Francesco Bagnaia got the better of yesterday’s Sprint winner Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing) to take his fourth GP victory of the year at the classic TT Circuit Assen TT with another masterful display of riding. Bagnaia was dominant over the longer distance, the Italian crossing the line ahead of Bezzecchi with a comfortable margin of 1.2 seconds.
Binder (KTM) surprised the entire front row of Bezzecchi, Bagnaia and Marini to take the holeshot from fifth on the grid and he led for the first two laps but then Pecco upped the pace to take the lead from the South African. For the rest of the 26-lap race, Bagnaia masterfully administered the gap over the chasing riders, first Binder then Bezzecchi, and he took the chequered flag first for the seventh time this year to boost his championship lead to 35 points over Martin, fifth today for Pramac Racing, and 36 over Bezzecchi.
It was an unfortunate race for teammate Enea Bastianini, the rider from Rimini sliding out at low speed on lap 7 in the tight turn 5 after working his way up to a positive eighth place from seventeenth on the grid.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st
“We improved this morning, we tried something different because we realised that this bike in certain situations needs a different setting, and it worked. I’m happy for that and happy that my team gave me what I was asking for. Sincerely today was quite tough, very long and the conditions were critical for the tyres. This morning in the warmup, everything was perfect but this afternoon the rear tyre was sliding around, I thought it was just me, but then I saw it was more or less the same for everyone. To be honest I prefer the longer race, because you have to administer and control everything more, I feel better doing that because sometimes in the shorter race you take too many risks. We’ve improved a lot in consistency in the last few races, we must continue like this. I’m happy to finish the first part of the season in this position; we can now go to the summer break with a positive balance of the first part of the season.”
Enea Bastianini (#23 Ducati Lenovo Team) – DNF
“I could have done without this before the break, we were having a good race; maybe I could have made up some more places, but unfortunately the front closed in on me at turn 5. This weekend we had a lot of ups and downs, but what counts is that we are doing well in the races, yesterday I had a good race and today I took another step. I think I could have gotten a good result because my sensations were good, only that I’m still lacking corner turn-in, when I try to do a bit more the bike closes in. The ’23 bike behaves differently from last year’s, we still need to adjust, but I think that during this weekend we made some important changes; my setup from last year unfortunately didn’t work so we had to start from scratch. Now I’m going on vacation, with a bit of a bad taste in the mouth because of the result!”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Direttore Generale di Ducati Corse)
“I have to say honestly that it was wonderful race. A complicated weekend that didn’t start in the best way on Friday morning so overall we did a good job trying to straighten it out. It was difficult also in terms of tyre life, because today the conditions were difficult and almost unpredictable here at Assen with this heat, so we worked hard to find the consistency of the tyres. Thanks to everyone, they did a wonderful job. It was clearly excellent for Pecco but in my opinion extremely positive also for Bastianini despite the crash, because in any case yesterday during the sprint race and again today he was showing a good pace. We should remember that he is virtually at the beginning of the world championship while everyone else is in the middle of the season and kilometres clearly count for a lot.”
The 2023 MotoGP World Championship now goes into a six-week summer break, with the Ducati Lenovo Team next appearing on track at round 9 at Silverstone (UK) on the weekend of 5/6 August.
- From Ducati Media House