RED BULL KTM RIDERS LEAVE ASSEN MOTO3 GRAND PRIX EMPTY-HANDED
Red Bull KTM Ajo factory riders Jack Miller and Karel Hanika came away from the Moto3 Dutch TT at Assen on Saturday empty-handed after a drama-filled race that saw many riders exit the track. It was the eighth round of the Moto3 World Championship.
Jack Miller started the race on pole, his fourth of the season. He got away well and was an impressive first going into the first corner but in lap two he hit a bump on the still partly slick track and ended in the gravel. The Australian was far from the first rider to crash on the track that was still wet in patches during the warm up session earlier in the morning.
Amazingly and despite his misfortune, Miller still hung onto the championship points lead after a series of dramatic incidents involving his rival and fellow KTM rider Romano Fenati. Before Saturday’s race, Miller had a seven-point lead over the Italian.
Fenati left the track and plowed into the gravel during a spate of incidents in lap two and rejoined the race at the back of the field just before Miller crashed and retired. Fenati then began picking off riders as he made a bid to recover the situation. He worked his way back into the points to theoretically claim the championship lead only to crash again in lap 14. He again rejoined the race and eventually went on to finish in an unrewarded eighteenth place. The win by Marquez has bumped him up the order and he is now level with Fenati. They both trail Miller by seven points.
Miller, clearly disappointed with the outcome of the race said he had pushed really hard at the start and had been able to pen up a small gap. “I broke a little earlier than usual on the first corner of the second lap and I hit a small bump and I was unable to save the crash. That was unfortunate because I was really enjoying the whole weekend at this track. We had worked hard and had a good setup. Now we have to focus on Germany. Fortunately, we are still at the top of the standings, but we have to do well at Sachsenring.”
The race was also dramatic for Red Bull Ajo’s Karel Hanika, theoretically the only rider in the field who had won before on the Assen circuit. The Czech teenager, the team’s rookies had won here while contesting the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. He was well positioned in the third row of the grid and rode out 17 of the 22 laps as a potential podium contender, positioned between third and sixth place. He then crashed during the tightly fought bid between no less than five riders all bidding for eventual fourth.
Hanika said that despite the crash he was still happy to have been up with the front riders and have been fighting for a potential podium place. “Some riders were going pretty crazy in the chasing pack, so it was a real battle. I made a mistake on one of the laps and that’s why I crashed." The Czech rider said he had learnt a lot and was hopeful of a possible podium place in the next few rounds.
Hanika’s riding also attracted praise from Red Bull KTM Ajo team boss Aki Ajo: “Although Karel [Hanika] crashed, I’m very happy for him. He has really found his level and was up into the positions where he should be – and where he will be in the future. Today he fought very well and we saw where he can be in the next races. He can do very well.”
Both Miller and Hanika are Red Bull-sponsored athletes and ride the KTM RC250 GP machine.
The race was won by Alex Marquez, with Alex Rins and Miguel Oliveira taking the minor podium places. Niccolo Antonelli was the top KTM finisher in fifth place after a real dogfight in the closing laps for fourth place.
Next Round: July 13, 2014 – Sachsenring, GER
Results Moto3 Assen
1. Alex Marquez (ESP), Honda, 38:07.648 min (22 laps)
2. Alex Rins (ESP), Honda, +2.960 sec
3. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Mahindra, +3.644
4. Alexis Masbou (FRA), Honda, +16.350
5. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), KTM, +16.466
6. Efren Vasquez (ESP), Honda, +16.487
7. Isaac Viñales (ESP), KTM, +16.531
8. Danny Kent (GBR), Husqvarna, +16.559
9. Brad Binder (RSA), Mahindra, +16.643
10. John McPhee (GBR), Honda, +16.686
11. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, +23.232
12. Jasper Iwema (NED), FTR-KTM, +24.824
15. Philipp Öttl (GER), KALEX-KTM, +25.774
18. Romano Fenati (ITA), KTM, +29.338
19. Eric Granado (BRA), KTM, +32.585
20. Scott Deroue (NED), KALEX-KTM, +38.766
23. Thomas van Leeuwen (NED), KALEX-KTM, +49.062
24. Ana Carrasco (ESP), KALEX-KTM, +52.269
25. Livio Loi (BEL), KTM, +52.359
27. Gabriel Ramos (VEN), KALEX-KTM, +1:19.403 min
28. Luca Grünwald (GER), KALEX-KTM, +1:48.719
29. Hafiq Azmi (MAL), KTM, +1 lap
DNF Juanfran Guevara (ESP), KALEX-KTM, +1 lap
DNF Karel Hanika (CZE), KTM, +5 laps
DNF Jack Miller (AUS), KTM, +21 laps
DNF Enea Bastianini (ITA), KTM, 0 lap
DNS Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), KTM
Standings Moto3 after 8 of 18 rounds
1. Miller, 117 points
2. Fenati, 110
3. Marquez, 110
4. Rins, 107
5. Vazquez, 102
6. Viñales, 82
7. Masbou, 63
8. Oliveira, 53
9. Bastianini, 45
10. Kornfeil, 43
11. Bagnaia, 42
16. Antonelli, 18
17. Loi, 17
18. Guevara, 17
19. Hanika, 16
22. Öttl, 6
24. Iwema, 4
Manufacturers Standings Moto3 after 8 of 18 rounds
1. KTM, 181 points
2. Honda, 162
3. Mahindra, 62