This was to be the day Marc Marquez’s dominance of the 2014 MotoGP season was finally broken, with rain clouds looming over the Assen circuit in Holland and the young Spaniard’s wet weather prowess still in doubt. Such foolish notions were soon dispelled when the championship leader rode a supreme race to his eighth consecutive victory of the year and an increased points lead in the race for the title. This, despite crashing in the morning warm-up.
Marquez had to overcome the determined Andrea Dovizioso on his Ducati however, as the Italian led early on in the damp conditions before the riders pitted after only a handful of laps to change to their slick-shod bikes. It was in this stage that Marquez, having passed Dovizioso just before they stopped, exited the pits with an increased margin – but threw it away with a mistake on his outlap on cold tyres that let the Ducati man re-take the initiative and inherit a four second lead.
From then on it was a case of how long it would take the Repsol Honda to reel in his opponent; in the event he was on his tail with ten laps to go despite the best efforts of Dovizioso, the Ducati just not up to the task in drier conditions. His winning margin was over six seconds, but Dovizioso maintained 2nd place ahead of Dani Pedrosa who had overcome pole man Aleix Espargaro for 3rd.
Jorge Lorenzo endured another miserable race, briefly leading when he elected to go a lap longer than his rivals before pitting for dry tyres, but the decision cost him dearly and dropped him to 17th place; he couldn’t recover higher than 13th before the chequered flag. While that territory of the points may be considered a disaster for Yamaha, for Paul Bird Motorsport it is a welcome return for their hard and often unrewarded work. Broc Parkes was running 6th after the pit stops had straightened themselves out thanks to some canny strategy calls and superb riding by the Australian, and he was 11th by the race finish, netting his second points finish of the season after finishing 15th in Qatar.
Valentino Rossi finished 5th with a measured recovery ride through the field after starting from the pitlane, with Iannone, Bautista, Smith, Crutchlow and Bradl following him home. Scott Redding was 12th, with Karel Abraham and Danilo Petrucci sandwiching Lorenzo in 13th.
Copyright – DORNA