The nine-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi flew on the Assen Circuit in the Netherlands to land on the top step of the podium for his first win since 2010. The Doctor was flawless as he made his move to the front, and held his ground.
This marks Rossi’s 80th Premier class win, and his first victory back on a Yamaha. The Doctor left Ducati to return to the Japanese factory team, and today his smile said it all.
“Today was something special, this is one of the best victories in my career because it is one of the most wanted and expected for such a lot of time. I’m so happy because I won a real race where all my opponents were very strong and very fast, apart from Jorge with his injury,” said Rossi.
Earlier in the day, Jorge Lorenzo was cleared to start today’s race after he has collarbone surgery in Barcelona. The defending world champion was injured during Thursday practice on a rainy day, and just after he laid down the fastest lap -- which no other rider was able to top -- Lorenzo touched the white line nearing the end of a fast lap. The Spaniard lost traction and ended up flying over the handlebars in a classic highside crash. It was a surprise to many.
The first move by Rossi came at the start of the Grand Prix of The Netherlands when the Italian made his move from fourth on the grid to third with a move to overtake Stefan Bradl’s LCR Honda in the chicane that proved to everyone that indeed the Doctor is back!
From that point on, he gave chase to the two Repsol Honda riders. Once he took the second position away from Marc Marquez, Rossi set his sights on Dani Pedrosa. The two battled for a short time, but on lap 6, the lead was in the hands of the Doctor and he sailed away, scoring a very emotional win by 2.1 seconds.
Pedrosa did not hold onto his position as his young rookie teammate made at least two attempts to move into second place before the chequered flag. The position gave Marquez the points he needed in the 2013 championship fight. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow made his move to earn the final spot on the podium. Even with his fourth place finish, Pedrosa still holds the lead in the point standings.
Crutchlow made a final attempt to finish second which nearly took both himself and the Honda rider Marquez from finishing the race.
Not only is Rossi and the Yamaha team celebrating the Doctor’s win, but they also are doing high-fives for the amazing ride by Lorenzo. The Spaniard at one time was in the hunt for a definite podium finish but the pain was a tad too much and he ended fifth -- not bad at all for someone who is recovering from surgery on his collarbone.
Bradl also is extremely happy after taking the start from the front row for the first time in his career. The LCR Honda rider finished sixth.
With his eighth victory at Assen, Rossi has garnered the needed points. Pedrosa now has 136 points to Lorenzo’s 127. Third in the standings is held by Marquez with 113.
In two weeks’ time, the MotoGP riders will be going at it again, this time in Germany.