Spoiler Alert: 2011 Assen TT MotoGP results below
Although rain plagued the MotoGP free practice sessions and qualifying at Assen TT, wet conditions didn’t affect the legendary Cathedral when the 26-lap race started.
And though the skies remained gloomy with overcast, one American’s emotions were anything but gloomy – Ben Spies.
The Texan piloted the Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 to his maiden MotoGP victory, displaying confidence and patience not typical of a sophomore rider. This was the first time an American took a win since Nicky Hayden won Laguna Seca MotoGP in 2006.
Spies was joined on the Assen MotoGP podium by the series’ leader Casey Stoner and the Australian’s Repsol Honda teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
Ben Spes (Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP) says: “With this weekend being the 50th anniversary of Yamaha (in GP racing), I don’t know how it came together. The race was tough in some ways and easy in some ways; it was very good to have a good rhythm and set the pace.”
During the 81st running of Assen, Round 7 of the 2011 MotoGP Championship, the action began on the very first lap of the 2.8-mile, 18-corner circuit with something typical of wet conditions – crashes.
The first MotoGP wreck will surely bring about controversy once again for Marco Simoncelli, who started from the pole. It all began when the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider was beat to the line by Spies and teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
As Spies took the lead, Simoncelli regained second on Lorenzo. But at turn 3, the sophomore rider appeared to push too hard on cold tires, crashing, taking the reigning MotoGP champ out. Both riders would restart at the back of the grid, with Lorenzo finishing an impressive sixth, and Simoncelli in 11th.
This crash left Spies out front alone, followed by Stoner, Dovizioso, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow and Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who was competing for the first race on the updated GP11.1.
But the Simoncelli/Lorenzo crash wouldn’t be the only incident; by the end of the first lap, Cardion AB Ducati’s Karel Abraham also crashed, and a few turns later Pramac Racing Ducati’s Randy de Puniet would wreck.
The race then began a story of the American Ben Spies stretching his lead lap by lap to eventually take the win over Stoner by an amazing 7.697 seconds. Dovizoso would finish over 27 seconds behind Spies, with Rossi over 30 seconds behind in fourth. Rounding out the top five was Rossi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden.
Throughout the first-half of the race, an intense battle was brewing between Rossi and Crutchlow. But on the 15th lap, Crutchlow pulled his M1 into the pits, many assuming it was due to the shoulder he broke at Silverstone two weeks ago. But the Brit had mechanical issues with his Yamaha, able to restart the race. He eventually finished dead last in 14th place.
Lorenzo fought back for sixth, with the top 10 rounded out by Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards, Hiroshi Aoyama, who was substituting for the injured Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda, Simoncelli and LCR Honda’s Toni Elias.
Besides the grid lacking Pedrosa, Pramac Ducati’s Loris Capirossi did not start at this weekend’s race, the Italian sustaining injury during a qualifying crash. During the qualifying wreck, Capirossi dislocated his right shoulder and injured rib cartilage after he was run over by his GP11.
With his second place finish, Stoner now has 138 points, 30 over Lorenzo. Dovi remains in third with 99 points. Spies moves into seventh, now tied with Dani Pedrosa at 61 points.
2011 Assen MotoGP: Results
|1.||25||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||169.7||41’44.659|
|2.||20||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||169.2||+7.697|
|3.||16||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||167.9||+27.506|
|4.||13||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||167.7||+30.684|
|5.||11||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||166.9||+43.172|
|6.||10||1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||166.8||+44.536|
|7.||9||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||165.2||+1’08.112|
|8.||8||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||165.1||+1’10.753|
|9.||7||58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||164.2||+1’24.925|
|10.||6||24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||164.1||+1’26.216|
|11.||5||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||163.3||+1’38.466|
|12.||4||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||161.5||1 Lap|
|13.||3||64||Kousuke AKIYOSHI||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||158.5||1 Lap|
|14.||2||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||151.6||2 Laps|
|14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||145.4||25 Laps|
|17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||0 Lap|