2017 Dutch MotoGP: Rossi takes win No. 150 at Assen
The 2017 Motul TT Assen GP drew 105,000 fans into the oldest track in the MotoGP calendar. “The Cathedral” has hosted a race since 1955, and based on the attendance of the last few years, will continue hosting the MotoGP fraternity for a few more.
As the lights went out to start the race, it was poleman Johann Zarco who controlled the field with Marc Marquez running close behind, but it was “The Doctor”, who started in P4, who was hounding the leading duo from the get-go. Rossi kept Zarco and Marquez in sight ensuring the opportunity to grab the lead when it presents itself. Then on lap 11, Vale passed the #93 Honda to take P2 and eventually diving past Johann Zarco at the very next lap.
Meanwhile, championship leader Maverick Vinales had to contend with fighting it out in the mid-field, even former champ Jorge Lorenzo was finding it hard to get past his rivals. Vinales lost out big time when he slid out on lap 11, with it, valuable points needed to retain top spot in the riders championship tables.
Yamaha opted to use the Michelin medium tires in the front and hard at the rear, giving Vale the grip needed for the sweeping corners of Assen, unlike his struggling rivals who were on Michelin mediums for both front and rear. This was the distinct advantage that Rossi had and it showed; Vale held on to the lead, and when Marquez and Petrucci managed to come get by, Rossi came back immediately to reclaim the top position.
In the closing stages, rain decided to make an appearance, and with about 8 laps to go, race control opened the pitlane to allow riders to change bikes should they choose to. Zarco was the first to come in, and so did Hector Barbera, Jorge Lorenzo, plus a few more, but a lap later the rain stopped and immediately dry lines formed, negating the need of the wet weather tires.
Wisely, Vale opted not to come in when the heavens opened up, and gave Yamaha Movistar MotoGP rider his first win since Spain 2016. Danilo Petrucci came in 2nd with Marc Marquez rounding up the podium.