The season 2017 is almost coming to its half and it was time for the Dutch GP at the very famous and great Assen circuit. The Championship leader Franco Morbidelli started from pole position. Takaaki Nakagami and Thomas Lüthi also qualified to the front row.
Miguel Oliveira, Fabio Quartararo and Xavier Simeon qualified to the second row. Mattia Pasini, Alex Márquez and Marcel Schrötter started from the third row.
Saturday’s qualifying was affected by some rain. On Saturday also some not nice incidents happened so some riders was unable to start. Xavi Vierge broke his left thumb in the FP3 crash so he couldn’t continue in the weekend. Lorenzo Baldassarri had very nasty highsider during qualifying and ambulances were on the scene and all people were worrying about his health and even life. Luckily Lorenzo’s worst injury from this is broken ankle and earlier today he was already released from the hospital. But there were lots of other crashes (and some of them looked really bad too) but luckily nobody had serious injury from it.
The track was dry, although there were some worrying clouds before the Moto2 race. The air was just about 16°C while track had 25°C.
Race started and Thomas Lüthi took the lead immediately. But he made a small mistake and Morbidelli, Oliveira and Nakagami made it ahead of him.
Already at the beginning of the race there was an incident between Luca Marini and Simone Corsi. It was over for Marini but Corsi re-joined the race. But just for a while as a moment later he retired.
Franco Morbidelli was in the lead, Oliveira second but in one moment it was so close when Oliveira tried to overtake the italian rider.
So it was a group of 7 riders in the lead. In the group there were Morbidelli, Oliveira, Nakagami, Lüthi, Márquez, Pasini and also Simeon kept the pace there.
In the lap number 4 Miguel Oliveira took the lead. But Mattia Pasini was doing great job there and it took him just 3 laps to take the lead.
There were lots of overtakes in the leading group, it looked more like crazy Moto3 race. Fans aren’t very used to see such a big battle in the intermediate category.
In the 9th lap Takaaki Nakagami, the last year’s winner here, took the lead. Pasini and Morbidelli were behind him and there were some overtaking manoeuvres between them. Lüthi was behind waiting for his chance as well as Márquez.
Behind this group there were Hafizh Syahrin, Dominique Aegerter and Fabio Quartararo who went some quick laps and it looked like they could catch the leading group. But in the end they weren’t able to do it.
Meanwhile, Nakagami was still in the lead, Pasini 2nd but Lüthi made it ahead of Morbidelli. This took just for a while as Morbidelli took P3 back.
Takaaki Nakagami, Mattia Pasini, Franco Morbidelli and Thomas Lüthi made a small gap to the others. But there were some battles between them. Mainly Pasini was quite aggressive there and he also had some tough moments.
With 10 laps to go some rain drops appeared there. Even the race direction decided to show the rain flag to the riders. But luckily the track stayed mainly dry, it didn’t turn into any heavier rain.
Nakagami was in the lead but Morbidelli, Lüthi and Pasini were switching their positions quite a lot. Also Alex Márquez was behind them and he tried to involve to this battle.
Franco Morbidelli was able to take P2 and he tried to go some fast laps to catch Nakagami. Together with the Japanese they did some very fast laps and they were able to escape a little bit. They had about 1 second gap advantage. Lüthi and Márquez were fighting for P3 but Pasini who didn’t want to give up was behind them.
Morbidelli overtook Nakagami for a while but he went a little bit wide so Nakagami retook the first place. As they were overtaking each other, Lüthi, Márquez, Pasini and also Oliveira managed it back close to them and again it was a group of 6 fighting for the win.
Morbidelli went a little bit wide again and Thomas Lüthi made it ahead of him. Later Lüthi tried to overtake Nakagami but he overtook him back. A moment later Lüthi tried it again and he was successful that time. Morbidelli made it to second place, Pasini moved to third.
Later Pasini moved to 2nd. They went to the last lap in this order: Lüthi, Pasini, Morbidelli, Nakagami. But Morbidelli overtook Pasini and he tried to attack Lüthi.
In the last part of the race Morbidelli did it, overtook Lüthi and gained his 5th win of the year. Lüthi went second. Mattia Pasini finished third but he cut the last corner as he was behind Nakagami and then after that cut he was ahead of him. So he got 1 place penalty which promoted Nakagami to the podium.
So Mattia Pasini was 4th, Miguel Oliveira finished 5th, Alex Márquez was 6th, Xavier Simeon 7th, Hafizh Syahrin 8th, Fabio Quartararo 9th and Francesco Bagnaia completed top 10.
Marcel Schrötter, Dominique Aegerter, Brad Binder, Yonny Hernández and Jorge Navarro took the points too.
Remy Gardner, Jesko Raffin, Andrea Locatelli, Augusto Fernández, Stefano Manzi, Tetsuta Nagashima, Axel Pons, Iker Lecuona, Edgar Pons, Tarran Mackenzie and Khairul Idham Pawi left Assen without points.
Isaac Viñales, Sandro Cortese, Luca Marini and Simone Corsi didn’t finish the race.
Franco Morbidelli keeps the Championship lead with 148 points, Thomas Lüthi has 136 points, Alex Márquez has 113 points.
No time for relax as next round of the Championship is coming already next week. The teams and riders move to Germany, Sachsenring.
Photo: Marc VDS