The Iveco TT Assen provided three exciting races this Saturday, as Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner took victory in an incident-packed premier-class race, holding off the challenge from teammate Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.
The race started with high drama as San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista took out Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo in the first corner, putting an end to both their challenges. Bautista was subsequently penalized for riding in an irresponsible manner, causing danger to Lorenzo, with Race Direction ruling that the San Carlo rider will start from last spot on the grid at the Sachsenring. An appeal was lodged by his team, but the FIM Stewards confirmed the decision of Race Direction, thus making it final. This is the second year in a row that Lorenzo has been taken out by another rider at the Dutch circuit.
Following the incident, the Repsol Honda Team pair of Pedrosa and Stoner were left to lead the race at the start, with Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies in pursuit. Two laps in it was heartbreak as well for LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl as he crashed out of fourth, making this the first race he has not finished in his rookie season.
As the Hondas started to pull out a small margin, the crashes continued at the back as Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez ended his race in the gravel. With 19 laps to go Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso went past Spies into third as the pair diced for the final podium position. Dovizioso’s teammate Cal Crutchlow, who was ninth after taking avoiding action at the start, was having a tricky time trying to pass the Ducatis of Hayden, Valentino Rossi and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, but eventually fought his way past.
NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards retired with mechanical issues, putting an end to a difficult weekend, while Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró retired from the race with 11 laps remaining, putting a dent in his top CRT hopes. This was followed up a lap later with Rossi entering the pits with a chunk missing from his rear tyre, which was changed before he re-entered the race. Meanwhile at the front, Stoner made his move on Pedrosa as the Spaniard looked to be struggling. Three laps before the end Dovizioso had caught up to Spies once more as the pair was involved in yet another tussle for the final podium spot. The Italian made his move going into turn 1 on the final lap, and held on until the line.
In the end it was Stoner who took the chequered flag to go equal on points at the top of the championship with Lorenzo, as Pedrosa finished second and Dovizioso took yet another podium this year. They were followed by Spies, Crutchlow, Hayden, and Barberá, whilst the CRT contingent benefited from the numerous crashes, with Espargaró’s teammate De Puniet taking eighth, in front of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro and Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini. Rossi finished in 13th, 0.002 seconds ahead of Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham did not start the race, as his hand injury proved too severe to race.