Assen turned out to be the most spectacular weekend of the season so far, as all three classes were filled with drama and suspense from start to finish. Let’s now review the main protagonists and antagonists from the Dutch GP.
Having found himself at the points limit at one moment of the race, the Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider managed to make his way up to the top and battled in style for the win. In a magnificent last lap, Canet overtook Fenati to go in front and did not let the win escape his grasp in the last corners. This is his second win of the season, a win that lifts him up to second in the standings. If he keeps going like that, Mir’s job will not be as easy as it seemed after the Catalan GP.
Another Moto3 rider who had an amazing comeback was British Talent Team rider John McPhee. The Scotsman qualified only 19th, but managed to recover during the race, as he finished in a superb 3rd place. After some bad races in the last period, he was in need of a podium finish to keep his title chances alive.
The Platinum Bay Real Estate rider had another strong performance on Sunday. Even if he led the race at some point, once again his effort was not enough to secure a maiden podium finish. For the second GP in a row he crossed the line in 6th, but his consistency in good results shows that his time might come soon.
After missing the podium in both Mugello and Catalunya, the Moto2 championship leader came back in style here in Assen. Strong in both practice and qualifying, the Marc VDS rider kept his good pace in a hard fought race. Going into the last lap Morbidelli was second, right behind leader Tom Luthi. The Italian had no serious issues in overtaking the Swiss rider, thus cruising to the 5th win of the season. Good way to celebrate a MotoGP contract for 2018.
After lot of misfortune in the last GPs, Taka finally managed to get back in the class’ elite here in Assen. Having won his first and, up to now, only race in his career here in Assen last year, the Japanese rider was once again a fierce presence on the Circuit van Drenthe. Having led a good part of the race, the final laps saw him struggle a bit, falling down in 5th. However, Taka managed to overtake both Oliveira and Pasini in the last lap, thus securing his first podium finish since Austin.
For the first time this season, the Portuguese rider was able to match the pace of the leading riders and stay with them from start to finish. Throughout the race he was always in the podium battle, having also led at some point. He notched another strong top 5 finish and, with the KTM chassis still developing, we can expect Oliveira to fight more often for wins and podiums in the second part of the year.
The ‘Doctor’ offered another masterpiece performance here in Holland, leading for the most part of the race, no matter if wet or dry. He clinched his first win of the season and the 10th at the venue, thus approaching the championship leader at only 7 points.
Petrux continues to be in the form of his life. After locking out the podium in Mugello and starting from the front row in Catalunya, the Pramac Ducati rider tied his career best by finishing 2nd here in Holland. He battled and won duels throughout the race with stars like Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso, but had to recognize himself defeated by Valentino Rossi for only 0.063.
Another terrible Moto3 race for Valentino Rossi’s rider. Even though he started from the first row, the Italian could not keep the pace of the guys in front and dropped to the outside of the top 10. Taking advantage of Bendsneyder’s last corner drama, he crossed the line in 10th, this however being a result much under the expectations.
Another Italian who is becoming just a shadow of the former self is EG 0,0 rider Enea Bastianini. Somewhere near the top 10, the Italian crashed, adding another no-points race to this year’s collection.
Winner of the Catalan GP in the Moto2 class, the Spaniard was far from that form here in the Netherlands. His race was a silent one, running in 6th place pretty much from start to finish. This allowed his teammate Morbidelli to increase the Point difference between them in the championship.
Dani’s pace was bad throughout the whole weekend, the Spaniard’s form being much worse compared to the one had in the Catalan GP when he started from pole and finished 3rd. In all sessions he was somewhere between P10 and P15, positions that do not honour him. He finished the race in P13, a result that could mean a check-mate to his championship chances.
One of the most disastrous weekends for 5 time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo since joining Ducati. The Spaniard once again showed how much he struggles in wet conditions, having qualified in 21st. The race brought no significant changes in his pace, even though most of it took place in dry conditions. The ‘Spartan’ crossed the line only in 15th.
On top after Friday, Vinales could not mantain his dominance in the wet conditions of the qualifying session. Starting only from 11th, the former championship leader made his way up to P5, but crashed while pushing to catch the leading quartet. He walked away unharmed but this incident cost him the championship lead.
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