The TIM TT Assen, the second in a grueling period of three back-to-back races, became another stomping ground for Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, as the Spaniard took the win, his fourth of the 2010 MotoGP season.
The 23-year-old continues to dominate for Fiat Yamaha, as the team’s other rider Valentino Rossi recuperates from his nasty high-side at Mugello three weeks ago. Lorenzo finished 2.935 seconds ahead of his fellow countrymen, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Taking the final spot on the podium at the 80th Anniversary of the Dutch TT was Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner, whose third-place finish was his best this season.
Lorenzo’s win at Round 6 in the Netherlands was similar to his victory at Silverstone last week, him taking both races after placing his M1 on the pole. He now has 140 out of 150 perfect points, and extends his lead to 47 points over Pedrosa. Lorenzo also entered motorcycle racing history books by becoming on the seventh rider to have won in three or more classes at Assen, his MotoGP win added to his wins in the 125 and 250 classes.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “This race was a bit more difficult than Silverstone because Dani was so fast with the softer tire early on in the race and I had to really keep my concentration to stay in front of him at that point. I was confident that my harder Bridgestone tire would help me later on and this was the case, so we made the right choice. It wasn’t easy though and at the end I was sliding quite a lot, in fact I made a mistake at the chicane and nearly crashed so I was quite glad to finish!
“I am really happy that I have won here in all three classes because it’s such a historic place and the football I had in Parc Ferme was to celebrate this ‘hat-trick.’ Thanks to all my Yamaha guys and also to Bridgestone for this win, we have a big lead in the championship so we can afford to stay calm and relaxed. Now we go to my home in Barcelona and I am excited about another chance to race in front of the Spanish fans.”
Starting from the pole of the 26-lap race, Lorenzo was first to Turn 1 at the 2.830-mile circuit, followed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies and Pedrosa. LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet was second on the grid, but had a miserable start. The Frenchman wheeled his RC212V a bit, pushing him to the middle of the field. Spies and Pedrosa had much better starts, Spies getting from fourth to second, Pedrosa from seventh to third by Turn 1.
By the second lap at Assen, known as the “Cathedral of Motorcycle Racing,” Lorenzo had opened the gap on Spies by over a second. Spies looked strong, but the 25-year-old Texan wouldn’t remain in second much longer. On Lap 3, Pedrosa took spies on a double-apex right turn. Then after crossing the start/finish line to begin Lap 4, Stoner would pass Spies. A few seconds later, yet another rider took Spies, Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso.
This pushed Spies back to fifth, where he would remain until Lap 16. During this time, Lorenzo’s gap was shortened to under a second, but he began pulling away again by mid race. Not much action occurred up front, and all three leaders – Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner – would remain in their respective positions for the entire race.
During Lap 16, Spies would pass Dovizioso, keeping a consistent rhythm, ultimately finishing in fourth. This was Spies second-best finish of the season. Last week at Silverstone, Spies would take his first-ever MotoGP podium with third place. He followed this up at Assen by piloting his M1 to a best-ever qualifying result in 10 career MotoGP races; Spies was the fourth of five riders to qualify under the 1:35 mark.
On Lap 17, Dovizioso would be passed by De Puniet for fifth place. The two would battle intensely until the final turn, where Dovizioso had the advantage and took fifth. De Puniet would finish sixth, which his third consecutive sixth place of the season. Rounding out the top-ten spots were Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli and Pramac Racing’s Aleix Espargaró.
Besides Rossi, Honda Gresisni rider Marco Melandri missed the race, the Italian dislocating his shoulder during a crash at turn 7 in Free Practice 2 on Friday. Despite his injury, the 27-year-old is looking forward to next week’s round in Catalunya.
Marco Melandri says: “(Friday) was a day to forget. It started well because the feeling with the bike was really good and I was able to put a fast time in on a tire with a lot of laps on it, so I was happy. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and now I have to look ahead to hopefully having a good race at Barcelona.”
The other Honda rider didn’t start due to injuries was Hiroshi Aoyama, who fractured his vertabra during the warm-up session for last week’s Silverstone race. The Interwetten Honda rider missed today’s Dutch TT, and will also miss next week’s Catalunya round. But his replacement Akiyoshi, who finished last at Assen, will also fill in at next week’s round in Barcelona.
As for Rossi, Fiat Yamaha’s experienced Japanese test rider, Wataru Yoshikawa, will take the nine-time champion’s seat from the upcoming Barcelona round. Yoshikawa, 41, is a two-time Japanese Superbike champion. This takes all the speculation out of either Spies or Edwards taking Rossi’s seat.
Also, the legendary Giacomo Agostini, who has the most GP wins all time, 122, pleased the fans by taking a spin around the circuit aboard his 1975 YZR500 OW23 machine, and a specially built “Agostini” 2010 YZR-M1 built in Fiat Yamaha colors.
Giacomo Agostini says: “It’s a double pleasure and honor for to be here at Assen on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Dutch TT. First of all, I was honored to be invited by the TT for this important occasion and secondly I am very excited to celebrate this event riding for Yamaha, to whom I gave a first world title in the 500cc series. I have a beautiful memory of this TT race and of these fans. I remember that when I used to ride here, many years ago, there were 160,000 fans all around the track.”
“Unbelievable! Tomorrow I will have the chance to ride the ‘past’ and the ‘present;’ the first and the latest world champion bikes. My OW23 was like a bicycle with 120bhp, but used to get power at 6000rpm…whilst the M1 has 240bhp! When you ride the M1 for the first time, it seems that it’s very easy: engine, gear, brakes, it seems that it does everything itself, but then when you open the throttle you discover its power and you realize how difficult it is to control such a force.”
2010 MotoGP Assen Results:
1. (99) Jorge LORENZO, SPA, Fiat Yamaha Team, 41:18.629
2. (26) Dani PEDROSA, SPA, Repsol Honda Team +2.935
3. (27) Casey STONER, AUS, Ducati Team +7.022
4. (11) Ben SPIES, USA, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +13.265
5. (4) Andrea DOVIZIOSO, ITA, Repsol Honda Team +15.323
6. (14) Randy DE PUNIET, FRA, LCR Honda MotoGP +15.772
7. (69) Nicky HAYDEN, USA, Ducati Team +25.867
8. (5) Colin EDWARDS, USA, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +28.991
9. (58) Marco SIMONCELLI, ITA, San Carlo Honda Gresini +35.658
10. (41) Aleix ESPARGARO, SPA, Pramac Racing TeamDucati +35.837
11. (36) Mika KALLIO, FIN, Pramac Racing Team Ducati +56.769
12. (40) Hector BARBERA, SPA, Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati +56.890
13. (65) Loris CAPIROSSI, ITA, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +1:00.615
14. (19) Alvaro BAUTISTA, SPA, Rizla Suzuki +1:08.074
15. (64) Kousuke AKIYOSHI, JPN, Interwetten Honda MotoGP Lap
Current MotoGP Championship Points (After six of 18 rounds):
1. Jorge LORENZO, 140
2. Dani PEDROSA, 93
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, 89
4. Valentino ROSSI, 61
5. Nicky HAYDEN, 61
6. Randy DE PUNIET, 56
7. Casey STONER, 51
8. Ben SPIES, 49
9. Marco SIMONCELLI, 39
10. Colin EDWARDS, 34
11. Marco MELANDRI, 32
12. Aleix ESPARGARO, 28
13. Hector BARBERA, 28
14. Mika KALLIO, 20
15. Hiroshi AOYAMA, 18
16. Loris CAPIROSSI, 16
17. Alvaro BAUTISTA, 14
18. Kousuke AKIYOSHI, 1