We fans of MotoGP were treated to another corker at Assen at the weekend. The fast flowing nature of the circuit was always going to play into the hands of the Yamaha’s, and it did. Well some of them. The factory boys both put it on the podium, but Rossi threw it at the scenery. And before we get too hard over Yamaha’s performance, it’s worth noting all six manufactures had at least one bike in the top ten. But let’s put the bikes to one side for a moment. Because this is 44teeth.com’s critical analysis of the top ten MotoGP finishers at Assen.
1st Fabio Quartararo – 9.5/10
Quarter-Pounder didn’t really put a foot wrong, did he? He got to the front, buggered off and won the race. It’s performances like that, that’ll win him a MotoGP World Championship. In fact, I bet Dorna have already started inscribing his name on the trophy. So why not 10/10? Well I’m afraid his celebratory golf swing on the slowing-down lap left a lot to be desired. I don’t profess to know a lot about golf, but I’m fairly sure that if it takes you three attempts to hit the ball in the first place, you need to work on your swing. At least he managed to keep his clothes on this time.
2nd Maverick Viñales – 5/10
If we are taking Fabio’s conduct after the race (i.e. the golf swing) into account, we’ll have to do the same for Maverick. Although he performed almost faultlessly during the race, virtually matching his teammates winning pace (once he’d fought his way to P2), he had a right face on in parc fermé. Maybe it was because he’d just found out he was getting the sack. Or perhaps he thought he had the win in the bag, and he’s a sore loser. In any event, the miserable so-and-so was downright rude to press after the race, and made a bit of an arse of himself on the podium by ‘forgetting’ to join in with the bubbly. Grow up, Maverick.
3rd Joan Mir – 8/10
I’d be as surprised as anyone else if Mir win’s a second World Championship in 2021, but, to be fair, it’s performances like this that won him his last one. If he’s not on the podium, he’s rarely far away from it. That’s why despite being fourth in the championship, he’s only actually 21 points away from Zarco in second. A lot more than you can say for his Suzuki Ecstar teammate ‘Alex Bins’. Keep doing what you’re doing, Joan.
4th Johan Zarco – 8/10
Once again, independent Ducati rider Johann Zarco was the first Ducati to cross the line. And on a circuit that ought not to suit the Ducati’s point-and-squirt characteristics. Zarco keeps reminding us why he should be a factory rider, and at Assen he did it again. Saying that, the Frenchman has never actually won a MotoGP race! With a win or two under his belt and a factory contract, who knows what Zarco could do. I’ve heard there’s a factory contract going begging somewhere, actually *cough-Yamaha-cough*.
5th Miguel Oliveira – 7/10
After three podiums on the bounce (including a win in Barcelona), the KTM rider will have no doubt ridden to Assen on the crest of a wave. And although fifth is far from a podium spot, he’s at least bagged himself some precious championship points. He was the first KTM rider home too, so that has to count for something. Good work.
6th Pecco Bagnaia – 6/10
Plenty of the riders in yesterday’s race would have been cursing this lad something terrible. Viñales, Mir, Nakagami and countless others tried and tried and tried to get past the Italian; only to be mugged by the power of his Ducati when they finally managed it. You could see that Bagnaia didn’t have the stability through the fast stuff, but the way that the Ducati was able to put the power down made up for it.
7th Marc Marquez – 7/10
Fresh off the back of his first win in nearly two years, we were all keen to see how MM93 would fare at Assen. Was his German win a flash in the pan, or is he back to his winning ways? Well it would appear that the Marquez of old hasn’t made a full return (in 2019 he didn’t finish any lower than second). He would have been riding in a bit of pain though, thanks to a monstrously big high-side in free practice. He’ll be back… he’s just not back yet.
8th Aleix Espargaro – 6/10
I don’t know if it’s the fact that the Aprilia isn’t very good at looking after its tyres, or that Aleix forgets to have his Weetabix on a Sunday morning; but for some reason, he always seems to start reasonably well and then go backwards. And Assen was no exception. If he could maintain the pace he starts races at, he’d be a genuine podium contender. But he can’t maintain it. So he isn’t a podium contender. Simple.
9th Takaaki Nakagami – 7/10
Nakagami, or ‘Knackers’ to his mates, looked like he was going to have a really strong result in yesterday’s MotoGP race at Assen. Unfortunately though, the Japanese Honda rider doesn’t seem to do well in high pressure situations. The battle with Bagnaia was hard fought (and ultimately lost) by Knackers; so hard in fact that it appeared to do him in. Halfway through the race it looked like his head had gone. It was as though he’d given up. His demise seemed too sudden to be tyre degradation, and too early in the race. God knows what was up with him. I expect the whole team are working on finding out as we speak.
10th Pol Espargaro – 5/10
Tenth isn’t a horrendous result for the younger of the two Espargaro boys, but HRC won’t be throwing a party. Not only did he get beaten by his brother and his team mate, Knackers, on his non-factory machine, finished over six seconds in from of him. Honda aren’t having the best year in MotoGP so far, and Pol didn’t make it any better at Assen.
Like that well done boothy