Valentino Rossi (c) topped Marc Marquez (l) and Cal Crutchlow (r) for his 80th premier class triumph. Valentino Rossi (c) topped Marc Marquez (l) and Cal Crutchlow (r) for his 80th premier class triumph. Photo courtesy motogp.com

Rossi returns to the top at Assen

Written by  on Saturday, 29 June 2013 12:59

Valentino Rossi won the Iveco TT Assen on Saturday, picking up his 80th victory in the MotoGP™ premier class and his first since the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2010. The nine-time champion shared the podium with Marc Marquez and pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow, with Jorge Lorenzo finishing fifth despite a broken collarbone.

The Dutch weekend proved to be action-packed, both on and off the track. Lorenzo generated many of the headlines, having been cleared to race less than four hours before the start and having travelled back from an operation in Barcelona.

Rossi’s afternoon started from fourth on the grid. A decisive pass on LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl saw the Yamaha rise to third in a very strong move at the chicane as the first lap came to a close. The Italian then proceeded to hunt down the Hondas, dispatching Marquez on lap four and Pedrosa on lap six in what was a similar move to that of 2007. He would go on to take an emotional victory by 2.1 seconds - his first at Assen for four years.

Rossi’s success is his first since returning to Yamaha and, as well as being his 80th win in the top tier, is his 106th career victory and eighth at Assen.

“I’m happy but I can’t believe it and it’s a great feeling to be back in first position,” Rossi said. “It’s been a long, long time since Sepang 2010 and during those years I’ve ask myself the question: ‘Can I get back to first position?’ So it’s been a tough period but I’ve never given up and I’ve always worked hard because this is my passion. I love to ride and race motorcycles.

“I have to thank Yamaha for giving me another chance with the M1 in the factory team. At the beginning I was not comfortable with the bike, I had to find the right balance, but coming into this race I knew I had better potential and before the race I thought, ‘I have to try to win - this is my day.’

“I felt good. I tried hard from the beginning, it was a long race and I fought with everybody. I fought with Marc (Marquez), with (Dani) Pedrosa and with Cal (Crutchlow) but I always had that little bit extra at certain points. I’m so happy!”

Marquez’s second place boosts his championship situation, finishing ahead of Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Having sealed his first front row starting position since Le Mans, the 20-year-old ran third but caught Pedrosa on the 18th lap; his first attempt to overtake failed, but the reigning Moto2™ champion made the most of his next opportunity and seized second spot on the drag to the first corner.

"Overall the pace was faster than I had expected,” Marquez admitted. “At the start and throughout the race both Dani and Valentino were very strong. In fact, Valentino was simply faster than us today. I could only pass Dani towards the end, because at first I had a lot of trouble. Once I passed Dani, I tried to catch Valentino, but my arm began to affect me and I couldn't brake in my normal way due to my injured finger.

“In the end we took 20 points after a good battle with Cal and think I defended pretty well against him. In general, we can say we've done a good job all weekend. I have a lot of respect for Jorge today, he showed real strength and he did a great job. I would also like to congratulate Valentino, as it's always good for motorcycle racing when he's up at the front!"

Pedrosa would fall back one more place before the chequered flag, losing out to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow (the first British pole-sitter since 2002), who was fortunate to avoid a crash when he touched Marquez’s rear wheel on the final lap.

“I think we touched, but I said to Marc that I wanted him to see after the race what Dani sees on TV,” Crutchlow joked after the race, referring to the late-race touch between the Honda teammate last time out in Barcelona.

“It was a difficult race again, but we are still in the same position: too little, too late. I felt we had the potential to challenge Valentino at the front today but I started too slow again and the first five laps I was wide in all the corners, but I’m very happy. We’ve had three podiums this early on in the season, it’s good for the championship and we are making good steps this year.”

Heading to the next race in Germany, Crutchlow still sits fourth in the Riders’ Championship but now only two points ahead of Saturday winner Rossi.

Although fourth is Pedrosa’s worst result since round one in Qatar, he still extends his championship lead by two points. In the standings, Pedrosa maintains the lead (136 points) from Lorenzo (127), with Marquez (113) now the reduced margin of 23 in arrears of the leader.

Lorenzo was mightily relieved to have scored 11 points, having suffered a heavy crash on Thursday before being operated on in the early hours of Friday morning. He arrived back at Assen on Friday afternoon and was given the green light to race after 11:00 Saturday morning. Having risen to the top five from 12th on the grid by only lap two, he ran as high as fourth but fell back as pain kicked in.

Sixth place went to Bradl - who, from his first ever MotoGP front row - had briefly snatched second at the start, whereas GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista overhauled leading CRT rider Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar) for seventh with six laps to go.

On the final lap Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden lost two places and fell to 11th, dropping behind Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and his own teammate Andrea Dovizioso.

Round eight, the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, take places in two weeks’ time.

Moto2™ title rivals Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding went toe to toe at Assen on Saturday, with the Spaniard triumphing in the Iveco TT Assen. Switzerland’s Dominique Aegerter finished third after leading earlier in the race, confirming his second ever podium finish after Valencia 2011.

As the lights went out, championship leader Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team) quickly dispatched of Espargaro and his Tuenti HP 40 teammate Esteve Rabat to seize the lead.

The front battle hit fever pitch on the eighth tour. Espargaro had retaken the lead from Redding but, as the Englishman dived up the inside of the first corner, both men went wide and it was Aegerter who led the race to the delight of his team. As the front end pace increased, he would drop back into a battle with Rabat and Johann Zarco.

Espargaro handed the lead to Redding on the 20th tour, then following closely before mounting a strong challenge into turn one at the start of the final lap. He would keep the top spot, defending at every one of Assen’s 18 corners.

More last lap drama saw Rabat plummet from third to fifth, handing the final rostrum position to Aegerter on the Suter (from 10th on the grid) while Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio finished fourth.

Espargaro’s victory brings Redding’s title-leading advantage down to 30 points ahead of the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring in a fortnight’s time.

Luis Salom increased his Moto3™ championship lead by winning Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. His advantage increased to 10 points over Maverick Viñales, who lost the top spot by running wide in the final moments of the race. Alex Rins completed the podium after leading for many of the 22 laps.

Salom’s feat marks only the second time a rider has won three consecutive races in the Moto3™ class.

MotoGP Race Results

1

25

46

Valentino ROSSI

ITA

Yamaha Factory Racing

Yamaha

171.0

41'25.202

2

20

93

Marc MARQUEZ

SPA

Repsol Honda Team

Honda

170.9

+2.170

3

16

35

Cal CRUTCHLOW

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Yamaha

170.7

+4.073

4

13

26

Dani PEDROSA

SPA

Repsol Honda Team

Honda

170.5

+7.832

5

11

99

Jorge LORENZO

SPA

Yamaha Factory Racing

Yamaha

170.0

+15.510

6

10

6

Stefan BRADL

GER

LCR Honda MotoGP

Honda

169.1

+27.519

7

9

19

Alvaro BAUTISTA

SPA

GO&FUN Honda Gresini

Honda

168.9

+31.598

8

8

41

Aleix ESPARGARO

SPA

Power Electronics Aspar

ART

168.8

+32.405

9

7

38

Bradley SMITH

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Yamaha

168.7

+33.751

10

6

4

Andrea DOVIZIOSO

ITA

Ducati Team

Ducati

168.7

+33.801

11

5

69

Nicky HAYDEN

USA

Ducati Team

Ducati

168.7

+34.371

12

4

14

Randy DE PUNIET

FRA

Power Electronics Aspar

ART

167.1

+57.674

13

3

29

Andrea IANNONE

ITA

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing

Ducati

166.9

+1'01.424

14

2

51

Michele PIRRO

ITA

Ignite Pramac Racing

Ducati

166.9

+1'01.561

15

1

17

Karel ABRAHAM

CZE

Cardion AB Motoracing

ART

166.7

+1'04.426

16

9

Danilo PETRUCCI

ITA

Came IodaRacing Project

Ioda-Suter

166.3

+1'11.114

17

5

Colin EDWARDS

USA

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

FTR Kawasaki

166.0

+1'15.249

18

71

Claudio CORTI

ITA

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

FTR Kawasaki

165.4

+1'24.884

19

68

Yonny HERNANDEZ

COL

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART

165.3

+1'25.854

20

8

Hector BARBERA

SPA

Avintia Blusens

FTR

165.3

+1'25.978

21

67

Bryan STARING

AUS

GO&FUN Honda Gresini

FTR Honda

165.3

+1'26.256

22

70

Michael LAVERTY

GBR

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

165.3

+1'26.610

23

22

Ivan SILVA

SPA

Avintia Blusens

FTR

164.5

+1'38.173

Not Classified

52

Lukas PESEK

CZE

Came IodaRacing Project

Ioda-Suter

161.6

16 Laps

MotoGP Standings

1

Dani PEDROSA

Honda

SPA

136

2

Jorge LORENZO

Yamaha

SPA

127

3

Marc MARQUEZ

Honda

SPA

113

4

Cal CRUTCHLOW

Yamaha

GBR

87

5

Valentino ROSSI

Yamaha

ITA

85

6

Andrea DOVIZIOSO

Ducati

ITA

65

7

Stefan BRADL

Honda

GER

51

8

Nicky HAYDEN

Ducati

USA

50

9

Alvaro BAUTISTA

Honda

SPA

47

10

Aleix ESPARGARO

ART

SPA

44

11

Bradley SMITH

Yamaha

GBR

41

12

Michele PIRRO

Ducati

ITA

30

13

Andrea IANNONE

Ducati

ITA

24

14

Randy DE PUNIET

ART

FRA

15

15

Hector BARBERA

FTR

SPA

13

16

Danilo PETRUCCI

Ioda-Suter

ITA

13

17

Colin EDWARDS

FTR Kawasaki

USA

10

18

Ben SPIES

Ducati

USA

9

19

Yonny HERNANDEZ

ART

COL

6

20

Claudio CORTI

FTR Kawasaki

ITA

4

21

Michael LAVERTY

PBM

GBR

3

22

Karel ABRAHAM

ART

CZE

3

23

Bryan STARING

FTR Honda

AUS

2

24

Hiroshi AOYAMA

FTR

JPN

1

25

Javier DEL AMOR

FTR

SPA

1

--From motogp.com

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John Hopkins

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