MotoGP: Pecco Bagnaia Wins the Motul TT Assen as Fabio Quartararo Crashes Out
Pecco Bagnaia wins his third race of the season with Fabio Quartararo crashing out twice and Aleix Espargaro recovering to fourth place
It was cold and cloudy in Assen for the Dutch TT and there was possible rain looming. Pecco Bagnaia was on pole position ahead of Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Martin with Marco Bezzecchi, Aleix Espargaro and Jack Miller on the second row. Most of the riders were using the hard rear tyre, with some splits on the front tyre, the Factory Ducati’s chose to use the soft front while Quartararo and Martin opted for the medium.
The lights went out and it was Bagnaia who took the holeshot into turn one, Quartararo was wide and dropped down to fourth, but moved into third overtaking Martin with Espargaro in second place and Bagnaia already had a 0.9 second gap after the third sector.
On lap two Aleix set the fastest lap of the race, going three tenths quicker than Bagnaia. Bezzecchi moved into fourth place, passing Martin into turn one. It was beginning to form into a trio at the front with Espargaro and Quartararo closing in on the Italian.
Miller took his long lap penalty and dropped from sixth to tenth and had to do what he did in the Sachsenring a week ago. Quartararo was on the move, setting an all-new race lap record on lap three of a 1:32.6.
On lap five Quartararo tried to pass Espargaro into turn five and came from too far back and last the front! The first mistake from the World Champion and he caused Espargaro to drop to fifth place, the Frenchman was able to remount in last place, but he was missing a piece of aerodynamic fairing. Bezzecchi was now in second with Martin in third and Brad Binder was fourth.
The day got worse for Monster Energy Yamaha with Franky Morbidelli crashing out at turn five on lap eight.
Aleix was now starting to charge through the field, he passed Alex Marquez and Alex Rins and was in 13th and was chasing after Enea Bastianini. Darryn Binder made Yamaha’s day even worse as he crashed out at turn eight on lap nine.
Jorge Martin was given a track limits warning, he had one warning left before he’d receive a long lap penalty. Quartararo came into the pits, but his crew chief Diego Gubilani convinced him to stay out in case he can pick up any points through attrition.
On lap 11 Aleix made his move on Fabio Di Giannantonio at the Gert Timmer chicane to move into 12th place. On lap 12 he set the fastest lap of the race and was on the back of Enea Bastianini. Quartararo crashed again at turn five on lap 13 having a highside and looked visibly frustrated.
Takaaki Nakagami was given a long lap penalty for track limits and that would gift Espargaro a position and promote him into the top ten. Espargaro passed Zarco and Mir in the final sector and moved into eighth place.
On lap 17 it had started to rain and the riders were allowed to stay out; Martin started to drop back with Vinales, Binder and Miller passing the Spaniard in the space of four corners.
On lap 21 Jack Miller went up the inside of his future team-mate Brad Binder to move into fourth place. Alexi Espargaro was still lapping in the 32s and closing in on the top six.
Miller all over the back of Vinales and looking everywhere to pass him, he tried at the GT chicane put ran wide and Vinales went back through.
Pecco Bagnaia wheelied over the line to take his third victory of the season ahead of his fellow VR46 Academy rider Marco Bezzecchi in Mooney VR46’s maiden podium in the MotoGP class and Maverick Vinales took first podium onboard the Aprilia RS-GP in the circuit where he took his last podium with Yamaha. Alexi Espargaro took Binder and Miller at the GT chicane and took fourth place with Binder rounding out the top five and Miller who was frustrated finished in sixth. Quartararo immediately apologised to Aleix after he returned to his box.
Quartararo continues to lead the championship by 21 points ahead of Espargaro, Johann Zarco who finished in 13th is in third place in the championship 58 points behind with Bagnaia back in fourth place 66 points behind.
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