Valentino Rossi has won the Iveco TT Assen, picking up his 80th victory in the MotoGP™ premier class and his first since the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2010. The nine-time World Champion shared the podium with Marc Marquez and pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow, with Jorge Lorenzo finishing fifth despite a broken collarbone.
Lorenzo generated many of the headlines before the race, having been cleared to race less than four hours before the start and having travelled back from an operation in Barcelona. Rossi’s afternoon started from fourth on the grid. A decisive pass on LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl saw the Yamaha rise to third in a very strong move at the chicane as the first lap came to a close. The Italian then proceeded to hunt down the Hondas, dispatching of Marquez on Lap 4 and Pedrosa on Lap 6 in what was a similar move to that of 2007. He would go on to take an emotional victory by 2.1 seconds.
Marquez’s second place boosts his championship situation, finishing ahead of both Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Having sealed his first front row starting position since Le Mans, the 20-year-old rookie ran third but caught Pedrosa on the 18th lap; his first attempt to overtake failed, but the reigning Moto2™ champion made the most of his next opportunity and seized second spot on the drag to the first corner.
Pedrosa would fall back one more place before the chequered flag, losing out to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow who was fortunate to avoid a crash when he touched Marquez’s rear wheel on the final lap. Although fourth is Pedrosa’s worst result since Round 1 in Qatar, he still extends his championship lead by two points.
Lorenzo was mightily relieved to have scored 11 points, having suffered a heavy crash on Thursday before being operated on in the early hours of Friday morning. He arrived back at Assen on Friday afternoon and was given the green light to race after 11 o’clock this morning. Having risen to the top five from 12th on the grid by only the second lap, he ran as high as fourth but fell back as pain began to kick in.
Sixth place went to Bradl, who, from his first ever MotoGP front row, had briefly snatched second at the start, whereas GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista overhauled leading CRT rider, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, for seventh with six laps to go. On the final lap Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden lost two places and fell to 11th, dropping behind Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and his own teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Avintia Blusens’ Ivan Silva finished 23rd covering for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama, whereas Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek was the sole retirement.
Valentino Rossi’s success is his first since returning to Yamaha and, as well as being his 80th win in the top tier, is his 106th career victory and eighth at Assen.