Dutch TT at Assen was an eventful flag-to-flag contest, with a wet track at the start of the race rapidly drying over the twenty-six laps, but in the end there was no stopping Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez who adapted best to the changing conditions for his eighth consecutive victory in 2014. Marquez traded the race lead with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in the early stages of the race while on wet tyres, before the leading pair swapped bikes on lap six and headed out of pit lane on slick tyres to resume their battle. Marquez made the race-winning pass on Dovizioso on the fifteenth lap and then upped the pace — almost setting a new race lap record on lap 19 — to eventually take the chequered flag 6.714 seconds ahead of Dovizioso who claimed an excellent second place. Dani Pedrosa ensured two Repsol Honda’s made the podium by seizing third place.
Rain fell leading up to, and for the first few laps of the race but once it stopped the track dried extremely quickly at which point the riders on slicks were able to lap much quicker than those still on wet tyres. By the eighth lap all the riders that started on wet tyres had changed to slicks to take advantage of the improving track surface. Twenty-one riders started the race on the soft compound wet tyres front and rear with only two riders; Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez and Paul Bird Motorsport’s Broc Parkes starting the race on the soft compound slick tyres front and rear. The slick tyre options that were used on the riders’ spare bikes after they changed bikes for the dry conditions were the extra-soft and soft compound front slick, and the soft and medium compound rear.
Marquez has amassed 200 championship points courtesy of his flawless win record, while Pedrosa and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi are joint-second in the standings with 128 points each.
“It was a tough day because this was a race where I could have lost many points, but we were still able to extend our lead in the Championship so I’m very pleased with how it has gone and how we dealt with the flag-to-flag. It was our first experience of a race like this, with both wet and dry conditions, and we even had a little scare after the bike change. We are very happy with this victory and to have got a very important 25 points on a weekend we had circled on the calendar”.
“It was a very difficult race and was even a bit chaotic at first, when it came to having to decide which tyres to put on the bike. I kept a cool head and chose the option of wets, because at first the track was a little damp. I should have pushed more on the opening laps —but I chose not to in case it rained again— as the track began to dry out. The rain didn’t come and I had a good fight with Aleix for the podium in the dry. I am happy to have taken the rostrum finish, because you never know how races like today’s might go, but this one went well for us and we are now focusing on doing a good job in Germany”.
“You know, I took a risk because the conditions looked good but unfortunately one minute before the start it started to rain again so I had to change bike and start from last. It’s a shame because if I had started with the wets I could stay in front with the top guys. Anyway it’s something about luck today and unfortunately this time it ended like this. I’m quite satisfied with the rest of the race because I had good pace and a good feeling with the bike. Also here in Assen I was quite fast.”
“I have to say that the bike was working quite well on the wet and the dry, I just had a bad race as a rider. My confidence wasn’t great; I didn’t want to crash like last year. I didn’t have value enough like the other riders to go fast, it was a bad race for me. I would like to apologize with my team, the engineers and my fans because they all did their best but today it was definitely my worst race ever. In the dry I’m confident and not afraid of crashing but when it’s spitting maybe I have the memory of last year and I didn’t have things clear in my mind. In future if something happens like this I hope to be more confident and less scared of crashing.”
“The conditions today were very difficult but we managed to get a good start with the right choice of tyres and a perfect race strategy. I had a good feeling with the bike right away, there wasn’t much water but the grip was good, you just had to understand which corners were wet and which were dry. Both Marc and I were able to interpret the track quicker than the others and we pulled out a good gap straight away. I followed him for the early laps, this was my strategy, then I managed to pass him when he made a mistake but his pace was quicker than mine. This second podium of 2014 is very important for us: we are all working so hard and I really want to thank my team!”
“Today we faced very tricky conditions, we went to the starting grid with the bike set for dry conditions, but it started to rain so we had a new starting procedure in order to change the bike for the wet, but then when we went back to the starting grid, the track was already drying out in some areas. In the early laps I felt comfortable in the wet and I was able to overtook some riders in front of me, but after only four laps we had to change the bike because the track at that point was already almost dry. With the other bike i hadn’t the same feeling, I struggled a lot to get the tyres in the right temperature. In the end the seventh place is not too bad, even if we have been very close to the top five. However, after the retirement in Barcelona we needed to end the race and take some points”.
“Today was my first MotoGP race in the wet, so to be honest I was a bit scared in the beginning because I didn’t know what to expect! We started from the back of the grid with rain tyres, but I was not too sure about track conditions, so in the early stages I was quite slow because I struggled to understand well the tyres in these conditions. After only a few laps when the track started to dry out I came into the pits to change the bike; we choose a good time to do it and we made a good gap. In the dry I was quite fast, I passed Lorenzo and then I followed Pol EspargarÃ² and this thing gave me a big motivation; when Pol crashed I had just to maintain the same lap times. After a very bad warm up this morning it feels good to be the first Open Class Honda in these tricky conditions”.
“It was a really tough race today for everyone because of the weather conditions. As far as I was concerned it was a disappointing result because I felt we should have taken more advantage of the conditions as soon as the track dried, but I had the same problems as I had in every practice. We had too much understeer with the bike and I was not competitive enough. A good job by Andrea, today he got a fantastic result for the team.”
“Today was difficult situation, it was difficult to decide whether to get out on the bike dry or wet tires. Compared to last year I found myself much better in spite of these climatic conditions. Too bad that it took me a while before finding a good pace. I think I could have finished the race in a better position. When I picked up the pace it was about the same as Dovizioso, but I’m glad for this sixth position which is definitely a good result. I thank the team and Ducati for support. “
“It was a very difficult race, the track conditions were changing constantly. I’m not very happy because I had to change bike twice. At the beginning of the race I decided to start with the slick thinking it was the right choice, then it began to rain again very hard and I thought it would have been impossible to keep going on, so I changed bike. After a while the sun came out again and I had to change bike again, losing a lot of time. I am not satisfied with the result because my goal was not achieved. However it was a good opportunity to learn new things and now I look forward now to the next race at Sachsenring. “
“Overall I am pleased with my performance at the end of the race even if the position is not what I’m aiming for. I was very comfortable with the bike once the track had dried and my race pace would have seen me within top 5 if not on the podium. Unfortunately at the same time today was quite a frustrating situation. The bike didn’t work too well in the rain and I lost so much time at the beginning because of these wet conditions. I decided to follow Jorge’s judgement on the pit stop and remained out for one more lap with him which was definitely the wrong decision as I lost approximately 10 seconds during that lap and when looking at the time sheets now, I would have been able to fight for 4th position with Aleix had I not lost that time. However when I rejoined the race the bike was awesome in the dry. The team did a great job but it’s still just a bit irritating to end up in this position after such a solid end to the race in terms of pace. So unfortunately the result doesn’t justify our efforts but we’ve worked really well this weekend and I go hard from the beginning to the end and look forward to giving it my all next round in Germany.”
“It has been such an unlucky and disappointing end to this weekend! We started in a brilliant way during the practice sessions where I felt strong and competitive on the bike. My only worry was the weather and the storyboard planned the worst scenario for me. The rain arrived when we were going to the starting grid and from that moment on I got really nervous. I think , we also made a few of unfortunate decisions as it was actually a gamble which tyres to choose at the beginning of the race. Also the fact that my first ever wet laps had to be the opening ones of today’s race did not really help my confidence. However, I really didn’t feel comfortable enough to push and when we changed to dry tyres I was already far behind trying to close the gap to the riders in front of me, but I made a mistake and crashed. Afterwards, I returned to the pit box and tried to finish the race with my second bike, which was on rain tyres, but with the track already dry there was nothing I could do. Now I have to look forward to the next race in Germany in two weeks of time where we hopefully will be able to show our true potential.”
“It was a great race and the battle with Dani Pedrosa on a factory Honda was hard but it was good fun. On the wet I was cautious so I lost the contact with Andrea (Dovizioso), but with the dry set up I pushed hard to fight for the podium. We had a very good battle with Dani: he was overtaking me on the straight and I passed him in the corners. It’s a pity, but I’m happy with this result. We gained important point for the championship and now we are 6th. We leave Assen happy with the results and we will return stronger in Sachsenring.”
2“It was a difficult weekend and I struggled a lot also in the race. The tracks conditions were very tricky, I played a bit with the tyres but it didn’t work. I lacked confidence and I cnotould push as I would liked. I need to figure out something for the German GP.”
MotoGP Assen 2014 results
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 43’29.954
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 6.714
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 10.791
4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing + 19.199
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 25.813
6. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing + 29.003
7. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini + 30.882
8. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 30.985
9. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team + 44.031
10. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP + 48.662
11. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport + 51.863
12. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini + 1’00.329
13. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 1’04.641
14. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing + 1’05.980
15. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Iodaracing Team + 1’17.611
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar + 1’19.753
17. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar + 1’27.630
18. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing + 1’28.142
19. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing After 1 laps
20. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing After 1 laps
21. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport After 1 laps
22. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing After 3 laps
23. Pol EspargarÃ² (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 Not classified (8 laps)