Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi rode impressively this afternoon to take fifth during an unpredictable race at the Assen TT. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo briefly led the race, but later fell back after a tire change, finishing in 13th place.
There was uncertainty before the start of the Dutch GP, with the riders already on the starting grid when the race was delayed due to the rainy conditions. It was finally declared a wet race and two extra sighting laps were given.
Rossi initially went out on slicks but decided last-minute to change to wets after the warm-up lap. Though this meant he had to start the race from pit lane, the setback didn’t hold him back for long and he was quick to move up the order, reaching 13th by lap three.
At the end of lap six chaos ensued again as the track started to form a dry line and half of the riders came into the pits for another tyre change. Rossi dived into the pits with the first group, rejoining the race in tenth position. He was quick to find a good rhythm and closed the gap of 2.325s to Pol Espargaro, Carl Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl over the next six laps.
The Doctor then only took another three laps to move up to fifth place. He was consistently closing on Aleix Espagaro in fourth, but there were not enough laps, leaving him to hold fifth at the line.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a good start, the Spaniard moving up from ninth to sixth in the first lap. Having found a good wet pace, he threatening to break into the top five when changing weather again disrupted the race. Lorenzo made the change to a dry bike and having returned in 17th was able to move up several positions to 13th by the flag.
With fifth place Rossi scores 11 points and is now tied for second place in the championship with Dani Pedrosa, 128 points behind Marc Marquez. Jorge Lorenzo gains three points, leaving him in fifth in the championship standings, ten points behind Dovizioso in fourth.
Bradley Smith completed a challenging race for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team in Assen by crossing the line in 8th after enduring the unpredictable Dutch weather for round 8 of the MotoGP World Championship.
Smith began his 26 lap sprit around the legendary 4252 metre circuit from the last grid slot of the second row before holding 8th place during the opening lap as he intrepidly powered through the rain and over the damp track surface. The historical Assen circuit proceeded to dry rapidly forcing the young British rider to enter the pits to change bikes on lap seven. He then re-joined the race and set into an incredibly competitive rhythm aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 and in the final stages of the race he was the fastest MotoGP rider on track, also producing the 3rd fastest race time on his final lap as he just missed out on P7 by a tenth of a second.
His Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Pol Espargaro suffered ill luck as he retired on lap 18. The reigning Moto2 World champion began the day in positive fashion by seizing 3rd in this morning's warm up before starting the Iveco Daily Dutch TT from 11th on the grid.
After choosing to make a last minute swap to his tire choice, the rookie had to start from the rear of the field in 23rd but elevated himself up to 14th position by the end of the first lap before changing bikes on lap seven due to the drying track. The Spanish star rejoined the race and set his sights on regaining some positions but fell on lap 15. He heroically remounted and attempted to carry on after entering the pits again to swap bikes, before retiring on lap 18 from the Grand Prix.
His non finish marks a disappointing end to a weekend which was full of high promise with the MotoGP rookie continuing to learn at every race in an impressive manner during his first season in the premier class.
NGM Forward Racing's Aleix Espargaro had a great ride at Assen despite the difficult conditions. Starting from pole, Espargaro held third position behind Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso until the tyre change. The Spaniard was also able to ride a good pace with the dry set-up.
Espargaro fought hard with Dani Pedrosa for third place, but had to give in eventually. He finished third leaving him sixth in the championship with 67 points.
It was a difficult race for teammate Colin Edwards. Struggling to find confidence on the tricky and changeable track conditions, he finally finished 22nd.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.