MotoGP: Rossi takes dramatic victory after an incredible battle with Marquez in Assen
Sat 27th June 2015 – A massive crowd of over 97,000 fans witnessed one of the greatest MotoGP™ battles ever today, as nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi secured a dramatic last corner victory against Marc Marquez at the legendary TT Circuit Assen. After a thrilling race-long duel, Marquez made a brave move on Rossi as the duo entered the final chicane on the last lap.
Valentino Rossi “I pushed, and I don’t want to say I did a perfect race, but close. I saw I was not able to get distance from Marc. It’s always difficult with him and you know the battle will be very hard, but I was confident that I was competitive and I wanted to try for victory. In the last laps I pushed a lot and I arrived at the last chicane when Marc tried to overtake but he arrived a little bit too late, I was already into the chicane and we touched a little bit and I had to cut the corner. Essentially I had no choice and I was lucky, because I got on the gravel, but I stayed on the throttle even though I didn’t know how deep it was and I thought there was a chance I could lose control. When I returned to the track I checked the position of Marc, but he had slowed down more than I did. It has been a great weekend and it’s very important because I increased my point advantage over Jorge. I think that in a championship as close as this, it is very important you take the maximum profit when you are competitive and when you like the track, because for sure we will have some more difficult moments. It was fantastic to come back here with a victory. I think we deleted the results of Jerez, where Jorge gained nine points over me and now we have to try to delete also Mugello’s results where he did the same thing. Apart from the joke, it is very important because Jorge did fantastic to cut down a 28 points gap to just one. So to take nine points now is crucial, also because I think this championship will arrive to the last race and the last lap.”
There was contact between the pair, which forced Rossi to run straight on through the gravel at the Geert Timmer chicane. The Italian managed managed to stay upright though and went on to take the chequered flag 1.242s ahead of Marquez, claiming his third win of the season and first from pole position since Misano in 2009. Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi, starting from pole for the first time since Valencia last season, led into the first corner and it didn’t take Marquez long to join him after starting from third on the grid, overtaking Aleix Espargaro on the first lap to move into second.
Marc Marquez – “I am very happy that I’m back on the podium and I had a good race, fighting for victory until the end. I think it was a moral victory for us, but we were riding at the limit on the last chicane. We have worked very well all weekend and I have to thank the team, because you regain confidence when you’re with the best team in the World. They are helping me a lot and this was shown by the fact that, at a track where we are usually not so strong, we fought for the win until the last corner. We’ll see if we can take another step forward in the coming races. We rode a last lap to win the race, especially on the last chicane. I had studied things well and knew where I had to brake in order to be able to overtake Vale, and so I did that but didn’t end like I wanted…”
Marquez was happy to sit behind Rossi for most of the race, before making his move and taking the lead into turn 1 on lap 20. Rossi bided his time, and then responded with three laps to go to retake the lead at turn 10. The Italian then put in his fastest lap of the race in an effort to pull away, but Marquez responded on the final lap to get within striking distance once again as the duo approached the final chicane.
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a brilliant start from eighth on the grid, and found himself in third after the first lap. Any hopes the Spaniard had of making it five wins in a row disappeared shortly afterwards though, as Rossi and Marquez pulled away at the front and disappeared off into the distance. The double MotoGP™ World Champion eventually crossed the line 14.576s behind his teammate in a lonely third position and slipped 10-points behind Rossi in the World Championship standings.
Jorge Lorenzo – “We are still ten points behind the leader, which is good. It was 29 points after Argentina so now ten points after a difficult weekend that we had before a race is not so bad. I make a good start, I was really focused in the first lap to recover positions and did it faster than I expected, because I was already in third position when we crossed the finish line for the first time. I tried to keep up with the pace of Valentino and Marc, but they were really strong and I realized that today was not the day. Today was the day to fight and keep this third place, which is very good for the championship. If we struggle and still finish in third place, it’s a good thing. Valentino was a little bit more competitive here from the beginning, Marc improved his bike and was more comfortable to keep up the pace and for us it was the opposite. We found that the harder tyre gave us a little bit more problems and in two sectors I couldn’t be fast enough and lost so much time in sector two and four. In both I lost half a second and that made it impossible to have a good pace. The next race will be a bit more complicated at Sachsenring, because I’ve never won there, but you don’t know what might happen.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+19.109s) was another four seconds back to finish in a lonely fourth.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro won an incredible battle for fifth that saw four riders all finish within 0.4s of each other. The Spaniard also finished as the leading Satellite rider after he crossed the line just 0.105s ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in sixth. Espargaro’s teammate Bradley Smith was seventh in front of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa (+24.656s), who had fought back valiantly after a crash in the earlier Warm Up session and a disastrous start that saw him down in 12th after the first lap.
The Team Suzuki Ecstar duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales were next across the line in ninth and tenth respectively, ahead of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci (11th) and the second Factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in twelfth.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding finished 46.663s back from Rossi in 13th, while Loris Baz (Athina Forward Racing) took the Open class victory for the second time in three races ahead of Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden who crossed the line in 16th.
Hector Barbera and Jack Miller were involved in a crash on the very first lap that resulted in the Spaniard having to go to the medical centre for checks on his right leg, although he was later declared free of injury. Alex De Angelis, Eugene Laverty and Stefan Bradl also crashed out; with the latter finding out he had fractured the scaphoid in his right wrist after an X-ray at the Medical Centre.
Rossi’s (163pts) victory, his 85th in the premier class, means he has extended his lead in the championship standings over Lorenzo (153pts) to 10 points with ten races to go.