Dutch MotoGP: Bagnaia reigns supreme at the Cathedral of Speed

    With this win, Bagnaia’s lead extends to 35 points over nearest championship contender Jorge Martin.

    Published On Jun 26, 2023 02:43:00 PM

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    Dutch MotoGP: Bagnaia reigns supreme at the Cathedral of Speed
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    Defending world champion Francesco Bagnaia secured his fourth win at the TT circuit Assen, further extending his championship lead. The factory Ducati star passed KTM’s Brad Binder to take the early lead, then kept just out of reach when Sprint winner Marco Bezzecchi moved into second place.

    1. Bagnaia holds a 35-point lead over Martin
    2. Binder had to forego podium twice for exceeding track limits
    3. Marc Marquez sits out race due to worsening rib injury

    The story of the weekend, however, was Aleix Espargaro’s ride through the field to finish fourth. Pushed off the track and into 15th position by Fabio Quartararo’s crash, the Aprilia rider turned the “passing is impossible this season” story on its head, slicing through the field and delivering a breathtaking pass on the final lap.

    Bagnaia wins Dutch GP; penalties cost Binder podium

    Looking strong after winning the Sprint Race and taking pole position, Bezzecchi was the man to beat on Sunday. But he was forced to settle for second place. Bagnaia took the lead with 24 laps to go and he stayed clear of Bezecchi to take victory by just over a second.

    Binder valiantly fended off Aprilia’s Espargaro and Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin, and crossed the chequered flag in third place. However, just like in the Sprint race on the day before, he was handed a post-race penalty for exceeding track limits on the final lap (both times at exactly the same place, the exit of turn 8) and dropped to fourth in the classification. This promoted Aleix Espargaro to third place and final spot on the podium.

    Crash-ridden Dutch GP

    Quartararo, who inherited a podium on Saturday after Binder’s post-race penalty, had been fastest in the warm-up. But he lost the front of his machine through Turn 7, wiping out fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco in the process.

    Maverick Vinales was closing in on teammate Espargaro in fourth when he lost the front of his Aprilia and crashed out on lap 4. Enea Bastianini slid out of eighth at the hairpin soon after, with Miguel Oliveira, Iker Lecuona and Fabio di Giannantonio also crashing out at various stages of the race and joining the DNF list.

    Marc Marquez skips race due to injury

    The Repsol Honda star suffered an injury last Sunday at Sachsenring, when he was thrown from his machine in a highside during warm-up. 

    Subsequent medical checks suggested the rib was only cracked, and Marquez returned for Assen. But after pain throughout Friday and Saturday – when he qualified and then finished just 17th in the Sprint – a Sunday morning scan confirmed the rib was fully fractured, but Marquez had already decided not to race the night before.

    2023 MotoGP championship standings

    Baganaia now holds a 35 points lead over Martin in the riders' championship. Bezzecchi, meanwhile, is just one point Martin in third place.

    Following the cancellation of the Kazakhstan GP due to homologation work on the circuit, officials have decided to not replace it on the 2023 calendar. Instead, there's a long break before the British GP on August 4-6.

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