Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spies scores maiden victory at Assen

Ben Spies leads at AssenBen Spies scored his maiden MotoGP victory in the Dutch TT at Assen on Saturday after his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and Marco Simoncelli collided on the first lap of the race.

The American, often described as the ‘fifth alien’, became the first ‘new’ winner in MotoGP since Andrea Dovizioso won in the rain at Donington in 2009.

The 26-year-old Texan, on his 28th start in the top class, dominated the race following the accident which occurred at Turn 4 – the tight left-hander, which spread out the field a little.

Poleman Simoncelli, clearly didn’t intend to take out the world champion – who has in the past indicated his concern for the Italian’s robust approach to overtaking – but as Simoncelli threw his Gresini Honda down the inside of the wide Lorenzo, the back end of his back snapped out and collected the Yamaha.

It was slow speed tumble, and both riders got back on, but the resulting chaos saw Spies get a jump on the field. By the time they reached the startline for lap two, the former World Superbike champion was three seconds down the road and into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

Behind him Stoner and Dovizioso engaged in a brief battle for second before the Australian gained the upper hand and began chasing Spies.

He reduced the gap down to 3.5s by lap nine, before Spies began to retaliate and re-establised his advantage.

Stoner’s front tyre appeared to struggle as the race went on and the world championship leader seemingly settled for second ahead of a distant Dovizioso.

Valentino Rossi was fourth having initially been kept honest by an impressive Cal Crutchlow, though the Briton was disappointingly forced to pit with a shredded front tyre.

The Ducati superstar then had an easy run to the flag ahead of his team-mate Nicky Hayden.

In sixth place, was Lorenzo, who proved not only that the Yamaha was the bike to have on the cold asphalt of Assen, but that he might well have won the race without interference from flying Italians – his recovery being the highlight of an otherwise dull race.

Colin Edwards was seventh ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama and Toni Elias. Simoncelli completed the top ten on a bike that appeared to be disintergrating by the lap.

Alvaro Bautista, Hector Barbera, Kousuke Akiyoshi and Crutchlow completed the runners, with both Randy de Puniet and Karel Abraham were fallers, the latter breaking a finger in the process.

 Results - 26 laps:  Pos  Rider             Team/Bike          Time/Gap  1.  Ben Spies         Yamaha           41m44.659s  2.  Casey Stoner      Honda              + 7.697s  3.  Andrea Dovizioso  Honda             + 27.506s  4.  Valentino Rossi   Ducati            + 30.684s  5.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati            + 43.172s  6.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha            + 44.536s  7.  Colin Edwards     Tech 3 Yamaha   + 1m08.112s  8.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Honda           + 1m10.753s  9.  Marco Simoncelli  Gresini Honda   + 1m24.925s 10.  Toni Elias        LCR Honda       + 1m26.216s 11.  Alvaro Bautista   Suzuki          + 1m38.466s 12.  Hector Barbera    Aspar Ducati        + 1 lap 13.  Kousuke Akiyoshi  Gresini Honda       + 1 lap 14.  Cal Crutchlow     Tech 3 Yamaha      + 2 laps  Retirements:       Karel Abraham     Cardion Ducati        1 lap      Randy de Puniet   Pramac Ducati        0 laps 

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