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One of the greatest races of all time took place on Sunday 1st July at the 2018 Dutch Grand Prix held at the Assen TT circuit. The story began with Jorge Lorenzo sky rocketing from 10th place on the grid to 1st place and the chops and changes in positioning continuing from the first corner right up until the last corner on the very final lap. The race was career defining for some, heartbreaking for others and for the fans, an absolute dream to watch as riders knocked elbows, pushed limits and even saved themselves from crashing multiple times. The victor was Marc Marquez who was top of the time sheets for almost the entire weekend. However, his race was not easy and it took some serious courage to be able to make manoeuvres that other riders would have crashed trying to do. It was the battle of the MotoGP gods as they went beyond what was originally possible when the engines set off at the start/finish line.

The race yesterday is a clear reminder of how sophisticated motorcycling racing is and the incredible technology that exists around tyre rubber. We had Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki biting at one another and Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha finishing on the podium. This is brilliant for the sport and will allow more growth of two wheels across the globe. Lin Jarvis said it perfectly: “Today was a fantastic race for MotoGP. I can‘t possibly imagine how many overtakes there were from start to finish.” There were fans everywhere with heart rates through the roof, yelling, cheering and crying as the race came to an end. It is refreshing to hear riders and teams commending one another rather than complaining. This is where MotoGP excels and becomes a higher power in any classification of sport. The “Cathedral of Speed” was fast and furious all weekend long and it was a privilege to see. For anyone who missed out, you have to watch the event back to understand the passion, precision and bravery of the riders who risk their lives to obtain glory and success. 

The magnificent seven went to war and Jorge Lorenzo did an immense job to stay upright and not crash after a mid-race incident with Valentino Rossi. Imagine sitting on a bike at 195 km/h, the front of your machine sliding out and ready to throw you off, whilst you correct the problem and have another rider hit you from behind at that speed cracking the rear end of your bike. How the two remained in the event is impeccable. Frightening, dangerous, enthralling and crazy at the same time. Lorenzo: “the front closed in high speed, fifth gear, I entered too much on the inside and I touched the curb and the front closed. I almost crashed but I had to reduce a lot of speed and Valentino didn’t expect that I’d reduce so much speed and he hit me from behind”. Totally insane! If you analyse the Assen circuit you will find a race that is challenging and also mentally draining. From the first day of practice riders like Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso spent all weekend trying to improve their fourth sector times as this was their key indicator of where to improve. In contrast, Marquez was fast all weekend in the various sectors though had to adjust at times when the bike was almost out of control. The journey to win is not an easy one. Marc Marquez: “It was a crazy race, full of adrenaline—this feeling is one of the reasons we do this sport! Yesterday, I was expecting something like this, but nothing like it actually was! We were a wild bunch, everyone fighting against everyone; I think all of us made contact with somebody else at some point. We had to attack and defend, attack and defend. We had so many ‘big moments’ and risked crashing. It was crazy! It was impossible to define the best strategy, impossible to make plans, so eventually I decided to just fight and see what we could do in the end. In the last three laps, I gave it everything, no matter the tyres, no matter the Championship.”

As the bucking bulls kept charging, we witnessed an event that truly explores the limits of the human mind and soul. It is an event that can crush your heart’s desire to win, allow you to flourish, produce historic wins, explore areas of your comfort zone that cause you to feel uneasy and showcase your weaknesses very easily. We must give credit to all the riders who took part and especially those in the top fifteen that were remarkable even when defeated. Andrea Dovizioso: “It was an awesome race, for sure more for the fans than the riders because it was really difficult! We were fast and competitive and we worked well throughout the entire weekend, but in the last eight laps the rear tyre unfortunately let up on me so I tried to defend my position until the end and I finished fourth. Jorge Lorenzo: “Today the wind made the track conditions difficult and I knew it was going to be a complicated race, but I made a very good start, one of my best with the Ducati, and I was able to gain a lot of positions and conclude the opening lap in the lead. The pace wasn’t very fast and I stayed in the lead for a lot of laps. Then, when Dovizioso passed me, I lost a bit of rhythm, I began to feel the gradual deterioration of the rear tyre, and several riders were able to pass me.”

To the master of the game, the Doctor aka Valentino Rossi, he said on Thursday last week that he was concerned about the race and then came to life almost finishing on the podium. Rossi plants stories of doubt and we definitely feel that this is his way of psyching out his competition. He does it in a subtle way that has people eating out of his hands. Creative and destructive at the same time for those who focus too much energy on what Rossi is working on. He is a genius in this business. Valentino Rossi: “It was a wild race. I was so happy to be there, at the front, because it was exciting for all of the race, but I’m sad because I think I had the potential to arrive on the podium. The problem was that at the beginning I was very unlucky with Lorenzo. Lorenzo touched the curb and lost the front at a very high speed. I was already accelerating, but I overtook him in a good way, and we didn’t crash, so that was very good.”

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP

Credit: Sienna Wedes & CormacGP