Author: Myanna Wedes

Title: Petrucci’s thunder stolen by Rins as Rossi battles him to win Assen race

Valentino Rossi is smiling from ear to ear as he won the 2017 Assen MotoGP race after battling confidently with Danilo Petrucci, Marc Marquez and Johann Zarco. Rossi took the winning crown with open arms and upon crossing the finish line realised the impact of Maverick Vinales crashing out of the race and allowing the World Championship battle to really ignite with fire! Andrea Dovizioso is now the title leader followed by Rossi and Marquez. Dovi did admit to thinking about the Championship in the last couple of laps, which did upset his rhythm. Dovi said he was not going to focus on it in Barcelona and a few cracks started to show, as he understood the extent of his lead becoming a reality. The crash by Vinales was unusual and DesmoDovi did an incredible job to miss him on the race circuit. The look on Vinales face when he entered the garage was that of pure anger and no doubt some tears would have been shed behind closed doors as his teammate soared to the top of the podium. Rossi has been winning for 20 years and this was his tenth win on Dutch soil. It is another reminder of just how adaptable and incredible the Doctor is.

The Dutch race was an adrenaline rush because the riders put their bodies and bikes on the line lap after lap without any inch of fear. Ride of the day goes to Danilo Petrucci who never gave up and continued to push. He was probably the unluckiest rider on the last lap where Alex Rins who had just returned to the paddock did not move off the racing line and almost took out Petrucci. This move by Rins as a result of no blue flags cost Petrucci the most important seconds of time in his life and as a result could not get ahead of Rossi. If you were to rewind the race and had Rins moved out of the way, it would be Petrucci one and Rossi two based on the drive out of the corner and how much power the Ducati rider had over the Yamaha. As they say, it was not meant to be. It will be a very hard loss to stomach for Petrux who has been racing with an incredible sense of confidence and precision. He was only 63 thousands of a second away from Valentino! Petrucci is one of the nicest guys in the paddock and no doubt he will be hungrier than ever to bag that first victory. With that said, Petrucci has a choice to stay at Pramac or head over to Aprilia. He wants the summer break to make this decision because his primary focus right at this present moment is to race and finish well. The minute he buys in to the mindset of where should I go in 2018, the mind starts to focus on other aspects and the ball is dropped therefore bringing about poor performance. This is something he wants to avoid completely.

When the rain started to fall during the Grand Prix, the riders had to make a gamble and for most it did not pay off. Zarco was the first to make the change and it sent him backwards. The good thing about the French rider is that he was willing to risk it for the biscuit and unfortunately this time it did not work. Jorge Lorenzo amongst others also came in to change bikes and upon entry to the pit lane and changing of the machines, the rain stopped and the riders realised that their decision to jump on to a wet set up bike was incorrect in every way. This is how the cookie crumbles!

On the other hand, Marquez made an executive decision to finish upright rather than in the gravel. “Maybe I would have been able to try and fight for the victory, but honestly I had some warnings and thought it too dangerous for the Championship, so I decided to be consistent in the race and to push hard at the end.” No doubt that Marquez took to Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso and won that battle with Crutchlow by standing on the podium. It was a very close finish for the Spanish rider after rain interrupted the rhythm and to a point where Marquez could not find the limit. He is only eleven points away from the title leader, which is nothing in this game of two-wheel motorsport.

Alternatively, the main lesson that was learned today by Crutchlow as a fellow Honda rider was that he showed his poker hand too early. “After it started to rain I kept a cool head, but I made a mistake by showing Marc (Marquez) and (Andrea Dovizioso) Dovi my hand, I went too early and should have passed them on the last lap. As it was, Marc just followed me and passed me on the second to last corner and there was nothing I could do.” The psychological aspects of the sport are key because they can transform a rider in to a World Champion or someone who cracks under the pressure. It was incredible to see Crutchlow flying so fast and giving it his all considering the new contract that he has signed with LCR and Honda. Cal really wants to win more than ever and it is a great attitude to have considering how dynamic he has become in the sport.

In MotoGP, changes happen rapidly and World Championship leads are thrown around like a ball. Rossi is now more aware of this and is tapping in to the reality of each circuit. “Everything is open and this year we discovered that, from one track to the other, the situation can change a lot. We have to wait for next week and try to be competitive also at the Sachsenring.” So there you have it and another reason why you should tune in to every race event this year as the battles heat up in intensity and quality.

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.