Motul TT Assen
1 July 2018
Assen Circuit in Netherlands
The "Cathedral Of Speed" lives up to its name with race long battles.
Márquez Steals His Fourth Win Of The Year
The MotoGP race, the Motul TT of Assen was more than spectacular. With over 100 overtakes, six different race leaders and numerous amounts of fairing bashing and rider clashes. Which made it one of the best MotoGP races of all time, an unforgettable Dutch TT.
Marc Márquez took a very hard fought victory, only just beating his rivals to take the victory at the Assen circuit. Márquez won a truly hectic battle in the clash of the titans in the Assen race.
Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda Factory Team, managed to fight off all of the nine contenders in the leading pack, ahead of Álex Rins, Ecstar Suzuki, and Maverick Viñales, MoviStar Yamaha MotoGP Factory Racing Team.
In one of the most exciting races of the year, the 'Cathedral of Speed' lived up to its name. It was any ones race right until the flag dropped at the finish, and it was Márquez who emerged the winner, with the very best riders in the world, Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Andrea Dovizioso, the Brit Cal Crutchlow, LCR Castrol Honda, Jorge Lorenzo, Álex Rins and Johann Zarco all chasing him to the very end of the race.
The podium of Márquez, Rins and Viñales, all battled to the end in the closest finishes of the top fifteen of all time, the race was so close with lots of passes and re-passing throughout the race.
At the flag the top five riders were only separated by two seconds. All eight riders finished within a second of each other, from Lorenzo down to Johann Zarco, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, at the back of the gang of hooligans, all causing mayhem of the Dutch circuit! The blue torch paper was lit as the lights went out on an absolute and memorable classic race.
The Assen Hot Qualifying
It was not only the Assen hot weather that was hot it was also the scalding hot action in Q2. The result of qualifying was anybody's guess. As the leader swapped so many times in the 15 minute session.
The hot temperatures at the TT Circuit Assen saw a blistering pace in Q2. In the final stages of the Q2 session. Many riders doing their fastest laps in the last 60 seconds.
It was a mad dash for pole as in the final 30 seconds saw everything change and then change again! It was a right yo-yo fight for the pole. Everything went down to the last 30 seconds in one of the closest qualifying ever!
Eventually it was Márquez who took pole from Brit Cal Crutchlow who scorched to second ahead of Rossi.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales rode to the limit on their last flying lap and took third and sixth.
Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda Team, muscling his Honda round the 4.5 km, (2.82 miles) Assen circuit, to set the fastest time of the day at Assen, only his second of 2018.
All the riders were so incredibly close time-wise in qualifying at the 'Cathedral of Speed'. The top ten were all within 0.376 seconds and the biggest gap between any two riders is only 0.063, making for a stunning race day.
Cal Crutchlow on his LCR Honda Castrol, did an incredible time to take second and once again the top Independent Team rider, ahead of 10-time winner at Assen Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, getting his target of the front row. Rossi had one mission for Q2, getting on the front row, which he achieved. After a fast crash earlier in the day, in FP4, he soon got up to speed again during the manic Q2.
Lorenzo, Ducati Factory Team and Andrea Iannone, Team Suzuki Ecstar, both thought they had done enough to take pole, that is before the others did their last lap!
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, who went top in Q2. He had to go into Q1 and was fastest. In Q2 Zarco went top in the last few seconds of Q2, but within a split second was pushed down to eight by the faster riders in the dying seconds.
Márquez took over at the top, just 0.041 in front of Cal Crutchlow and 0.059 ahead of Rossi Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Factory Team, got on to the second row being only 0.079 of a second off pole!
He is joined on Row 2 by the other Q1 graduate Álex Rins, Team Suzuki Ecstar, who impressed on his first run and his second to take P5. Friday's fastest, Maverick Viñales, Movistar Yamaha, finished in sixth and only two tenths from the pole time.
Spaniard Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, was seventh fastest ahead of Iannone, who lost out in the last few seconds, making it five manufacturers in the top seven.
A pleased Valentino Rossi told us
"I'm so happy about the front row because I crashed in FP4, so I lost some feeling. It wasn't easy, but I did three laps with the first tyre and recovered my line and my rhythm, and after that it was a 'waiting game'. Everybody was waiting but I was in a good position.
"It was exciting because it was a really hot lap! Normally the top riders are really close, but this weekend even more so. You have many riders and three or four different bikes that can fight for the victory, so this makes it really important to start from the front row. Now we just wait for tomorrow. We hope the weather will stay like this. We have to improve some details and also the tyre choice will be very important, because all the three options are not so bad. It will be important to find the right way."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco in his first Q1 session, the fast Frenchman took the top spot and did a 1'33.072 in Q2, after topping the times with seconds to go, he was quickly pushed down to eight, only missing out on pole by just 0.281 seconds, he'll start the race from the middle of the third row.
MotoGP Qualifying 1 Classification
Saturday, 30 June 2018
MotoGP Qualifying 2 Classification
Saturday, 30 June 2018
The first day of practice at the 2018 Assen MotoGP
Movistar Yamaha rider, Maverick Viñales was fastest in free practise two at Assen in the sunshine on the softer option rear tyre, with Márquez six tenths behind.
Viñales Friday time of 1:33.378 was less than a second slower than the pole record. He did it on a soft tyre so although very fast, it does mean he may not be as fast on race tyres.
Marc Márquez was impressive. Although he was only eighth overall, he was on the hardest of three tyre compounds. Márquez was concentrating on race pace rather than a blitz lap like that of Viñales.
Sunshine blessed the Assen circuit in the Netherlands, where in the past more inclement weather is the norm. More good weather is forecast for the rest of the weekend.
Márquez will be there with both barrels firing, to shoot a fast time in qualifying.
The top 13 were all close, all within one second, this shows just how competitive and close all the manufactures are now. Which is thanks to Dorna and their strategies of engine and electronics management regulations. No single manufacturer has any advantage, it's now down to rider skill, chassis and suspension, and braking management.
Andrea Iannone, Ecstar Suzuki, showed good one-lap pace to slot into second, ahead of Team Alma Pramac's Danilo Petrucci, best of the Ducati's.
Last year's race winner Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha, was a close fourth, ahead of Cal Crutchlow, factory spec LCR Castrol Honda and Andrea Dovizioso, factory Ducati, who was fastest for much of the session.
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati, was seventh, a tenth faster than Márquez. Álex Rins, Suzuki and Johann Zarco, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, were the top ten.
The infamous De Bult corner caught out both Lorenzo and Zarco who crashed there and Pol Espargaró, KTM was also a faller while Márquez managed to save himself several times during both of the practice sessions and didn't come off for a change!
MotoGP Free Practice 3 Classification
Saturday, 30 June 2018
MotoGP Free Practice 2 Classification
Friday, 29 June 2018
MotoGP Free Practice 1 Classification
Friday, 29 June 2018
As the start lights went out, Márquez shot away to lead from pole position, with Britain's Cal Crutchlow right on his tail from second on the grid, until Lorenzo got by them both. The Spaniard starting from tenth on the grid quickly went to first with his lightening start. The winner of the Italian and Catalan GP's didn't waste any time to take the lead. With the two side by side, Márquez and Lorenzo battled it out. Márquez got back in front a lap later at Turn 15, before Lorenzo re-took the lead. This was only the first of so many throughout the race.
It was all happening, and hard to keep up with so many passed going on all the time! At the front Lorenzo passed Crutchlow and then Márquez to lead, for quite a lot of laps as the battle raged behind him. It was the squabbling of those in his wake that enabled him to for so long. Rossi made a daring pass on Márquez at Ramshoek and then Crutchlow at Du Bult, and chased after Lorenzo.
Rossi made his attack at the final chicane, and passed both Lorenzo and Márquez, after Rossi had bashed into the rear of the Ducati. It looked like Lorenzo had missed a gear, but he hadn't, only Rossi got tremendous drive out the previous corner and accelerated so fast he was unable to avoid him. Both managed to stay on and stayed ahead of Márquez, Dovizioso, Rins, Crutchlow and Viñales all fighting out to be at the front. As Lorenzo began to drop back. And on it went like that throughout the exciting race of the year so far!
Viñales slipped by Crutchlow at Stekkenwal corner, as Rossi took the lead from Lorenzo to the cheers of the crowd. Dovizioso managed a clever pass on Márquez at the Strubben hairpin,
Then Dovizioso swooped past team mate Lorenzo and went after Rossi, Márquez got by Lorenzo at the fast Ramshoek. Dovizioso managed to pass Rossi at the De Built turn, with Márquez menacing in third. Rossi then retook Dovizioso at the tricky Duikersloot corner. Rins pushed by Crutchlow and then Viñales at Stekkenwal. Rins passed Lorenzo at Haarbocht, and Crutchlow got on the inside of Viñales at the sweeping fast right hander of Ossebroeken, Dovizioso passed Rossi again at the left turn De Bult as Viñales passed Crutchlow once more, Márquez re-took Rins and got passed Dovizioso at Duikersloot and then took Rossi to lead again.
Then Dovizioso at turn 7 he got it all wrong on the brakes to push Rossi out and they both went wide so Rins and Viñales swept by them both.
Rins daringly got inside Márquez at the right of Stekkenwal but it was short lived as Márquez returned the favour to pass Rins again. Rossi again re-took Dovizioso on the fast left of Ramshoek.
It was Márquez edging out in front as the others battled on. Then Viñales passed Rins and pushed to try to catch Márquez. But he made a mistake and let Rins through again
Viñales tried all he knew to get in front of Rins but ran out of laps. As Crutchlow got by a fading Lorenzo. In the last few laps, much to Rossi's dismay Dovizioso dived inside him again on the De Bult turn to take fourth.
Márquez managed to stay ahead to win for the fourth time this year, with Rins getting his best ever MotoGP result with second, by keeping in front of Viñales who took third followed by Dovizioso and Rossi.
Álex Rins took his best ever MotoGP result so far, just crossing the line ahead of Maverick Viñales to take second place with Viñales third. Andrea Dovizioso was fourth, with Valentino Rossi fifth. Cal Crutchlow was sixth across the line with Jorge Lorenzo crossing the line in seventh place. Johann Zarco was eighth with Alvaro Bautista and Jack Miller crossing the line ninth and tenth.
Márquez now has a good lead, 41 points in the Championship ahead of Valentino Rossi who took fifth.
The Assen Podium of Álex Rins, Suzuki, Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda and Maverick Viñales, MoviStar Yamaha Racing Team,
Sunday, 1 July 2018
MotoGP World Championship Standings
2 July 2018
Statistics supplied by motogp.com with thanks
Post Race Rider Interviews
Winner Marc Márquez Spanish Repsol Honda Team #93 Points 25
"Yeah it was a crazy race, yesterday I already expected a little bit but not like it was.
"It was a race full of adrenaline, this feeling is one of the reasons we do this sport! It was a wild bunch, everyone fighting against everyone; I think all of us made contact with somebody else at some point.
"We were trying to attack but at the same time defend the position, we had to attack and defend, attack and defend. We had so many 'big moments' and risked crashing. It was crazy! It was hard to analyse and to try, it was impossible to find the best strategy, and 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 tyres, 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, now it's time to breath, finish the lap and yeah to finish in first position was the most important thing.
"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."
Second Álex Rins Spanish Team Suzuki Ecstar #42 Points 20
"This morning I was feeling really sick, some problems with my stomach. But the doctors at Clinica Mobile gave me some medicine and it took away the pain, so I must really thank them, because when I felt better I thought 'wow, this will be my race!'
"It was a fantastic battle, I understood and learnt a lot of things in the race, I was feeling strong and our race pace was good and I was able to enjoy it! There were a lot of over-takes and tight moves, so I was always trying to push to stay with the others and hold my space.
"I feel very positive with my bike and with my team, a lot of riders overtook at Turn 5, I saw two laps before I overtook Marc on the same corner that he was overtaking a lot of riders there so I tried to do the same. When I was in fourth or fifth they had gone a little bit, I was always trying to push push push because I knew they would start to overtake and to rider slower than me and finally I arrived.
"I am so happy for this result. Now we all really want to improve and win. We've had a really competitive bike since Qatar, but we've been able to change a few things to get extra power and better performance, so I hope I can stay at the top for the next races too. I feel confident for Sachsenring."
Third Maverick Viñales Spanish Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #25 Points 16
"For sure I'm very happy because we were struggling a lot in the first laps but it seems that today it worked. We've been studying how to improve the first laps, we worked hard, and it was good to feel strong I felt really strong but then the tire made a big drop, especially in the middle of the race but I think we can solve this pretty easily for the next races.
"The TT Assen track helps a little, because I'm fast here, but for the other tracks we need to continue to work hard. My plan today was to get to first place and push, that's why I didn't want to let Marc pass me in turn 9. Then I went very close to the gravel, because I braked so late.
"Anyway, it's nice to be back and nice to be strong. We weren't in the best position to win, because we started a little bit towards the back, but in the next races we need to think back to this weekend, because this strategy works. On lap 6 I rode a 1'34.1s. I thought I could ride faster towards the end, but I got a little bit of arm pump and couldn't control the speed and it was crazy.
"Last year in Germany was a good race, I was quite strong, and we need to keep working like this. We know the way to go fast in Sachsenring, so it's time to work and get the job done."
Fourth Andrea Dovizioso Italian Ducati Team #04 Points 13
"It was an awesome race, for sure more for the fans than the riders because it was really difficult!
"We were fast and competitive and we worked well throughout the entire weekend, but in the last eight laps the rear tyre unfortunately let up on me so I tried to defend my position until the end and I finished fourth.
"I had hoped for a podium, but to be honest today we couldn't do anything more and so in the end I'm happy, even though we must be in a position to manage the tyres better because we arrived at the end of the race with very little grip. In any case we did a good job and for this I'd like to thank my team."
"It was crazy. A nice battle but it was very difficult because there was a lot of wind and there was a lot of bikes and the riding style of the riders is completely different so it was crazy for that.
"To fight for the almost victory, at Assen, for me is something very important and I think I did everything in the right way. The negative point was we didn't have the power at the end to get our rhythm and to try to fight with Marc. That is that bad point but it's ok."
Fifth Valentino Rossi Italian Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #46 Points 11
"It was a wild race. I'm so happy to have been there because it was so exciting for the whole race, but I'm sad because I think I had the potential to arrive on the podium.
"The problem was that at the beginning I was very lucky with Lorenzo. Lorenzo touched the curb and lost the front at a very high speed. I was already accelerating, but I overtook him in a good way, and we didn't crash, so that was very good. After, during the race, it was very difficult and I tried to control the tyre degradation, because I had the soft option on the rear, so I knew that at the end it could be very much on the limit.
"With four or five laps to go I tried to attack. I was doing well, because I was in second place. When fighting with Dovizioso, he tried to overtake me in the first corner, but he arrived a little in delay so, unfortunately, I had to go outside of the track. We lost a lot of time, me especially. I lost especially… but we lost a lot. I think it was an aggressive overtake, like a lot of the aggressive overtakes during the race but especially it was not strategically very clever, because I think that me and Dovi had the potential to get on the podium and because of this we arrived 4th and 5th. Because of his mistake it cost me another podium.
"Overall I am quite happy with the race because we worked hard all weekend, we improved a lot and I was competitive, so now we go to Germany and the Sachsenring, we can be fast there so we go and hope for my return to the podium."
Sixth Cal Crutchlow British LCR Honda Castrol Team #35 Points 10
"Yeah it was really good, I didn't like to be in the battle too much, I'd have preferred to be four guys because it would have made it a little bit easier but this is the situation.
"I said I thought seven or eight guys could be on the podium and it seemed that way. I just think the last two laps were my downfall because it went past the 100% wear gage on the tyre it seems and I made a big mistake when I passed Valentino Rossi and thought I could push for 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 tyre was too soft for the Hondas it seemed - this is why you probably saw Marc Márquez get past on the 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."
Seventh Jorge Lorenzo Spanish Ducati Team #99 Points 9
"Today has been an unexpected first part of the race because I didn't have the pace, I struggled so much especially with the wind, and it was a windy race so I expected to suffer so much. The wind made the track conditions difficult and I knew it was going to be a complicated race.
"I made a very good start, one of my best with the Ducati, and I was able to gain a lot of positions and conclude the opening lap in the lead and I was lucky that everyone went to the inside line so I have a free track to make a very fast first corner. The pace wasn't very fast and I stayed in the lead for a lot of laps.
"Then, when Dovizioso passed me, I lost a bit of rhythm, I began to feel the gradual deterioration of the rear tyre, and several riders were able to pass me. The Vale incident was a frightening moment, a very dangerous moment, we've been very lucky not to crash together, the front closed in high speed, fifth gear, I entered too much on the inside and I touched the curb and the front close, I almost crash but I have to reduce a lot of speed and Valentino didn't expect that I'd reduce so much speed and he hit me from behind.
"The positive part of this weekend is that, even though we didn't have the best pace, we were able to do a great race in any case and be competitive for lots of laps, although I'm not very satisfied with the final position at the flag."
Eighth Johann Zarco French Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #5 Points 8
"This Sunday was a happy day. I saw a few things in the Warm Up and said to the team it's going to be difficult to fight and I want to make a few steps, just to be able to battle the guys, to be able to brake well and stay with them. I think, we did that step, so it has been a good feeling.
"The start was good, then Iannone overtook Rins and Rins had to go wide, anyway it has been complicate to gain positions in the beginning, but immediately I was feeling good, could pass Petrucci and came to Crutchlow and was able to stay with this fantastic group, that was riding well. I could stick with them, but it was not enough to really fight because we struggled during the weekend.
"Maybe it has been the step that was missing to be able to fight for the podium, but I need to be happy. Some good feelings are coming back and we are fourth in the championship, so in any case we need to keep being strong. Overall, it has been a great and funny race."
Ninth Alvaro Bautista Spanish Angel Nieto Ducati Team #19 Points 7
"We continue to improve steadily and this is the result of everything that we have been doing this season. At the start of the year we found it hard to get the right setup but we've never stopped working, and this weekend we've improved our qualifying showing to ride closer to the main group.
"I started well today but the first lap was crazy, with everyone trying to overtake. I found it hard to pass Miller, even though I felt faster than him, but when I eventually got by I was running the same pace as the front group. It's a pity, because if I would have started better, then I would have been with them. I'm very motivated and I feel stronger than ever."
Tenth Jack Miller 10th Australian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing Team #43 Points 6
"It was a complicated weekend. I couldn't find the right feeling. I was expecting a bit more to be honest, but in the race I managed to finish in the Top 10 and this is a good result. In Germany I want to do better".
British MotoGP Riders
Scott Redding 14th British Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #45 Points 2
"I am happy especially with the consistency I was able to maintain in the race. We made the right tyre choice.
"After warm up, I considered the hard option on the rear, thinking about duration, but after lapping well with the soft in practice, it was smart to ride the race with that one as well. I had fun, staying close to Pol and Aleix and managing to fend on Pedrosa's attacks.
"We worked well, calmly and without pressure and the results are clear. It is a small step forward. Now we need to continue in this direction."
Bradley Smith 17th British Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team #38
"The first half of the race was good and I was in the same group as Pol but then something strange happened with my rear tyre and we hadn't experienced anything like that all weekend.
"I had the same tyres as Pol we ended up pretty much on the canvas, so something went amiss there and we have to analyse everything. My tyre just fell off the earth and even in a straight line it was spinning.
"A frustrating way to end the race but these things happen. When the tyre was there I was competitive and fighting for points. I'll just have to accept that today wasn't my day."
After another exciting MotoGP Race at Assen we travel up the road to neighbouring Germany and the Sachsenring.
After a thrilling race in the Netherlands, what will happen in the next race? The ninth race of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship at the Sachsenring in Germany.
You will not want to miss it, when the MotoGP premier class riders go racing in Germany at the Sachsenring on Sunday, July 15th!
My Sachsenring race preview will be on here soon. With a look at the track, the local area and the best tasty food and drink of the area. And my race report will be here soon after the winner has taken the flag.
- Roland Potter