MotoGP Assen Results 2018

Bruce Allen
by Bruce Allen

Marquez in Charge in Assen Classic

Photos by Getty Images; Lead photo by Honda

The Cathedral of Speed gave the 105,000 crazed Dutch fans in attendance a memorable liturgy today – the most closely grouped top 15 in MotoGP history, 16 seconds separating the lot. The action at the front – six different riders led at one point or other – was so intense it reduced the announcers to mere stuttering and grunting during the last three laps, panties in a full twist. At the end, the incomparable Marc Marquez put his stamp on a signature win, one of his best ever.

Embed from Getty Images
Marc Marquez took his victory of the season and now leads the championship by a commanding 41 points.

Practice and Qualifying

Practice sessions leading up to the two 15-minute MotoGP Qualifying Clusters were revealing. The factory Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales appeared to be enjoying themselves, despite a high-speed fail for Rossi during FP4. Andrea Iannone and his Suzuki showed up in the top four a few times. Cal Crutchlow ( Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso ( Ducati) were lurking in the neighborhood. Somehow, both Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro made it straight through to Q2.

But Marc Marquez was ubiquitous. Though he led FP1, it appeared that he sensed something needed fixing. He and his crew fixed whatever it was during FP2, which he mailed in. He then went out and led every session thereafter, including Q2 and the morning warm-up, earning pole in the process. Assen has always appeared to be a fun track for riders, and Marquez appears to enjoy the high-speed turns and right-left-right stuff.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite seeing positive results in the first practice session, Marc Marquez knew there was room for improvement.

The end of Q2 was like watching a video game. Johann Zarco, who had passed out of Q1 along with my boy Alex Rins, set a new MotoGP record, “Least Amount of Time on Pole in a Grand Prix Race” during the final moments, having led the pack for a full .407 seconds before being shredded by Marquez and pretty much everyone else. The standings projected on the screen flashed practically simultaneously at the end, the top 8 riders finishing separated by a three-tenths of a second. Blink of an eye. If you had the sound off it could have been Moto3.

Embed from Getty Images

Valentino Rossi looked strong in practice and qualifying but he knows he needs to be better to catch Marc Marquez.

In the words of Cal Crutchlow years ago, Q2 is “a lottery.” Prior to the race, I had doubts the remarkable qualifying results would have much to do with the race results, other than the likelihood that Marquez and Rossi would once again slug it out at the end. Marquez’ “win or bin” approach to MotoGP’s Amen Corner appeared firmly in place. My anticipation was that he would win or crash trying. Rossi appeared ready, willing and able to pick up the pieces if needed. Rookie Franco Morbidelli broke a bone in his hand on Saturday and was declared out of the race.

A Race for the Ages

I took six pages of notes during this one, trying to keep up with all the action, and failed. I captured most of the headline items, but there was too much going on, such that I, too, was reduced to stuttering and grunting. Let me try to give you the gist:

Embed from Getty Images

The red-hot Jorge Lorenzo got off to a strong start, moving up from the fourth row to take an early lead.
  • Lap 1. Jorge Lorenzo lights his solid rocket booster and catapults from 10th place to 2nd at Turn 1, went through on Marquez later in the lap, and led the race. Marquez survived a heavy hip check early in the day that would have floored most riders. He then went through on Lorenzo on Lap 2 and led the race.
  • Rossi and Lorenzo both went through on Marquez on Lap 4. Lorenzo led a tight top four, trailed closely by Rossi, Marquez and Dovizioso.
  • Lap 5: Lorenzo, being dogged by Rossi, loses the front and gets tagged hard by Rossi. Somehow, neither rider falls. Dovi goes through on Marquez into third place.
  • Lap 7: Marquez and Dovizioso go through on Rossi. Marquez finds himself in the midst of a Ducati double-team, courtesy of Lorenzo and Dovizioso. At this point in the race there was a nine-man lead group.
  • Between Laps 8 and 11 Alex Rins, on the Suzuki, moves up from 5th to 3rd, schooling both Rossi and Dovizioso on the way. Johann Zarco appeared to be gaining on the leaders.
  • Lap 12: The impertinent Rins gives Marquez another bump, dropping the him to 4th. Marquez returned the favor to Rins on Lap 14.

Embed from Getty Images

Alex Rins gave Marc Marquez a run, eventually settling for a career-best second-place finish.
  • By Lap 16, the leaders were Dovizioso, Marquez, Lorenzo and Viñales, with Rossi snapping at his teammate’s heels. Both factory Yamahas, at this point, were flying.
  • On Lap 19, Viñales went through on Dovizioso into the lead. This marked the first time in 2018 that a Yamaha had led a race. Oh, how far the once mighty have fallen.
  • Lap 22 saw Dovizioso and Rossi, running one-two at the time, run each other off the track, each refusing to yield to the other. Simultaneously, Marquez and Viñales were doing the same thing to a lesser degree, staying out of the kitty litter. Later in the lap, Marquez executed a double move, going through on both Dovi and Rossi, into a lead he would not relinquish.
  • The final lap: Alex Rins, running third, decided it would be second or nothing at all, dove inside on Viñales, and beat him to the line. Rossi, too, passed Dovi late, but messed up the last turn – unlike him – and had to settle for 5th, as his homeboy punked him in the last turn.

You gotta hand it to Carmelo Ezpeleta, the Chief Cheddar at Dorna. He set about making the grid more competitive five years ago and has succeeded wildly.

Moto2 and Moto3

Embed from Getty Images

Jorge Martin won his fourth race of the season and now leads the championship by two points over Marco Bezzecchi.

Jorge Martin prevailed in another Moto3 classic over Aron Canet and Enea Bastianini, the season championship leader changing yet again. Very tight at the top; 24 points separate the top five riders.

The Moto2 tilt was won by the serene Peco Bagnaia, who stiff-armed Fabio Quartararo and Alex Marquez for a win which was easier than the timesheet would lead one to believe. Dude is the second coming of Jorge Lorenzo. He looks like Lorenzo. He sounds like Lorenzo. He rides like Lorenzo – Mr. Smooth. And he wins like Lorenzo. Looking forward to seeing him on a Desmosedici next year.

Embed from Getty Images

Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia also scored win #4 in the Moto2 class. He now leads Miguel Oliveira by 16 points.

The Big Picture

Marquez has now stretched his 2018 lead to 41 points, a comfortable margin heading to a track in Germany where he has never lost. Rossi and Viñales occupy spots two and three; expect the wall down the middle of the garage any day. Johann Zarco in fourth leads Andrea Iannone in ninth by eight points. Jack Miller and Rins are battling for the last spot in the top ten.

Embed from Getty Images
Maverick Viñales earned his second podium of the season and now sits just six points behind Valentino Rossi for second overall.

Membership in “The Anyone but Marquez” club jumped on Sunday afternoon, along with the growing sense that he is toying with the field. A win at The Sachsenring in two weeks would give him five wins in nine outings, a brutal pace no one can keep up with. Jorge Lorenzo gave us some early thrills today, but ultimately reverted to his previously disappointing ways. It was good to see the factory Yamahas in the fight, but my sense is that Assen is one of the few tracks where they can compete effectively. And, to those of you who have been arguing that Alex Rins is a mutt, I will continue to jock him, as well as his future teammate Joan Mir. Those two are going to be ballers in the next few years.

Embed from Getty Images
Alex Rins continues to show flashes of potential. He has two podiums this season but twice as many DNFs.

Tranching After Eight Rounds

Tranche 1: Marquez
Tranche 2: Rossi, Viñales, Zarco, Rins, Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Iannone
Tranche 3: Miller, P Espargaro, Bautista, Petrucci, Rabat, Pedrosa
Tranche 4: Morbidelli, Syahrin, A Espargaro, Nakagami
Tranche 5: Redding, Smith, Abraham, Luthi, Simeon

Embed from Getty Images
Marc Marquez is on a whole other level right now.

2018 MotoGP Assen Results




Marc MarquezRepsol Honda41:13.863


Alex RinsSuzuki Ecstar+2.269


Maverick ViñalesMovistar Yamaha+2.308


Andrea DoviziosoDucati Corse+2.422


Valentino RossiMovistar Yamaha+2.963


Cal CrutchlowLCR Honda Castrol+3.876


Jorge LorenzoDucati Corse+4.462


Johann ZarcoMonster Yamaha Tech 3+7.001


Alvaro BautistaAngel Nieto Ducati+7.541


Jack MillerAlma Pramac Ducati+13.056


Andrea IannoneSuzuki Ecstar+14.255


Pol EspargaroRed Bull KTM+15.876


Aleix EspargaroAprilia Gresini+15.986


Scott ReddingAprilia Gresini+16.019


Dani PedrosaRepsol Honda+16.043


Tito RabatReale Avintia Ducati+16.416


Bradley SmithRed Bull KTM+29.073


Hafizh SyahrinMonster Yamaha Tech3+33.824


Takaaki NakagamiLCR Honda Idemitsu+34.037


Thomas LuthiEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda+47.853

Not Classified


Danilo PetrucciAlma Pramac Ducati9 Laps


Xavier SimeonReale Avintia Ducati9 Laps


Karel AbrahamAngel Nieto Ducati15 Laps

2018 MotoGP Top 10 Standings After 8 Rounds




Marc MarquezRepsol Honda140


Valentino RossiMovistar Yamaha99


Maverick ViñalesMovistar Yamaha93


Johann ZarcoMonster Yamaha Tech 381


Andrea DoviziosoDucati Corse79


Cal CrutchlowLCR Honda Castrol79


Jorge LorenzoDucati Corse75


Danilo PetrucciAlma Pramac Ducati71


Andrea IannoneSuzuki Ecstar71


Jack MillerAlma Pramac Ducati55
Bruce Allen
Bruce Allen

More by Bruce Allen

Join the conversation
2 of 64 comments
  • Mad4TheCrest Mad4TheCrest on Jul 08, 2018

    Everyone is talking up the job DORNA has done in moving toward 'parity' to generate closer racing. Putting aside my concerns that close racing with a large group clustered during the ENTIRE race could result in a custerfluck of epic proportions with million euro bodies scattered like tenpins, I am wondering: Is close racing like we saw at Assen really better than racing that allows riders to show their strategic skills rather than their bar fighting skills?

  • Kos Kos on Jul 08, 2018

    Dovi and Rossi flush each other's chances. Dammit says the old dude that would like to see Rossi on the top step one more time, no matter how unlikely.

    Great to see Rins and Suzuki up there, and being a Negative Norbert, also great to see JLo back to par.

    Good writeup, Bruce. With racing like this, it's worth watching even if Marquez runs away with the title.

    A final note: Thank you (again) Bein Sports for screwing up the advance schedule so that upon returning from a week of in-law family reunioning (new verb), I had only half of one of the best races in awhile waiting for me.