Miller scores maiden win at rain-affected MotoGP Assen TT

2016 MotoGP Assen TT Jack Miller In a Rain-affected MotoGP Assen TT race, a certain Jack Miller topped twice MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez and Scott Redding for a surprising victory. It was Miller’s maiden premier class victory as the Australian overcame perilously wet conditions at the Dutch TT to become the first non-factory rider in 10 years to win in MotoGP.

Scheduled to be a 26-lap race that started on a wet track, Miller had expertly mastered the tricky track conditions to charge from 19th into eighth when the action was halted on safety grounds on lap 15 as monsoon conditions enveloped the 4.5km Assen venue. Once conditions had improved and standing water was cleared from the track, the race was restarted over a shortened distance of 12-laps, with the grid forming based on positions from part one.

Conditions were no less hazardous in part two, but as experienced riders crashed out of contention, Miller rode a majestically measured and composed race to move into the top three on only the second lap. A brilliantly executed overtake on Márquez on lap four then put Miller at the front of the field. And it was a lead he never looked like relinquishing, as he rode a faultless final eight laps to win by almost two seconds, sparking jubilant celebrations to mark the first MotoGP win by Team Marc VDS since its premier class collaboration started with Honda in 2015. “I don’t often say this but I’m lost for words. I feel incredibly emotional and it is hard to describe the sensation of winning for the first time in MotoGP. I felt confident and fast in the first part of the race but it was the right call to red flag it because the conditions were getting pretty dangerous. The track was really slippery for part two as well but I immediately felt comfortable. I could see a few riders making mistakes but I just kept my focus and concentrated on being fast and consistent without taking any silly risks. Once I passed Marc I just tried to block out the fact that I was heading for my first win and keep a clear mind. Coming out of the final chicane and seeing the chequered flag was just an unbelievable feeling,” said a jubilant Miller.

Marquez finished second at Assen to obtain more points than his championship rivals as he now leads Jorge Lorenzo by 24 points in the standings. Marquez rode in fourth place and team mate Dani Pedrosa was sixth in the first phase of the race. The double champion had just overtaken his teammate when the conditions became so difficult that Race Direction decided to put out the red flag on lap 15. That meant that the new grid position for the remaining 12-lap race was determined by the classification of the previous lap, lap 14, with the Repsol Hondas in fifth and sixth.

Race 2 saw both Repsol Honda riders go out on the soft rear rain spec. Marquez started well, entering the first corner first, but he ran wide shortly after and dropped back to third behind Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi. After the two Italians fell ahead of him and Miller caught and then overtook him, Marquez wisely settled for the 20 crucial points that come with second place. Like many others, Pedrosa fell victim to the tricky conditions and crashed on the first lap after the restart. He determinedly re-joined the race and was able to finish in 12th.

As the first race was red flagged due to weather conditions after lap 14, Lorenzo and Rossi had to go out for a 12-lap dash. Lorenzo rode a steady race to claim six vital points for the championship. Rossi was unlucky to get caught out by the extremely wet conditions and was unable to complete the race.

Having to commence the 12-lap dash from the seventh row on the grid, Lorenzo fought bravely during the second part of the race. Similar to the first outing, he had a great start and was able to move up several positions to 13th by the end of the first lap. Though he couldn’t keep up the momentum, he pushed as hard as he could without crossing the limit and took tenth place over the line.

Fourth place went to Pol Espargaro, with Andrea Iannone fifth in a two-part, rain-affected Dutch TT. Positions sixth through tenth were Hwctor Brabera, Eugene Laverty, Stefan Bradl, Maverick Vinales and Lorenzo.

The following race moves to the Sachsenring in Germany, from 15 – 17 July.

2016 MotoGP Assen TT Jorge Lorenzo 2016 MotoGP Assen TT Valentino Rossi 2016 MotoGP Assen TT Andrea Dovizioso

2016 MotoGP Assen TT results

1 MILLER Jack Marc VDS 22:17.447
2 MARQUEZ Marc Repsol Honda +1.991
3 REDDING Scott Pramac Racing 5.906
4 ESPARGARO Pol Yamaha Tech 3 9.812
5 IANNONE Andrea Ducati 17.835
6 BARBERA Hector Avintia 18.692
7 LAVERTY Eugene Aspar 22.605
8 BRADL Stefan Aprilia 23.603
9 VINALES Maverick Suzuki 26.148
10 LORENZO Jorge Yamaha 27.604

Riders standings
1 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 145
2 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 121
3 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 103
4 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 86
5 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA
7 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 58
8 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 52
9 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 49
10 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE 48
12 BRADL Stefan 6 GER 37
13 MILLER Jack 43 AUS 33
14 REDDING Scott 45 GBR 32
15 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 32