Vnilanes dominates TT Assen race to take first win in 2019

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Maverick Vinales earned his and Yamaha’s first win of the season after a magnificent ride on Sunday afternoon at the TT Assen.

The Spaniard beats second place Marc Marquez  and polesitter Fabio Quartararo after the trio treated us to a fantastic scrap in the Netherlands. 

Quartararo didn’t make a bad start from pole position, but two blue machines shot to the fore as the lights went out for the MotoGP race. Team Suzuki Ecstar duo Alex Rins and Joan Mir went P1 and P2 into Turn 1, with Vinales getting the better of Quartararo into Turn 1 as the number 12 Yamaha got out of shape on the exit. Quartararo got back at Vinales heading into Turn 5 though, with Marquez P5 off the start as the two Suzukis led the premier class freight train around the opening lap at the Cathedral of Speed.

Sitting as one of the pre-race favourites, Rins was looking comfortable at the front as he eyed win number two of the season. But on Lap 3, his race would end at Turn 9 – Rins tucked the front and slid out of contention, leaving rookie teammate Mir in the lead of a MotoGP race for the first time. The 2017 Moto3 World Champion wouldn’t keep it for long though, Mir ran wide at Turn 16 to let Quartararo through.

It wasn’t long before Marquez and Viñales would follow the Frenchman through as Marquez soon became the meat in a Yamaha sandwich. Meanwhile, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) had made a cracking start from P11 to get himself into P4, just behind the leading trio, with Mir dropping into the clutches of Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci in the battle for 5th.

Quartararo, Marquez and Vinales were locked together with Dovi just under a second back. Viñales was looking eager to get past Marquez but heading into Turn 1 on Lap 10, the factory Yamaha man ran wide and lost over half a second to the duo. At the front, Quartararo was struggling to control his YZR-M1 heading out of Turn 5 and onto the back straight. The 20-year-old kept having to shut the throttle to avoid a bucking bronco effect as Marquez closed right in, no such problems for him down the straight as the number 93 took the lead on Lap 11.

Viñales reeled Marquez and Quartararo back in and it wasn’t long before the latter was back past Marquez after the Spaniard made a mistake at Turn 1. This trio had now dropped Dovi as the Italian found himself in company with teammate Petrucci and Mir. However, all the focus was at the front. With 11 laps to go, Viñales was your new race leader – Quartararo wrestling his M1 again down the back straight as the Frenchman slipped to third. With 10 to go, Quartararo was seemingly struggling. 0.9 was the gap to Viñales and Marquez as it became a two-way scrap for the win.

Was the pressure getting to the leading Yamaha? Another mistake into Turn 1 let Marquez through with nine to go but Viñales regrouped and re-passed the Championship leader. Now, we started to see Viñales get in the groove as he set two consecutive personal best laps. Marquez stayed with him but once clear of Quartararo, thinking about the Championship, the Repsol Honda started to back off as Vinales’ pace was superior.

Vinales’ lead was over a second with two to go and with Repsol Honda Team Manager Alberto Puig leaning over pit wall to tell Marquez that P2 was more than ok, Viñales could enjoy the last lap as he came round to claim his first win since the 2018 Australian GP. It’s a win that means four manufacturers have now won in the first eight races this season, with Marquez upping his title race advantage to 44 points heading to his fortress: the Sachsenring.

Quartararo, still not 100% fit after his arm pump surgery, picks up a second consecutive podium in P3 to leapfrog himself to P6 in the Championship. Dovizioso did well to come home fourth to limit the damage in the overall standings as much as he could, with Franco Morbidelli securing his equal-best MotoGP finish with a final chicane move on Petrucci – the Italian finishes sixth.

Cal Crutchlow crosses the line seventh, the British rider had strong pace mid-race but a mistake at Turn 1 ended his P4 charge, with Mir also making a mistake late on to finish P8. The rookie was on for his best result of the season as he was embroiled in a race-long scrap with the Ducatis but nevertheless, it was a hugely positive weekend for Mir.

Completing the top ten was Jack Miller, a lonely ride for the Australian on a circuit he won at in 2016, with Andrea Iannone earning his best result of the season in P10. Nursing a wrist injury, Pol Espargaro led home older brother Aleix Espargaro – Aleix also riding injured – as Miguel Oliveira, Francesco Bagnaia and Hafizh Syahrin came across the line together to complete the points.

Valentino Rossi and Takaaki Nakagami were involved in a crash together at Turn 8 on Lap 5 – riders ok – as Karel Abraham also crashed, rider ok. Johann Zarco retired from the race.

Full Race Result:

Pos. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 40'55.415
2 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +4.854
3 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +9.738
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +14.147
5 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +14.467
6 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +14.794
7 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +18.361
8 Joan MIR Suzuki +24.268
9 Jack MILLER Ducati +26.496
10 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia +26.997
11 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +28.732
12 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +34.095
13 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +34.181
14 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +34.249
15 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +34.494
16 Tito RABAT Ducati +48.357
17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1 Lap
Not Classified
  Johann ZARCO KTM 10 Laps
  Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 22 Laps
  Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 22 Laps
  Alex RINS Suzuki 24 Laps

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