Monster Yamaha crushed the opposition in the Dutch Grand Prix, with Fabio Quartararo winning from Maverick Vinales.
MotoGP then got ready to race for the 90th edition of the Dutch Grand Prix at TT Circuit Assen. Maverick Vinales was on pole after announcing the split between he and Yamaha, and a win in Assen would help his hopes in finding a 2022 ride.
Title leader Fabio Quartararo lined up alongside the Spaniard, with Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia rounding out the front row. Quartararo would want a win heading into the summer break, with Bagnaia also craving a victory to get his title bid back on track.
The lights went out, and Quartararo led away from Bagnaia with Takaaki Nakagami. Bagnaia then fired up the inside of Quartararo, with a brief moment of three wide, before taking the lead. Quartararo immediately tried to retaliate but couldn’t. Marc Marquez came from 20th to 11th on the first lap, with Vinales down to fourth.
Alex Rins and Johann Zarco then came together, pushing Rins into the gravel and out of the top 20. Quartararo tried to take the lead back at the Timmer Chicane, but Bagnaia had the better exit speed and took the lead back.
He tried again a few laps later, but again the Ducati had better exit speed and got past by turn 1. On lap six, Quartararo did it and took the race lead back. Then he bolted and gapped the field by a second in the space of two laps. Valentino Rossi had a very big crash and was out of the race, looking winded but ok.
Quartararo was well and truly gone, and Nakagami took Bagnaia brilliantly in turn 13, but the Ducati power again gave him second back. By the halfway stage of the race, there was a six-rider battle for second, with Zarco, Joan Mir, and Miguel Oliveira on the back of fourth-placed Vinales.
Nakagami again fired through on turn 13, but again Bagnaia got through on the straight. Vinales and Zarco were looking increasingly interested, with Mir looking fast as well. The win seemed a done deal, but half the field was in the running for second.
Then, a long lap penalty for Bagnaia. The Italian exceeded track limits one too many times, as Vinales and Zarco passed Nakgami and the race exploded. Jack Miller crashed and Jorge Martin retired, while Mir and Oliveira passed Nakagami too.
The Japanese then ran wide at turn 1 and dropped to ninth, as the race unraveled for him. The race entered its final stages, with Quartararto leading by some four seconds, with Vinales second and Zarco third. All of a sudden, Vinales found a pile of pace and cut the lead by a second, as Mir passed Zarco, putting Suzuki back on the podium for the moment.
Back behind the top five, the race was really kicking off between Bagnaia, Marquez, and Aleix Espargaro. Iker Lecuona crashed out of 11th, meaning Rins, who was last at the end of lap 2, was knocking on the door of the top ten.
In the closing stages, the only active battle was the Bagnaia, Marquez, Espargaro one. Espargaro made a lovely move into the Timmer Chicane to move into seventh ahead of Marquez.
But the race was Yamaha’s. Quartararo dominating from Vinales, with Mir a great third. Zarco came fourth to continue to solidify his fourth in the title, with Oliveira continuing his good form in fifth. Quartararo celebrated his win by trying his hand at golf, but he was much better suited to riding a MotoGP bike.
|1||F. Quartararo||Monster Yamaha||+-.—|
|2||M. Vinales||Monster Yamaha||+2.757|
|3||J. Mir||Suzuki Ecstar||+5.760|
|4||J. Zarco||Pramac Ducati||+6.130|
|5||M. Oliveira||Red Bull KTM||+8.402|
|6||F. Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo||+10.035|
|7||M. Marquez||Repsol Honda||+10.110|
|8||A. Espargaro||Aprilia Gresini||+10.346|
|9||T. Nakagami||LCR Honda||+12.225|
|10||P. Espargaro||Repsol Honda||+18.565|