Flat like an ironing board but somehow amazing. Shorter than it should be like Dani. But just as loveable, Assen is just as good as Mugello and Philip Island, but unlike them it was better. Before it was castrated, neutered, it was amazing. Oh well, it’s bloody good. Unless it rains; which it does too often.
However, this year was something of a revelation on the weather front (ace pun kiddo – Ed). Yep – just like the UK and the rest of the EU, it was bloody hot and very sunny all weekend. The Dutch looked at their special cigarettes and basically smiled at their good fortune……
And that’s when we realised that the race wasn’t on a SATURDAY*. So, we came back the next day……
Jorge Martin’s name would translate to George Martin, and as no other broadcaster or commentator has mentioned this, we thought we would and make ourselves look clever and smug and try to thing about Fab Four jokes. If you build it, they will come. One day. Anyway, he had pole, and that’s like saying Donald Trump is an arse who shags hookers i.e. very predictable. It was of course no surprise that he lead with his coterie of usual suspects hanging on; Bez nerfed his way up there from a poor grid position into second and Basti joined the affray. However, surprise, surprise, Nicola Bulega was on the front row. A career saving qualifying and maybe a career saving race result? Nope… he hurtled through the pack to 12th in just one lap. That’s some skills and no mistake. P45.
All this heat had no effect on Scottish perennial sun dodger, John “nanny” McPhee; he was up to seventh and looking good. It’s always a bit frustrating trying not to get too involved with a rider from your own country yet being unable to stop yourself. There – we’ve said it. Can-it had joined in which was nice. Apparently. But George Martin (grrrr come on jokes where are you?) was doing his best to leg it away from the hordes of hooligans. Can-can can-it was having none of that, and already by lap 5 he’d caught the canny Martin after sliding one past Bez. Passing Martin and into the lead can-it set a lap record on the next lap. Blimey – where did this resurgence come from? Maybe the thought of a crumbling team and looking for a ride next year? Perish the thought.
By lap 7 the front five had a gap as big as the gap in some riders’ heads – mass-hoo-sive. This sounds glib, but as usual the Moto3 race produced the best thrills this side of watching our Ed trying to get of his gimp suit whilst covered in olive oil…. Martin back to 5th, and McPhee up to 2nd with Can-it in the lead. By lap 9 Bez had the lead and was jockeying with Martin in an attempt to hold him off.
By lap 13 Bulega (really? Can’t you leave him alone – Ed) was up to 13th…! Errrr… this is getting embarrassing now. Lap 14 and McPhee’s passing was looking this side of awesome, but in the event, he started to over use his tyres. That cost him more dearly than a Tunnock tea cake. And so it came to pass; in the last 7 laps, McPhee dropped back, but Martin, Bez and Can-it fought like cat and dog. Eventually McPhee just could keep up and slid off with 2 to go at turn 9. Haggis! Having said that it’s not like he wasn’t in excellent company – last lap and Bez tossed it like a caber at turn 10 leaving Martin to take it from Can-it and Basti. And they were over 10 seconds ahead of Masia in 4th.
And so we stumbled, dribbling into Moto2.
Baggy had pole and Kent was in 24th place on the grid. The only unusual aspect about the race was that Marcel Snotter was, for the second race in a row, showing some form. Joan Oliveira was once again playing daft buggers down in 10th place but picked off five places in the first lap. Does he do it just for shit’n’giggles? God, we bet his team would rather he started from pole or at least the front row.
By lap 4 Baggy was gapping the rest out in front and Mir was looking classy. That’s not to say the rest are rubbish it’s just he’s so good.
And the rest of the race was, as predicted, a procession. Badass Baldassarri was the man on a move, but apart from that it was lap after lap of no real change. Sam Lowes got hit with a “drop one place” penalty, and Badass got hit with a puncture. You know what? That was the most interesting thing of the race. Baggy won from Quarter-pint with Teacher’s Pet Marquez in third. Zzzzzzz…..
So MotoGP. Obviously it was going to be better than Moto2. But could Jorge make it three in a row?
Well Marquez and Lorenzo went at the first lap like it was the last lap in a Moto3 race. Holi moli it was ace…… Rossi was looking very racy too; he loves this circuit and this circuit loves him too. Bromance all over the place. Lorenzo and Marquez were at it still and looked amazing. Marc passed Lorenzo with a stunning pass on lap 3 but for once Lorenzo looked to hold on chasing his compatriot.
By lap 4 The Tilbury Dock Decorator was past Lowcrutch whilst Rossi slipped her into 4th. Now Lorenzo was reverting to type and sliding down the pack; but the front 9 down to Zarco were one big pack of heaving testosterone at 200mph.
Lap 5 saw Dani down in 19th; something is going wrong for the Spaniard – not enough weight to heat the Bridgestone front, or Puig? On the same lap Rossi hit Lorenzo at flat-out miles per hour after Jorge had a from tyre slide. Somehow, they both stayed on and no Rossi fan got their knickers in a twist about a pure racing incident that cost no one anything. Phew.
Dovi stuck his head up and had a continuation of last season’s battle with Marc but by lap 9 Rins was battling with Rossi and the Dovi. Blimey where did this form reappear from?? It wasn’t to last; no, he didn’t fall off, Dovi just re-passed him whilst Zarco finally woke up passed Lowcrutch.
Normally Viñales qualifies ok, fades at the start and then regains his form just a little too late to have a big impact. This race however he started to recover by lap 11 and was looking racy in the front group. Lorenzo had held some kind of form not seen from him for years and battled with Marc with Marquez nestled in behind Jorge. This kind of racing is what we would pay good money to see. Hang on – we do!
By lap 13 Dovi was second past Rins and chasing Jorge – a lap later Dovi was leading and Marc was still battling Lorenzo hard.
Draw breath! Phew..!
Lap 17 and the Top Gun child was 3rd and Marc was 2nd. And a lap later Mav eased past Marquez into 2nd. That wasn’t to say the chaos had finished; lap 21 and Dovi, Viñales and Marquez all ran wide trying too hard. Rossi slipped into the lead, yellow smoke did billow, and everyone went nuts. But then Dovi spoiled the Rossi fans’ fun and took the lead.
Four laps to go and it was Marquez from Dovi from Rossi and then Maverick, Rins, Crutchlow and Lorenzo. That’s a pretty good group of riders there.
And then Marquez let the handbrake off and changed up to second gear. He’d not been playing with anyone exactly, but he manged to pull a lead. Maverick pulled into second with 1 to go and Rins took Dovi. And then took Viñales for second.
*Boom – yeah yeah yeah; it’s now officially and old joke!
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