Assen (The Netherlands), 26 Jun
e 2017: Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Valentino Rossi brought his A game to the Motul TT Assen race today. The nine-time World Champion completed a challenging weekend due to mixed conditions with a superb win, giving him the longest winning career through all classes, spread over 20 years and 313 days. Teammate Maverick Viñales fought his way up from eleventh on the grid and was heading towards the leading group, but his efforts ended in a DNF after an unlucky fall.
Rossi kicked off the Dutch Grand Prix from fourth position as darker skies loomed. He quickly slotted in behind Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez in third place and was quick to respond as his rivals attempted to break away, setting a provisional fastest lap of the race on lap three and four, with Danilo Petrucci tagging along.
The Doctor piled on the pressure with 17 laps to go and overtook Marquez a lap later in the first corner, making the fans cheer. He duplicated this manoeuvre on the next lap to take over the lead from Zarco, which was followed by a touch between the two in turn 4, but the Italian kept the lead. Four laps later the Factory Yamaha man inched away as his pursuers battled for second place.
The Doctor increased his lead to about a second, but with 8 laps left white flags came out as rain started to fall. Rossi was forced to lower his pace, allowing his rivals to close up. Adrenaline levels reached an all-time high for the VR46 fans as their hero fought tooth and nail to hold off his rival. Petrucci passed him with five laps to go, but the nine-time World Champion wasn‘t going to let the win slip away that easily. A lap later he used his nimble Yamaha YZR-M1 to charge past his compatriot in the chicane to regain the lead. The last laps were filled with drama as the pair had to deal with backmarkers, but Rossi held firm, taking a sensational win with a 0.063s advantage.
It was a busy race for teammate Viñales. Starting fro
m eleventh on the grid he flew off the line and made his way through the first lap settling into tenth place. He took a couple of laps to get his tyres up to temperature at the cool Assen track, before he heated up his pace and started to carve through the bunched-up pack of riders.
The Spaniard put his head down and hit the front of the group fighting for fifth place with 16 laps left and was making strides, until a crash in the chicane prematurely ended his quest.
Today’s results see Rossi move up to third place in the championship standings with a 108-point total. He is now three points behind his teammate Viñales in second place. The sensational win sees Yamaha hold the lead in the constructor championship with a 22-point margin and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP remain the leaders in the team standings by 28 points as they move on to Germany for the next round at Sachsenring in one week’s time.