Round Eight – Assen
MotoGP Race Results / Report
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) took a stunning Grand Prix win at the Motul TT Assen, stalking the front before striking for the lead and stretching his legs to pull away from reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in the closing stages of what had been an exciting race.
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) followed up his record-breaking pole position on Saturday with another podium, impressing once again even as he continues to recover from arm pump surgery.
MotoGP Race Report
Alex Rins took the holeshot from third on the grid, the Suzuki man streaking away from the line and soon joined by impressive rookie teammate Joan Mir as he slotted into second with pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo in third follwed by Maverick Vinales. Marquez was next up, with Andrea Dovizioso and his Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci just behind.
Alex Rins was leading the race and looking very strong before the Suzuki man made a mistake under brakes and slid out of the lead, and the race. That left his team-mate Joan Mir in the lead of a MotoGP race for the first time ahead of fellow rookie Quartararo.
Mir ran a little wide while being pressured from behind which allowed Quartararo, Vinales and Marquez all through, demoting the #36 Suzuki back to fourth in one foul swoop.
Dovizioso had worked his way past Petrucci and then made short work of Joan Mir.
Vinales made a small mistake which allowed Marquez through to second place where the Honda man was tight on the back wheel of Quartararo. Marquez tried to attack, Quartararo resisted. After a slight lapse in momentum Viñales got back on their tail and it was a trio locked together in the lead.
They all made their mistakes in the ensuing laps. Viñales overcooked Turn 1 but reeled them back in, Marquez attacked Quartararo a lap later after the Frenchman’s Yamaha had a few too many head-shakes at speed and forced Fabio to get out of the throttle. Then Marquez had his own moment and the rookie was back in the lead. The trio were once again line astern, uneasily holding station.
With 11 laps to go, Viñales broke the stalemate. He attacked Marquez and got through before then homing in on Quartararo, pouncing at the same spot that Marquez had earlier as the Frenchman struggled again with more head-shake at high speed.
Marquez then sneaked past Vinales for the lead but the Yamaha man was having none of it, Maverick was riding with maximum aggression and determined to make this day a mark of triumph.
With six laps to go Vinales and Marquez were still both locked together and there was nothing in it, before gradually Viñales started to eke out a tenth here, and a tenth there. Vinales had finally broken Marquez and the Repsol Honda man was forced to relent as the risks became too high and the #93 looked to settle for second place and the 20-points that comes with it.
The top three all had their share of mini dramas during the race, but Viñales was then pitch perfect to the flag. Eventually, the gap was nearly five-seconds over the line and the Spaniard celebrated in style. It’s his first win since Phillip Island last year, Yamaha’s first of the season and one of his most impressive rides.
Quartararo took his second podium in succession in third after being in the heat of the battle for the first half of the race. The young Frenchman was clearly spent when he arrived in Parc Ferme, his recovery from recent arm pump surgery not yet quite complete.
Dovizioso had been locked in battle with Petrucci and Franco Morbidelli for much of the race before winning that war for fourth place.
Morbidelli eventually just beat Petrucci to complete the top five and equal his best ever premier class result.
Cal Crutchlow recovered from a big moment to take P7 and overhaul Mir impressive performance as the rookie finished eighth.
Jack Miller crossed the line in ninth after a trying weekend for the Aussie while Andrea Iannone completed the top ten for his best result of the season so far and some valuable points and encouragement for the Aprilia squad.
Pol Espargaro the first KTM home after escaping a battle behind that saw Aleix Espargaro best Miguel Oliveira with Francesco Bagnaia and Hafizh Syahrin also in the points, and all incredibly close all the way to the line.
There were a few names missing from the finishers along with Rins, the biggest of which was Valentino Rossi. The ‘Doctor’ had started from P14 on the grid and was making little headway before a mistake under brakes saw the #46 Yamaha go down, skittling LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami in the process.
Next up is the Sachsenring and that’s one of Marquez’ signature venues, so there will be some ominous music as the reigning Champion makes the short trip south. But with Viñales on form, Quartararo ever-closer despite his recent surgery and the likes of Rins with speed if not always luck, the last race before the summer break will be unmissable. And we only have days to wait as MotoGP reconvenes this weekend in Germany, a race meeting that will also herald the debut of the new MotoE category.