Spain’s Maverick Viñales delivered a strong race performance at the Motul TT Assen round, riding his YZR-M1 to a brilliant victory after a hard fight at the front, but team-mate Valentino Rossi’s luckless streak continued in the Netherlands. Rossi suffered a crash on lap five, ending his challenge prematurely.
Spain’s defending champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) finished runner-up at Assen and extended his championship lead, while French Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo completed the podium.
Viñales had a good start from P2, but a wobble in turn one left him a bit unsettled. He fell back to fourth, which he held crossing the finish line for the first time.
There was a small scrap between him and Marquez early on, until the number-12 rider noticed the three front men getting away, prompting him to make his move. As he chased the race leaders, frontrunner Álex Rins crashed. It didn‘t shake up the Yamaha rider though. He passed Joan Mir, and then the battle with Marquez and Quartararo really started.
The 24-year-old was in third place for a while and was having a good look behind Marquez with 14 laps to go, deciding carefully where he would make his move. He first led the race on lap 16, but Marquez proved difficult to shake. With 9 laps to go, the Yamaha rider ran wide going into Turn 1 and fell back to second place, but it was only briefly.
He retaliated, reclaiming the P1 spot. It was the right moment to put his head down, and this time he broke free from his rival. He showed his incredible race pace, setting a personal best lap of 1‘33.720s on lap 21.
The Spaniard kept his concentration until the very end and took the chequered flag with a 4.854s advantage.
Rossi did well to manoeuvre himself through the busy mid-pack in the early stages of the race. Setting off from 14th, he held his position in the opening lap and gained a place on the next. He had found a set-up he liked in this morning’s warm-up, and it clearly worked for him in the early stages of the race as he swiftly moved up to 11th place in lap three.
However bad luck struck for the third time in a row. Eager to hit the front, the Italian attempted to overtake Takaaki Nakagami on lap five but suffered a fast crash in turn eight, Rossi unfortunately taking his rival down with him. Thankfully, Rossi was quickly back on his feet and able to check on his fellow rider, but he could not resume his challenge.
The NC result means Rossi stays in fifth position in the championship standings with an 88-point gap to first. Viñales on the other hand moves up from eleventh to seventh in the rankings, with a 95-point margin to the top.
Racing carries on next week, when the riders take on the Sachsenring for the German GP.
“It feels like I’m dreaming,” said Viñales. “These have been difficult times for me, because I’ve been out of the three tracks where I thought I had the most potential with the bike. My season has been difficult, but I’ve tried to keep the momentum from Catalunya, because I felt really good on the bike.
“I’m so grateful to the team, because they did a great job this weekend and prepared well for the last laps of the race. I was strong, even one-to-one on the brakes, I knew I could make the overtakes. It was very important to relieve some of the pressure by taking a victory. I think the team will be more relaxed now.
“Being back on the top step of the podium again feels really good and bringing Yamaha back to its winning ways is the most important to me. We knew we had the potential but hadn’t been able to show it. It’s always a combination between the team’s, the rider’s, and the bike’s efforts. Sachsenring is a track I’m usually fast at, so we’ll try our best.”
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Dutch MotoGP – Race Results
- Maverick Viñales SPA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) 40m 55.415s
- Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +4.854s
- Fabio Quartararo FRA Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1) +9.738s
- Andrea Dovizioso ITA Mission Winnow Ducati (GP19) +14.147s
- Franco Morbidelli ITA Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1) +14.467s
- Danilo Petrucci ITA Mission Winnow Ducati (GP19) +14.794s
- Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) +18.361s
- Joan Mir SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) +24.268s
- Jack Miller AUS Pramac Ducati (GP19) +26.496s
- Andrea Iannone ITA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) +26.997s
- Pol Espargaro SPA Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) +28.732s
- Aleix Espargaro SPA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) +34.095s
- Miguel Oliveira POR Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16) +34.181s
- Francesco Bagnaia ITA Pramac Ducati (GP18) +34.249s
- Hafizh Syahrin MAL Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16) +34.494s
- Tito Rabat SPA Reale Avintia Ducati (GP18) +48.357s
- Karel Abraham CZE Reale Avintia Ducati (GP18) +1 lap
Johann Zarco FRA Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) DNF
Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V) DNF
Valentino Rossi ITA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) DNF
Alex Rins SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) DNF
- Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) 160
- Andrea Dovizioso ITA Mission Winnow Ducati (GP19) 116 (-44)
- Danilo Petrucci ITA Mission Winnow Ducati (GP19) 108 (-52)
- Alex Rins SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 101 (-59)
- Valentino Rossi ITA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) 72 (-88)
- Fabio Quartararo FRA Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1) 67 (-93)
- Maverick Viñales SPA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) 65 (-95)
- Jack Miller AUS Pramac Ducati (GP19) 60 (-100)
- Pol Espargaro SPA Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 52 (-108)
- Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 51 (-109)
- Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V) 48 (-112)
- Franco Morbidelli ITA Petronas Yamaha (YZR-M1) 45 (-115)
- Aleix Espargaro SPA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 31 (-129)
- Joan Mir SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 30 (-130)
- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) 19 (-141)
- Andrea Iannone ITA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 18 (-142)
- Johann Zarco FRA Red Bull KTM Factory (RC16) 16 (-144)
- Miguel Oliveira POR Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16) 15 (-145)
- Francesco Bagnaia ITA Pramac Ducati (GP18) 11 (-149)
- Michele Pirro ITA Mission Winnow Ducati (GP19) 9 (-151)
- Tito Rabat SPA Reale Avintia Ducati (GP18) 9 (-151)
- Stefan Bradl GER HRC (RC213V) 6 (-154)
- Sylvain Guintoli FRA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 3 (-157)
- Hafizh Syahrin MAL Red Bull KTM Tech3 (RC16) 3 (-157)
- Karel Abraham CZE Reale Avintia Ducati (GP18) 2 (-158)