MotoGP Assen 25

MotoGP Assen 2024

motul. motorcycle oil. oil. bikewise.

By: The Karr report:

We wholly approve of every retro livery slapped on a bike this weekend. We wish there were more.

This place wasn’t christened the Cathedral of Speed for nothing; all hail the Cathedral!

MotoE:

Race One:

Where to start? From lights-out, we suppose, would be easiest.

It took the length of track between the start line and Turn One for things to become messy: Casadei was innocently trying to race mid-pack when he got rear-ended by a slightly overeager Mantovani. The little nudge was enough to send Mantovani flying up and over his falling bike, and to trip up Casadei’s bike, both riders sliding off through the swarm of riders trying to avoid joining them.

Another blunder same for Spinelli as he slid off on the penultimate lap, at Turn Three. Spinelli got up, and suspiciously casually checked his stricken bike.

Zannoni and Granado decided to play bumperbikes – on the final lap, something that turned out to be the wrongest thing to do, since they both ended up chewing kitty litter at Turn Five.

 

With a last-minute upset, Garzó snatched his first win in ages, leaving Zaccone in second, while Gutierrez blazed his way into third.

Race Two:

Due to their Race One shenanigans, Granado and Mantovani both received Long Lap Penalties for Race Two; Mantovani buggered up enough for them to make his a double.

Spinelli’s ill luck struck him early this time, the Italian crashing out at Turn Seven on the opening lap.

Lap Five, Turn Five was where Davies’ race got cut short.

Garzó was ordered to drop a position after he overtook under the yellow flags. This triggered an entertaining scuffle between him and his still-healing teammate Tulovic.

 

With that, allow us to add an honourary mention: 

Tulovic rode like an absolute champ, while still recovering from his massive crash injuries, amongst which are a fractured wrist and punctured lung. 

Much respect, Lucas, for ending up fourth (and very nearly making it third).

Moto GP Assen 24
Tulovic

Zacconi ran off with the lead, never to be seen again until he crossed the finish line to claim victory. Gutierrez muscled his way up into second this time, while Garzó snatched third.

Post-race, Zannoni was slapped with a one-position-penalty for touching the green on the final lap.

Moto3:

The Junior class lined up on the grid with a minimum of ten Long Laps between them, shared in varying amounts between Esteban, Carraro, Bertelle, Farioli, Whatley, Dettwiler, and Zurutuza. We apologise to whomever we potentially left out; it was a lot to remember.

Suzuki’s race ended very prematurely with a crash at Turn Three on his third go-around.

During the sixth lap, Alonso was told to drop one position because he’d overtaken while yellow flags were waving at him. David’s solution to this was to gain a position first, then drop two a little while later. He effectively cancelled out the possibility of losing an additional spot – whether he had calculated this on purpose, or by happy accident, is unclear.

It took local star Veijer until Lap Eleven to finally snatch the lead, and for some time he seemed to have it in his pocket. The crowd went bonkers. Pavilions creaked ominously. Never count your wins before they cross the line…

A few guys – namely Whatley and Zurutuza – liked doing Long Laps so much, they earned even more during the race. Almansa felt left out, so he went out and earned one of his own, too.

Unfortunately, Almansa crashed shortly after receiving the news.

During the fifteenth lap, Furusato went full-send for the offroad option at Turn Five, somehow managing not to crash, and rejoined the road race. Not gonna lie, we’re slightly impressed.

The final lap started with Ortolá nipping at Veijer’s heels, Veijer doing everything he could to hold on to his lead.

Dutch fans forgot how to breathe; some fainted.

Veijer defended like a legend, but Ortolá decided to take the wide-open, unexpected long way around when they entered the final chicane. You could hear the already bated breaths being bated even further.

Though Colin fought back with everything he had, Ortolá pipped him over the line in a wheel-diameter photo-finish across the line.

Ortolá won the race, denying Veijer an historic home victory, leaving the home hero in second. Behind them, Muñoz did what only Muñoz could, bombing his way from fifth up into third in a matter of seconds.

Fun fact: Apparently, we witnessed the closest finish ever in Moto3 at Assen. Someone please confirm.

Another fun fact: Dutch fans still celebrated like Veijer’d won, while Colin tossed his gloves into the orange mist, assuming there would definitely be an ocean of fans somewhere within.

Parties around the Netherlands last Sunday evening were said to be epic.

To make up for the lack of attention he was getting as race winner, Ortolá was handed a mini-bike with his number on it in Parc Fermé.

Moto2:

Pertamina Mandalika is dead – long live Preicanos! And their highlighter-orange-and-green livery. It’s vulgarly bright, we love it!

On to the Middleweights, and another plot-twist-ridden race.

Local boy, Van den Goorbergh, crashed out by only Lap Five.

Vietti tried his hand at some dirt-roading near the end of the same lap, though he managed to stay in his seat.

During Lap Six, Turn Three claimed both Canet and Arenas in two impressively synchronised yet completely separate tumbles. Arenas quickly got back on his bike, trying to rejoin the action, while Canet lay face down in the dirt saying, ‘This doesn’t hurt’…

The Other Muñoz got slapped with a Long Lap Penalty for taking a chicane-shortcut, and enjoyed the detour so much that he soon earned himself another one, this time for Track Limits.

Sasaki ran off at the chicane, after gently touching Aji’s knee going into the corner. He managed to remain upright for about ninety-percent of the run-off, wiggling through the loose pebbles until he ultimately fell over and barrel-rolled the remaining ten.

Around Lap Twelve, Aji was told to drop a position for overtaking under yellow flags.

Meanwhile, Aldeguer was running off with the lead, and it seemed a sure thing he would be victorious in Assen…

That is, until he was whacked over the head with a bit of déjà vu – one Long Lap Penalty for exceeding the track limits one too many times.

To everyone’s relief, he didn’t bin it at the Long Lap entry this time, and managed to pop back just behind García and Ogura. 

FFS Fermín! Green bad, no touch!

 

At the end of the race, after some teammate-on-teammate scuffling and fending off the recovering Aldeguer, Ogura came out the winner. Aldeguer limited his shame by taking second, while García settled for third.

Ogura was cheeky enough to sneak a peak over his left shoulder as he approached the finish line.

Darryn kept his nose clean, taking fifteenth.

‘I’m the King of the Long Laps, eh?’ – Aldeguer, Parc Fermé interview.

 

*Has anyone thought of sending Fermín for eye tests? The poor kid might be partially colourblind.

MotoGP:

Saturday Sprint Race:

Remember last year? Brad was penalised for touching the green paint in one particular spot during the final lap in both races. Well, this year that offending bit of tarmac is no longer painted green.

Márquez (Senior) lost his perfect points-scoring streak when he ploughed into the gravel during the second lap, at Turn Two. Much speculation as to the cause of his jolt-induced tumble transpired, from his knee clipping the inner curb, to the rear stepping out – theories abounded.

At the end of the fifth lap, Marini’s motorcycle let out a puff of smoke, and he quickly peeled into pit lane.

Also on Lap Five, wildcard Savadori had a fall.

Turn Five binned Rins on his ninth go-around.

Though nearly the entire field had track limits warnings by the end of the race, only Raúl Fernández and Álex Márquez managed to convert theirs into an actual Long Lap Penalty. 

Since there wasn’t much race left when Álex received his, he opted for not taking the Long Lap, and instead went for the post-race time penalty. 

Raúl, on the other hand, immediately served his.

On the final lap, amidst epic battles for positions outside of the top three, Espargaró went barrelling through the gravel, looking like a spider trapped in a washing machine on its spin cycle.

Afterwards, he was seen walking off, nursing his hand, in the centre of a marshal-safety net.

Back up front, Bagnaia had launched himself off the line and into the far distance from the start, and ended up taking the victory more than two seconds ahead of Martín. Martín, in turn, took second place two more seconds in front of Viñales; and Viñales claimed third well over three seconds clear of the rest.

Binder, the top KTM ended up clenching a respectable sixth.

Main Race:

Long after the Saturday action had died down, it was announced that Martín would be dropping three spots on the grid, for cruising on the racing line in Q2. Rather late than never, right?

Espargaró was ruled out of the Sunday race with a broken hand-bone, incurred during his massive tumble on Saturday. On the grid, Martín was acting like a girl who couldn’t decide which dress she should wear to the dance, only it was tyres, not dresses.

Chaos ensued quite rapidly, when Rins got launched over the handlebars and into the top-secret MotoGP space program right at the first turn. He landed flat on his face not in nice, soft gravel, but on very much not-soft tarmac.

Given that he was still a little tender from previous excursions, it was safe to assume Álex now was even more ouchy.

Marini joined the plethora of racers who felt that the offroad option seemed like a good idea.

During Lap Four, Bezzecchi plopped down at the fifth turn. Though he was quick to remount, that Ducati was in no shape to continue racing; it was smoking like it had ninety-nine problems.

Mir’s luck continued on its now-familiar downward path, crashing out at Turn Four by the seventh lap.

Something strange occurred: 

Márquez – Marc – was in third when he suddenly looked over his shoulder, indicated to DiGi to pass left, then let him through. 

What tomfoolery is this? 

Crafar suspected front tyre pressures were getting too low. We shall agree with Master, since we have no business questioning him.

Oliveira was given a Long Lap Penalty for the good ol’ Track Limits, which he took on Lap Seventeen… and completely buggered up. Instead of staying within the lines, Miguel veered off to the left, ending up ploughing through some gravel before returning to the circuit.

To add injury to insult, he was told to do it again, as he didn’t do it right the first time.

Having ridden like the little rookie sensation he is, Acosta blundered on the very last lap, crashing hard into the litter at Turn Seven. He tried to jump up faster than his body could process, resulting in him having to fold up like a party banner, hunched over on his hands and knees until all his bodily processes caught up.

Much of the racing happened from third backwards  because Bagnaia had again shot from pole, grabbed the lead, and ran with it like a thief with a brand-new iPhone 15 Pro and Martín played the valiant copper who tried to catch up with the skelm. 

That translated into Bagnaia taking the first hat-trick in Assen, winning both races from pole and leading every single lap, and taking all the fastest laps, too. 

Someone please find out what cereal Pecco has been eating. We need some.

Martín settled for a lonely second, miles ahead of the mayhem that consumed third downwards where Bastianini came out victorious claiming third place.

Binder ended up in a strong seventh. 

The first KTM again.

We spotted a thundercloud down in the pit lane. It  turned out to be a moody Viñales who, having lost a few spots on the last lap, had to lose another one post-race for nicking the green paint at the chicane while trying to get back one of said places.

In Parc Fermé, Bagnaia sexually harassed the camera, kissing it in Italian.

When it came time to mount the podium, Bagnaia didn’t walk on awkwardly the way one usually would; oh no: smoke came pouring out of the floor, Pecco emerging from within it, standing on top of his Ducati like some deified apparition. So dramatic. Full marks for style.

Bagnaia’s win at Assen came with more fun stats than we could memorise. Some of them include:

– Pecco’s fifth podium at Assen, all five being wins;

– Pecco is now the only rider to win three Assen races in a row since Mick Doohan in the nineties;

– Pecco has equalled Casey Stoner’s record for race victories.

– Pecco improved on last years race by almost thirty seconds! Yup! Read that again.

Just a week’s wait for the next round this time. 

See you in Germany!

 

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