Over 100,000 fans gathered at the Assen TT circuit to bear witness to Valentino Rossi
’s 100th Grand Prix win as the the larger-than-life Italian rider took a dominating victory in the Dutch Grand Prix. After crossing the finish-line four seconds ahead of his Fiat Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo
, the 30-year-old proceeded to unroll a five-foot high banner that stretched far enough to hold enlarged images of each of the Grand Prix victories that the veteran rider has amassed, numbered from one up to the awaiting 100th spot.
One of the undeniable greats of motorcycle Grand Prix.
The historic race started out with Dani Pedrosa
(Respol Honda), Casey Stoner
(Marlboro Ducati) and Rossi launching off the grid to an early lead, with Lorenzo dropping to sixth behind Colin Edwards
(Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Chris Vermuelen
(Rizla Suzuki). Stoner and Rossi both slipped past Pedrosa on the first lap, with Rossi then taking the lead from the Australian coming into the second lap. Two laps later Lorenzo overtook Stoner for second, but by this time his charismatic teammate had already amassed a 1.4 second lead. Assen is known as a rider’s circuit, and on Saturday Rossi showed the paddock what form looks like when perfected. By the 12th lap the ‘Doctor’ had a two second advantage over his fellow Yamaha YZF-M1 teammate. Despite Lorenzo putting in consistently fast lap times this gap only increased, with
Both the Respol Honda riders went down at the same corner.
Rossi finishing over 4 seconds in front of the second-placed Lorenzo and 20 seconds ahead of Stoner.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa crashed at Turn 1 of lap 4 as the Spaniard headed in a little too hot in an attempt to keep pace with the championship leaders. The RC212V rider was uninjured, but out of the race. Andrea Dovizioso
took over his teammates slot in fourth ahead of Colin Edwards and Chris Vermeulen. In what will be a weekend to forget for the Honda team Dovizioso crashed at the same corner as Pedrosa six laps later. Unable to get his machine restarted the Italian took a DNF alongside his teammate. Edwards and Vermeulen each matched or beat their season-best finishes as they maintained a comfortable lead over the remaining riders to finish fourth
NIcky Hayden showed signs of improvement on the Ducati as he battled with James Toseland throughout the race.
and fifth, respectively.
A tremendous battle for sixth developed between Nicky Hayden
(Ducati Marlboro), James Toseland
(Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing), Loris Capirossi
(Riza Suzuki), Randy de Puniet
(LCR Honda), and Toni Elias
(San Carlo Honda Gresini). On lap eight Hayden lost the position to Toseland, while Capirossi dropped a number of positions after running off the track. Two laps later Kallio overtook the American rider and then hunted down and passed Toseland with 11 laps to go. The Finnish rider couldn’t hold onto sixth for long though, as Toseland regained the spot with eight laps remaining. Coming into the final lap the Finn gave it one last go and retook the position, yet tragically crashed into the gravel shortly after as he entered the final chicane. Toseland would be followed over the finish-line by the first of the Honda riders, De Puniet in seventh and Elias in eighth. However, Elias would be penalized 20 seconds for illegally using the run-off area on the final lap, which handed eighth over to Hayden, who had fought back after lossing a couple positions when he ran wide in turn 1 with four laps to go. Loris Capirossi, who had lost time after Elias pushed him into the gravel, would be moved up to ninth with Alex de Angelis
rounding off the top-ten.
MotoGP Assen Results
The Fiat Yamaha team had plenty to celebrate as the 'Doctor' took his 100th career win at the Assen TT.
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Casey Stoner (Ducati)
4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)
5. Chris Vermuelen (Suzuki)
6. James Toseland (Yamaha)
7. Randy de Puniet (Honda)
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
9. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki)
10. Alex de Angelis (Honda)
11. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki)
12. Toni Elias (Honda)
13. Sete Gibernau (Ducati)
14. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
15. Yuki Takahashi (Honda)
16. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda)
DNF. Mika Kallio (Ducati)
DNF. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)
DNF. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
MotoGP Assen Rider Quotes
Valentino Rossi - Fiat Yamaha - 1st
“This is a very emotional moment and for sure I will remember this 100th victory for the rest of my life. When I reached 70, 100 seemed a long way away but here I am and it has been great, great fun getting here. It is down to so many people, like Jeremy and my guys who have been with me for ten years and all of the team who always give 100% and always give me the best bike possible. Especially however I have to thank the friends who have been with me my whole life and my father Graziano, who won here in Assen 30 years ago when I was a baby, and my mother Stefania, because they have always supported me. It’s great to reach this moment here at Assen because it’s the ‘Cathedral’ of motorcycle racing and the most historic track we go to. Today was a perfect race – I got a great start and my bike was incredible which meant that my pace was very strong. In fact I think it was better for everyone’s hearts not to have another last-lap battle like in Barcelona! I had a good advantage from Lorenzo in some parts of the track and it was a great ride for me. Now I have 100 wins and I’m only the second rider to arrive at this number, but Agostini still has 22 more and for me he is still the greatest. 100 is a great result but the atmosphere in our team is wonderful and the motivation is still as high as ever – we want to win a few more races together yet!”
Jorge Lorenzo - Fiat Yamaha - 2nd
“First of all I have to say congratulations to Valentino because this is an incredible thing to achieve and this day belongs to him. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good start today and I had to take a few risks to pass people and come back to the front. Once I did I tried to go after Valentino but in some places I just wasn’t as fast as him; he was riding 36.5s every time and I didn’t really have quite enough confidence to push that hard today because the bike didn’t feel perfect. As the race went on I started to feel the front tire ‘close’ a bit and I decided that it was safer to come home in second! Another podium is a great result; it’s my fiftieth and we continue to be very strong this season so I am happy. I am only five points from the lead and we are in a good position going to Laguna, which I am very excited about.”
Casey Stoner - Ducati Marlboro - 3th
"I've been feeling fine all week but started to feel run down again on Friday and I've just got worse as the weekend has gone on. I've taken every kind of supplement and vitamin tablet you can think of but nothing seems to have worked, so it is obviously something we need to have looked at closer because I can't keep going like this and it is costing us points. Thankfully I had a fantastic bike underneath me again today and I owe the team for that. A big thank also to Dott. Macchiagodena and our physiotherapist Freddie (Dente), who took good care of me both in Catalunya and here. Unfortunately we don't have much time to get fit for Laguna but we'll see what we can do."
Colin Edwards – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 4th
“Finally I got a decent start and the longer wheelbase bike helped me get off the line. When Dovizioso came by I was biting my teeth to stay with him and keep the pressure on. But then I saw Dovizioso crash in front of me and just before that I'd had a moment with the right side of the front. I'd done 32-laps on that tire yesterday but coming in and out of the pits all of the time it's hard to get an accurate assessment of what's going to happen. I just held station after that because I could see I wasn't catching (Casey) Stoner and I was holding Vermeulen off comfortably. My target was just to ride without making any mistakes and keep the momentum going. I rode my hardest but this year in MotoGP it is so hard just to get a podium. The field is so strong now and it's the hardest year I've ever had in MotoGP. I've ridden nowhere near as hard as that in the past and been on the podium. But I'm close to fourth in the championship and I was only beaten by the three fastest guys in the world today, so I'm happy with the job I'm doing. I can't wait for Laguna now and hopefully I'll be able to go better and get a podium for Monster, Tech 3 and all the American fans.”
Chris Vermeulen –Rizla Suzuki – 5th
"I'm obviously happy because this is my best result of the year and we have shown that we have made a step with the bike after the Barcelona test - especially on the chassis side of things. At this track - and the next couple that we are going to - it is not so important on the motor front, so the slight speed disadvantage that we have is not so bad and we can still be competitive. I got a good start to the race and got in with the front guys early on. I tried as hard as I could to stay with them, but didn't quite have the lap-times to hang in there. I kept pushing all race and when Colin came past I tried to hang on to him, but he seemed to have a bit more rear grip than me. Most of the race after that was pretty boring as I was on my own. I'm happy with fifth and it gives us some valuable points in the championship and a good result to take forward into Laguna Seca."
James Toseland – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 6th
“I was a bit nervous on the start because I'd no experience with a new clutch set-up we were running. The crash in the warm-up meant I didn't try it before the race, but I did a pretty good start but still lost three or four places. I knew I'd got a pretty good race set-up so just tried to stay calm and in the first couple of laps I took advantage of that to get into the top ten. It was an incredible battle for most of the race and I knew I wasn't much stronger than the rest and I knew if I got to the front that it wasn't going to be a case of me pulling away. I knew once I was at the front of the bunch that it would be a case of protecting it. That's exactly what I did but it was nearly all spoiled on the last lap. I was getting ready to pass Mika at the last corner when Elias came under me at Turn 10. That let Loris through too and I'd gone from sixth to ninth! It was so chaotic I didn't even see Kallio crash and I thought when Elias dived under Loris at the last chicane that they might run off. Fortunately for me they did and I took advantage of it, and leading that group for so long I think I deserved sixth. It has been great to work with Mr Nakajima and I feel quite privileged to have his help and it just shows that I'm still on Yamaha's thoughts and they want me to get up to speed.”
Randy de Puniet - LCR Honda - 7th
“That was a thrilling and stressful race. My grid position did not help; I got a bad start but after the first corner I overtook a few riders and I was up to ninth by the end of the first lap. After that I caught a group of riders with faster engines and I could not pass them. Suddenly Toseland passed me after the back straight but he was on the limit and hit my machine. Once again I had to push to catch the group and then Elias came past and hit me at turn three. However, I stayed focused and when Capirossi and Elias made a mistake in the last corner I was ready to take the chance to pass them. After a difficult time in qualifying we deserve this seventh place. My crew made a very good job on the electronics between the warm-up and the race.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro - 8th
"When you start from 13th you are always going to have a lot of work to do but that was the best bike I've had underneath me all season so I want to say a huge 'thank you' to the team for that, they have worked so hard. I got a great start and was able to lead the second group for a while until a couple of guys came past and I lost my rhythm a bit. I made a little mistake under braking on the back straight, ran wide and lost a lot of time but I fought back and got in with the group again. I was having great fun but unfortunately the left handlebar came kind of loose about halfway through the race and cost me a lot of time - that's when a lot of the guys got past me. I know I'm coming out with a lot of excuses this year but a loose handlebar at that speed is pretty scary! The guys are looking at how it happened. Anyway, man it was a hard battle. I know we were only fighting for fifth or sixth but it felt like there was a title on the line out there! Big respect to everybody in the group though. Elias made a big mistake but everybody left it all out on the track today and we all shook hands afterwards. It was good to be a part of the battle."
Loris Capirossi – Rizla Suzuki – 9th
"It was not a good result today and it began with a bad start by me, it made it very difficult all race because it is not very easy to overtake here. When I was pushed wide I was really disappointed because it meant I had to start all over again and chase the other guys to get past. I got past three riders on the last lap and I was just behind Kallio on the last few corners and then he crashed, so I was sixth. I thought that would be not too bad, but on the last corner Elias tried to overtake me and put me out and that was it, it was is all over. I am upset because I really think if I had got a good start today I would have had a good race and we'd have been competitive, but it's finished now and we have to move on."
Alex De Angelis - San Carlo Honda Gresini - 10th
“From the first lap to about three quarter distance it was a good race for me, fighting in a group for seventh place. We’ve been working hard to find rear traction recently and made some progress at the Barcelona test that has helped us here and I think we have gathered more interesting data to help us move forward. Unfortunately it was the front tire that we struggled with today. From about halfway through it was pretty worn and the front was folding on me more and more. I almost crashed on a few occasions so decided it was best to back off and settle for the position I was in. It is not exactly where we want to be but I think we are getting closer and I’m excited about taking this progress to America.”
Toni Elias - San Carlo Honda Gresini - 12th
“I’m happy because it looks like little by little we’re making progress. The problem here was that I qualified badly yesterday, I got a bad start today and a lost so much time at the start of the race fight with Sete [Gibernau], Talmacsi, Takahashi and Canepa. It was only three laps but it felt like a lifetime! Once I got free of them I was able to keep passing riders until there were three seconds of clear track in front of me to the second group, which I was able to close down. There were some really hard riders in that group and it was a lot of fun. I want to publicly apologize to Capirossi though because I was very late into the last chicane and ran us both off track. I feel bad for him but I just had to give it everything I had today. Race direction have decided to penalize me for it, which I have to accept, but the most important thing about today was the performance and not the result.”
Yuki Takahashi - Scot Honda - 15th
“I did not have had a perfect start. Moreover, in the very first part of the race I almost collided with another rider and was forced to take a wide line which lost me time. Mid-race, my back began to ache and then lap by lap I lost sensitivity in the finger I broke in Barcelona. I wanted to finish at any cost. I did it, and I’m satisfied. But not happy: I can do better, and I’ll do so in the next races.”
Gabor Talmacsi - Scot Honda - 16th
“The start was fun. I had practiced my starts and I saw that I was good at that. So, we decided for a soft tire for the rear and a medium tire for the front. For ten laps I was able to stay with the other guys in my group. I’m very pleased with my race weekends in MotoGP so far; I’m improving race by race, day by day. Next, we are going to have a technical meeting to decide how to work on the setup for Laguna Seca.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Repsol Honda – DNF
“At the beginning the race was going well and I was lapping with a fast pace – the same as in the practice sessions. Fourth place was looking on the cards and I believe that would have been an achievable and a reasonable result for us this weekend, so I’m very disappointed about the crash at Turn 1. I had a good start but I was trapped by a bunch of riders and it took me a few laps to get by them. Once I was past I was feeling quite comfortable, although I wasn’t sure I could catch Stoner. Then, while I was in the middle of the corner at the maximum lean I lost the front. I wasn’t on the brakes when it happened – we have to lean a long way over in the middle of the turn and that’s when it caught me out. The next race is only a week away so we have to put this result behind us and focus on Laguna. It’s a track I like and, in spite of today’s result, I’m confident when can get a good result there.”
Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda – DNF
“The good news is that I didn’t hurt myself in the fall and, considering my recent run of luck with injuries, this is a big relief. But of course I’m disappointed with the result today because, even though it’s unlikely I could have won the race, I was feeling strong on the bike again and believe I could have made the podium. My feeling on the machine this weekend has been much better and I have been able to ride close to my maximum potential, so I was quite confident coming into this race. I made a fast start and found a good rhythm, so the crash was very unexpected – for the whole weekend I had no warning this might happen. Now we have to forget this race and remain positive and focused because we have been the best in the past and I believe we can be the best again. The whole team deserves better than this and I know we will work even harder to take the fight to our rivals, even though they are very strong. Laguna is the next race and we will go there with the same positive mood that we brought to Assen this weekend.”