After a dramatic wet race that switched riders and fans expectations – giving us a new set of podium finishers with Marc Marquez the Only rider around the AssenTT rostrum at the modified and much anticipated Dutch MotoGP Race at the Iconic Assen TT Circuit.
The Dutch TT served Valentino Rossi the rough coin, the Nine Times World Champion having crashed out of the lead in a restarted wet race. Rossi now sits 42 points away from Marc Marquez at the top of the Championship points from Jorge Lorenzo in second with 121 points. A sweet memory to Jack Miller this is – his first ever premier class win since arrival last season and the first rider to beat Factory and Satellite teams with an Individual team to the top step of the MotoGP podium.
A long talk in MotoGP and the AssenTT’s history, riders share their experiences
Valentino Rossi: “It’s a great shame considering our great level of speed and competitiveness this weekend with our bike at this track. We could have gotten some important points for the championship after a difficult weekend and we could have taken second place in the championship over Lorenzo, but unfortunately I made a mistake. In the second half I pushed too much while I already had a good advantage. On that lap I was trying to push to understand my level. In the second part of the race we started with a soft rear, which provides very good grip, but unfortunately I entered turn ten too fast. I think we had a good chance today, but with my mistake I threw away a lot of points. The distance, especially to Marquez, is quite big, but we need to continue working hard like this and try to be competitive also next time.”
Marc Marquez: “Today’s race was one of those in which you can either lose many points or gain them, and you can face it with two mentalities: either you take a risk to gain a bigger advantage, or you focus on finishing the race in order to lose the fewest points possible. The latter is the mentality that the team repeated to me about forty times between this morning and today, and it is exactly what I did. I tried to stay in the top five so as not to drop many points to Valentino [Rossi] and attempted to not make mistakes in order to finish the race. At the beginning of the first race I didn’t feel comfortable and lost touch, but then I was able to recover. I think that stopping the race was a good decision, because it was very dangerous out there.
“In the second race I started off thinking about pushing a bit more, but everyone was very fast and I decided not to follow Rossi and Dovizioso because they were going too quickly. However, both of them crashed later on. When I saw Jack [Miller] stalking behind me, I knew that he would be going for his first win so I preferred to let him pass and keep a couple of seconds gap between us, as well as a cushion to third place. I did that because with Jorge [Lorenzo] so far back and Rossi out of the race, second place was as good as a victory. In the end, we leave Assen with a bigger lead.”
Jorge Lorenzo: “In the first race I was in 19th place and the last rider. I was even thinking about stopping because the conditions on the track were terrible, but I kept riding and they stopped the race. We restarted the race with less water on the track and a soft rear tyre and, though I was one of the last ones and there were many crashers, I gained more confidence than I had in the first race. These are important points for the championship, in the first race I would not have scored any. Marquez also scored a lot of points today, but Rossi, who could have recovered points, lost a lot. Ultimately we were able to save a difficult weekend. Before Le Mans we were also around 24 points behind and now we are more or less in the same situation, after two difficult races, so we have to think positive and keep in mind that we still have a lot of races to recover the gap to Marquez.”
Jack Miller: “I don’t often say this but I’m lost for words. I feel incredibly emotional right now and it is hard to describe the sensation of winning for the first time in MotoGP. I felt confident and fast in the first part of the race but it was the right call to red flag it because the conditions were getting pretty dangerous. The track was really slippery for part two as well but I immediately felt comfortable. I could see a few riders making mistakes but I just kept my focus and concentrated on being fast and consistent without taking any silly risks.
“Once I passed Marc I just tried to block out the fact that I was heading for my first win and keep a clear mind. Coming out of the final chicane and seeing the chequered flag was just an unbelievable feeling. My family and I have made a lot of sacrifices to make today happen and it feels amazing. I can’t thank Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS enough. They have given me incredible support and never stopped believing in me. I must also thank Honda and their management for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to show what I can do at this level. It might take a while to sink in but I am going to enjoy tonight that’s for sure!”
Dani Pedrosa: “It’s been a pretty tough weekend but races like today are a lottery. In the first race it seemed that the strategy of running the soft tyre had gone well. At first, when the track was drying, I went slowly, but when it started to rain I upped my pace very quickly while others were at a disadvantage. However, that was when the Race Direction decided to stop the race. I felt unlucky, because it turned out that thinking ahead or trying to pick a different strategy wasn’t beneficial. In the second race I crashed on the first lap, because I had a new rear tyre without too much grip. It has been a difficult Grand Prix but we will try to find better solutions for the next race and regain our feeling in order to go faster.”