonely 10th. The MotoGP winglet ban for 2017 was another bad news for Jorge, with his future ride depending heavily on aero advantages to be where it is now.
Another surprise finish was Vinales at 9th, who had crashed in qualifying in what was possibly the slowest wipeout I have ever seen. He, like Lorenzo, doesn’t seem to like the rain much either.
Iannone, who started from the back of the grid after taking out Lorenzo at the last round, finished a brilliant 5th, after crashing out in the first part of the race, then starting 11th.
One stat that might give you an idea of how treacherous things were: Only 13 of the 21 riders managed to finish the race.
Here’s the top 10 from the race.
And here are the championship standings. It’s now Marq’s to lose.
- Marc Marquez – 145
- Jorge Lorenzo – 121
- Valentino Rossi – 103