MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Repsol Honda RC213V riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez both took profit from today’s Dutch TT at Assen.
The younger rider Marquez had the better result, finishing second to continue a run of top-three finishes interrupted only once in his first MotoGP season; but Pedrosa had the comfort of extending his overall points lead, with a strong fourth place.
A crowd of 90,000 fans made the journey to the north of The Netherlands to the classic Assen circuit, to be rewarded with yet another close and exciting race, won by popular former multi-champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), his first victory since 2010. It was the climax to a dramatic weekend, when all top three championship rivals suffered crashes in damp and difficult practice sessions.
Pedrosa was lucky to escape injury, but Marquez was nursing not only painful bruising but also a fracture in the little finger of his right hand, and another in his right foot. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) broke his collar-bone on Thursday, underwent surgery that night, and returned to the track for the Saturday race, finishing fifth.
Marquez’s second place was his second this year in the MotoGP class after winning the Moto2 World Championship last year. He claimed a first win at only his second MotoGP race at Austin in Texas, second place at Jerez in round three, and has been third at every other race except in Italy for round five, when he crashed out while lying second.
He qualified second at Assen – his fourth time on the front row, but was displaced on the run into the first corner by flying team-mate Pedrosa. Marquez stayed with the older Repsol Honda RC213V rider as Rossi came past both of them on lap six of 26, and the trio kept close company as the laps counted down.
Then as Pedrosa’s pace dropped Marquez finally got ahead after several attempts with nine laps to go. He chased Rossi in vain, and at the end successfully fended of a fierce attack from third-placed Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha).
Pedrosa’s race started well, but the feeling didn’t last for the points leader, who has won twice this year so far. He took the lead into the first corner with a familiar jack-rabbit start from the second row; and stayed there for the first five laps, controlling the pace.
But the Spanish racer was expecting difficulties in the later laps. He’d been chasing grip issues all weekend, and as the tyres wore they returned with a vengeance. His valiant defence of second was eventually in vain, and by the end of the race he had dropped back, to finish fourth behind Crutchlow. It was the first time he has finished below second in the last five races.
German LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl finished a lone sixth after a steady race. He had lost positions off the start in the early laps as he struggled to regain the feeling that gave him his first-ever front-row qualifying position; but was steadfast in sixth, comfortably clear of the opposition.
That came from Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista, four seconds behind Bradl but less than one ahead of his race-long rival Aleix Espargaro (ART). After crashing out of the last two races, the Spanish former 125cc World Champion was anxious to secure a safe finish, but had his hands full with the persistent Espargaro to the finish.
Australian grand prix first-timer Bryan Staring (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) was 21st on the Honda CBR1000RR-powered CRT machine, crossing the line fourth in a close group of five battling riders. Eighteenth to 22nd places were covered by less than two seconds.
The battle in the all-Honda-powered Moto2 class went all the way, with Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) regaining the lead from championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) on the last lap, after the pair had outstripped the opposition to run away together after half-distance of the 24-lap race. They were separated by barely a tenth of a second over the line. The result meant that Espargaro clawed back five points from the British rider, but Redding’s lead still stands at a comfortable 30 points.
An absorbing battle for third was also decided after a frantic final lap saw positions change almost corner by corner. Over the line Switzerland’s Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) narrowly claimed the last rostrum spot by just over a tenth, from second Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex rider Mika Kallio, Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) and Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project Suter). All five crossed the line within just over half a second.
Nico Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) finished out of the points in 18th.
Australian Jack Miller (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) was again the top Honda rider in the Moto3 class, claiming a fine seventh place, still in strong pursuit of the leading group while also fighting off the attentions of compatriot Arthur Sissis (KTM).
The battling pair were comfortably clear of a massive mid-field battle, where Honda riders played a leading role. Ninth place to 21st crossed the line in less than four seconds – the winner of the battle was Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda rider Alexis Masbou, with the next-best Honda just two places behind – the Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda rider Isaac Vinales.
Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) was in the thick of it, claiming one point for 15th place to remain the top Honda in the championship, one point ahead of Miller.
The next race is the German GP at the Sachsenring, in two weeks.
|1||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|5||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|6||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|7||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|8||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|9||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|10||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|11||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|12||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Ignite Pramac Racing)|
|15||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|2||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|3||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|4||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|6||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|7||Xavier SIMEON (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq)|
|8||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Rac)|
|9||Jordi TORRES (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|10||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|11||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|12||Randy KRUMMENACHE (Technomag carXpert)|
|13||Louis ROSSI (Tech 3)|
|14||Marcel SCHROTTER (Desguaces La Torre SAG)|
|15||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|1||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Maverick VINALES (Team Calvo)|
|3||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|4||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|5||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|6||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|7||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|8||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|9||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|10||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno)|
|11||Isaac VINALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|12||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|13||Niccolo` ANTONELLI (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3)|
|14||Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)|
|15||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|