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Results Dutch Grandprix, Assen, The Netherlands
Posted by: newsla on Jun 29, 2014 - 06:05 AM
Results Dutch Grandprix, Assen, The Netherlands

Honda’s defending World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) claimed an eighth win in eight races at the Dutch TT today, with team-mate Dani Pedrosa joining him on the podium to make a double celebration for the factory team, in a race made complicated by typically unsettled Assen weather.


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Victory in the all-Honda Moto2 class was backed by first and second in an exciting Moto3 race ensuring every Dutch TT winner today was powered by Honda.

The 21-year-old Marquez had to conquer treacherously changeable conditions at the classic 4.542-km Assen circuit, where rain showers alternated with clear spells on a surface that dries quickly. It made tyre tactics crucial, and dictated a mid-race change of bikes in the first flag-to-flag event this year.

Most riders started the 26-lapper on wet tyres, and Marquez led a tentative field away for the first five laps, pursued by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) on a track that was drying quickly.

At the end of lap six Marquez was the first into the pits to change to a bike with slick tyres to suit the changed conditions, followed directly by Dovizioso. But the Italian took over the lead as Marquez narrowly survived a slide on his out lap that took him off the track onto the run-off, losing four seconds on his rival.

Marquez was able to whittle away at the gap, finally catching and directly passing Dovizioso on lap 16. From there he was unchallenged to the end, and had enough time to spare to mime the actions of a swimmer over the line, lying on the tank of his class-leading RC213V Honda with his legs kicking out behind.

Former 125 and Moto2 World Champion Marquez is already the youngest ever World Champion, winning at his first attempt on the Repsol Honda last season. His eighth win in eight races is another significant boost to his ever-growing lead on points this year, now 72 points, with the season not yet halfway over.

Third place for a second successive race also boosted former 125cc and double 250cc champion Pedrosa’s position. The experienced Repsol Honda RC213V rider is now equal on points for second overall with Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who finished fifth today.

Pedrosa pitted for a bike change one lap after Marquez, having closed up on fast-starting pole qualifier Aleix Espargaro (Yamaha). They came out of the pits almost together, and were furiously engaged for much of the rest of the race, changing places a number of times, before Pedrosa managed to claim a decisive advantage with eight laps remaining.

The many pit stops and frequently changing fortunes made it a complicated race to follow for the huge crowd of 90,000; all the more so when rain started to fall again briefly after 12 laps, though it never amounted to a real shower.

The other Honda riders endured mixed fortunes as a result.

Former 125 champion Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) recovered from a poor start to take seventh, among a to-and-fro group of five riders. German former Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) bounced back after slipping off on the sighting lap to finish tenth.

GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R rider Scott Redding was best of the four production-racer Hondas, built to new Open category rules, with 12th place. Czech racer Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) was 14th; but Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R team-mates Hiroshi Aoyama and Nicky Hayden were out of the points, crossing the line 16th and 17th respectively. Aoyama is a former 250cc World Champion, and Hayden the 2006 MotoGP champion, both on Hondas.

In Moto2 all riders are supplied with identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines to ensure reliable and closely matched racing. Conditions similar to or even worse than those in the premier class saw several different riders lead the race, only to slip off on a wet but drying surface.

This left victory to the oldest and most experienced rider in the class. Thirty-two-year-old Australian Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up) had led the pursuit, and watched from a safe distance as early leaders Sam Lowes (Speed Up Speed Up) and Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing Kalex) paid the price of challenging the treacherous surface.

West’s only other GP victory also came at Assen in wet conditions – in the 250cc class, eleven years ago.

He had to fight to the end to hold two challengers at bay, with Maverick Vinales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) both crossing the line within eight tenths of the leader.

Second Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex rider Luis Salom had been in this battle, but slipped off and remounted to claim a single point in 15th, two places behind the remounted Corsi.

French rider Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Caterham-Suter) was fourth, Alex de Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2 Suter) fifth, and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Suter) sixth, separated by over seven seconds, with Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) close behind in seventh.

Points leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) had started from pole, but had a difficult race after falling on the sighting lap and only able to make the start because it was delayed by the weather. He finished eighth after triumphing over Lorenzo Baldassarri (Gresini Moto2 Suter). Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex) completed the top ten.

Rabat’s championship lead over Kallio shrank to 26 points, with Vinales another 22 behind.

Moto3, the first race of the day, was the only one to be dry throughout, and brought a first one-two finish for the new Honda NSF250RW, which is up against rival manufacturers in the keenly competitive category.

It was also a second win in succession for the younger of the Marquez brothers, Alex, who scored a decisive runaway at Barcelona two weeks before.

Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) took over the lead on lap two, after pole starter Jack Miller (KTM) crashed out on the first corner. His only challenge came from team-mate Alex Rins, who caught and passed him at half distance, after Marquez had run wide and lost time.

Rins led briefly, but suffering from foot fractures sustained in Barcelona he wasn’t able to sustain the pace – instead falling back into the hands of Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra). Rins ceded second to his rival for a game of cat-and-mouse, stalking to the end then pouncing under braking for the final corner to regain the position.

All six Moto3 Hondas finished in the points, with Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) emerging triumphant from a fierce battle for fourth, at the head of a pack of six over the line within less than half a second.

Title contender Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda) was a close sixth, and team-mate John McPhee tenth, narrowly at the back of the group. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) was 14th.

With Miller and championship second-place man Romano Fenati (KTM) both crashing out, Marquez’s second win puts him equal on points with Fenati, and just seven behind Miller.

The next race is the German GP at Sachsenring in two weeks.

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st
“It was a tough day because this was a race where I could have lost many points, but we were still able to extend our lead in the championship. So I’m very pleased with how it has gone and how we dealt with the flag-to-flag. It was our first experience of a race like this, with both wet and dry conditions, and we even had a little scare after the bike change. We are very happy with this victory and to have got a very important 25 points on a weekend we had circled on the calendar as possibly difficult.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“It was a very difficult race and even a bit chaotic at first, when it came to having to decide which tyres to put on the bike. I kept a cool head and chose the option of wets, because at first the track was a little damp. I should have pushed more on the opening laps as the track began to dry out – but I chose not to in case it rained again. The rain didn’t come and I had a good fight with Aleix for the podium in the dry. I am happy to have taken the rostrum finish, because you never know how races like today’s might go. This one went well for us and we are now focusing on doing a good job in Germany.”

Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 7th
“Today we faced very tricky conditions. We went to the starting grid with the bike set for dry conditions, but it started to rain so we had a new starting procedure in order to change the bike for the wet. Then when we went back to the starting grid, the track was already drying out in some areas. In the early laps I felt comfortable in the wet and I was able to overtake some riders in front of me, but after only four laps we had to change the bike because the track at that point was already almost dry. With the other bike I hadn’t the same feeling, I struggled a lot to get the tyres to the right temperature. In the end seventh is not too bad, even if we were very close to the top five. However, after the retirement in Barcelona we needed to end the race and take some points.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 10th
“It was a disappointing weekend for us and a crazy race which I did not enjoy at all. I crashed during the sighting lap on my dry bike and I immediately thought that I was living a nightmare. I tried to jump back on my bike but it was very damaged so I climbed over the wall running back to my garage to take the second bike. It was set-up for wet conditions and in that moment it was raining so we started the race like this but for me it was tough for me to find the right feeling in the wet. Unfortunately I was not fast enough and it took me too much time to find the speed. After some laps I entered the pits to swap the bike to go but it was probably too late…. maybe I should have done it one lap earlier. But even in the dry we missed some speed to perform well. I am really looking forward to my home race now because I can count on the support of my crowd.”

Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 12th
“Today was my first MotoGP race in the wet, so to be honest I was a bit scared in the beginning because I didn’t know what to expect. We started from the back of the grid with rain tyres, but I was not too sure about track conditions, so in the early stages I was quite slow because I struggled to understand the tyres in these conditions. After only a few laps when the track started to dry out, I came into the pits to change the bike. We chose a good time to do it and we made a good gap. In the dry I was quite fast, I passed Lorenzo and then I followed Pol Espargaro and this gave me big motivation; when Pol crashed I had just to maintain the same lap times. It feels good to be the first Open Class Honda in these tricky conditions.”

Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing Honda: 14th
“It was pretty crazy race from the beginning. The starting procedure was confusing, so I missed the chance to do two sighting laps. My team did very good job while changing the bike: on the other hand if we had done two laps earlier, we would have had a higher position. However this result is very positive. I was able to overtake many riders in our group and leave them far behind me. And I cut a lot from the gap between me and Redding in the end. If we had better luck and better tactics, the result should be much better.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 16th
“Today we had a very tough race, especially from the moment that we had to swap bikes. I felt very comfortable with the wet setup at the start. We were able to push hard and gain positions as we closed in on the front-runners. When the track dried out I found it hard to change bikes. On the bike with the dry setup my feeling was worse and I was not as fast as yesterday. I lost many positions as a result. This weekend I had a new front fork available that has allowed me to ride faster, and although the result was not what we had hoped for I am happy with the way I felt at this Grand Prix. I hope that in Germany we can get a better result.”

Nicky Hayden, Drive M7 Aspar Honda, 17th
“The conditions for today’s race were quite tough. Even so, I started pretty well in the wet. The bike worked perfectly at the start of the race, which allowed me to enjoy riding and overtake several riders. Unfortunately for us it did not continue raining and the track dried out, so we had to change bikes. Leaving the pits I noticed something strange in the acceleration of the bike. I also had some problems with the front end that prevented me from pushing hard. During the two laps after changing bikes I lost a lot of time and positions. Also, in the dry I did not manage to go as fast as I had expected. This weekend has been quite frustrating for us. Now it is time to focus on Germany and a good result there to take the bad taste from this round away.”

Moto2 Rider quotes

Anthony West, QMMF Racing Team: 1st
“There was a lot of confusion on the grid – I wanted to change to slick tyres, but I’m really glad I didn’t. I got a good start, and after that I just kept pushing and tried to keep it clean. I was held up lapping another rider, but it worked out okay in the end. It’s great to win again after such a long time: I had a lot of things I wanted to prove for myself more than for anyone else. The last few years have been stressful … I’m happy to be back.

Maverick Vinales, Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Team: 2nd
“The really important thing today was to stay on the bike. I tried to get ahead but it was too risky, although I didn’t give up. Anthony wasn’t making it easy. The best thing was to finish, and the 20 points for the championship are very welcome. Thanks to my team.”

Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: 3rd
“At the start, when the track was completely wet, my feeling with the bike wasn’t good. I didn’t have any grip, but I knew from the part-wet practice session in Mugello that, as soon as the track started to dry, the feeling would be better. I nearly didn’t find out, as I almost highsided myself out of the race in the fully wet conditions, but as a dry line started to appear I was able to push much harder and eventually catch the two guys at the front of the race. In the end my lap times were getting quicker, but so were the other two, and in the end I decided third was better than taking more risk. I’ve closed the gap slightly on Tito in the championship, which was my main aim.”

Honda Moto3 Rider quotes

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Team, 1st
“I am very happy to get a second straight win. It was a very strange race and I had a hard time from the beginning, because the track conditions had changed a lot from yesterday. On the early laps I was not entirely comfortable and there was a risk of crashing. I had a scare on the first lap, because it was very windy and the wind was lifting the bike up. I made mistake later on and was caught by Alex. From mid-race onwards I improved and at the end I felt very comfortable. I knew I could keep up the pace that we had and, when I saw that I was breaking away, I tried to stay focused. I’m also happy for the team and for Honda, because they are doing a great job.”

Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Team: 2nd
“This second place somewhat offsets all that we suffered this weekend; I am very happy. In the race, when I was behind Alex and he ran off the track I was able to catch him, but I could not follow him because I started to make mistakes –partly because the pain in my foot prevented me from concentrating fully. Later, when Miguel Oliveira passed me, I focused on studying his lines and finally I was able to pass him back at the end.”

Alexis Masbou, Ongetta Rivacold Team: 4th
“It was a crazy last lap … I am happy because we improved all weekend and step by step we come back on the front. This weekend was not easy with the weather, and it is difficult to stay focused on the limit, but I did a good qualifying so I thought a good race would be possible. I took the risk to use the medium tyre even though it would be more slippery after a few laps, but the pace was not fast because there was such a big group, so that was okay. I am happy for this result after a difficult start to the year, for all the team.”

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