Bizarre day for the MotoGP World Championship
Heavy rain showers conditioned the Dutch GP at the Assen TT circuit, forcing Race Direction to bring the red flags out after 14 laps while Andrea Dovizioso, who had started from pole, was leading from Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) and Rossi. Andrea Iannone, who crashed on the same lap, managed to return to the pits and was able to take the start for the second part of the race.
The second grid line-up was based on the standings after the first part, which meant that the remainder of the race would be over 12 laps. Dovizioso powered away well and crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in second place, but he then crashed out in Turn 12 and was forced to retire. Iannone, who started from the sixth row, was able to work his way up to fifth place by lap 4 and he took the chequered flag in that position.
The race was won by Australian rider Jack Miller, ahead of Marc Marquez and Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati’s Scott Redding.
The morning warm-up, which was held on a dry track, had seen the Ducati Team riders demonstrate their competitiveness at this circuit, with Iannone topping the timesheets ahead of Dovizioso.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 5th
“Overall I think it’s been a positive weekend for us, because in the dry we were always competitive and we had a good chance of finishing the weekend well despite the rain, which until yesterday was a problem for me because I didn’t have much confidence, as well as the fact that I had to start from last place. In MotoGP it’s never easy to recover from the back, but I am pleased with both of my starts: in the first after the opening lap I was eleventh and shortly after already up to sixth, and maybe starting a few rows further up I could even have fought for the podium. I was right at the back of the grid again in seventeenth place in the second start, but I managed to recover well and cross the line in fifth place. In the end today’s result was quite positive for us and we managed to bring home some important points.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – DNF
“Obviously I am very disappointed because we had a great weekend and I was leading the first part of the race in very difficult conditions, but then too much rain started to fall and it was right to stop the race. What actually happened on the second start is that everyone fitted the soft rear tyre, which had a lot more grip but which created even more problems at the front, the reason for all the crashes yesterday and today. Valentino and I both knew that we were the fastest riders out there and we pushed ourselves on to be as fast as possible, but in the end we both made mistakes. There aren’t many excuses when you crash, because it means that you have made a mistake, but when there are so many crashes in two days in the wet it’s important to understand the reason why.”
The MotoGP World Championship saw one of it’s most bizarre days of racing at the historic TT Assen, as biblical downpours brought out the red flag in the middle of the 26-lap race, meaning a shortened 12-lap event would decide the winner.
Having started on row two, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was making excellent progress despite the heavy rain which was falling around the track, rapidly closing down the leaders, with a sequence of fast laps before the stoppage.
He restarted the second race from seventh place, and having fitted a softer rear wet to his bike was hopeful of a good result. However, the extra grip meant he was pushing the front end too much, which was ultimately his downfall as he slid out of the race, but the Briton was thankfully unharmed.
The race was eventually won in stylish fashion by former LCR Honda rider Jack Miller.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – DNF
“I’m not happy as you can imagine. Everything in a race like today is going to be an if, but or a maybe, but I felt great in the first part of the race. The tyre wasn’t working properly at the start and I was struggling to get heat into it, but then as soon as it started to dry I was the fastest man on the circuit. I feel I would have won the race. Then it started raining again and it was a disaster.”
“In the restart I chose the softer tyre and crashed out, simply because I had too much grip in the rear tyre. I had no experience on the tyre apart from in the qualifying session yesterday, and the conditions were so different. I got caught out with a cold front tyre, and honestly I am so disappointed.”
“Take nothing away from the guys on the podium, especially Jack, but I felt there was an opportunity to finish the race on the podium and maybe win it. Jack took that chance, and I’m really pleased for him. If there was anyone else on the grid I’d want to win apart from myself, and it would be him.”