The Winners and Losers of the Dutch TT
Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Ishani Aziz
MotoGP was in the Netherlands this weekend for the 2022 edition of the ever iconic Dutch TT. The race lived up to the billing as drama ensued from the very opening laps of the race and drama followed the riders on to the very last one.
At the cathedral of motorcycle racing that is the Assen circuit, there was salvation and damnation for each rider, and as is customary we take a look at what each rider’s fate in the Dutch TT.
Winner: Francesco Bagnaia
“Win it or bin it” seemed to be the mantra Francesco Bagnaia had adopted in the 2022 season, thankfully for Pecco it was the latter that came true on Sunday. Bagnaia started from pole and maintained his lead to secure a dominant win; it was Ducati's first win at the circuit since Casey Stoner over a decade ago. The win also catapulted Bagnaia to fourth in the standings and whilst he remains 66 points adrift of the championship lead, crucially he gained a whole 25 points on Fabio Quartararo.
Loser: Fabio Quartararo
Speaking of Quartararo, Fabio Quartararo had a day to forget at the Dutch TT. "El Diablo's" ever consistent and borderline flawless riding betrayed the Frenchman on Sunday. Quartararo attempted a pass on title rival Aleix Espargaro at the famed Strubben corner. The champion's front end didn't hold on however and tucked, sending Quartararo on to the tarmac skidding towards the gravel. Quartararo later remounted but a traction control failure resulted in a highside and a DNF for the defending world champion, meaning all his title rivals gained a substantial amount of points against him.
Winner: Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro started the race in fifth and finished in fourth and even though it's only a net gain of one, between the red lights going out and the chequered flag waving Espargaro had a very eventful race. Making moves from the start Espargaro sat at second when a costly mistake from Quartararo pushed Espargaro onto the gravel trap losing him over a dozen places. What ensued was one of the best performances by a Grand Prix rider. Espargaro proceeded to slice his way through the field with pace that was unrivalled. To cap off the fantastic performance was a double overtake on Brad Binder and Jack Miller to take fourth at the final corner on the final lap.
All of Yamaha's eggs have inadvertently been placed in the Fabio Quartararo basket. Needless to say when he goes down it is without question a bad weekend for Yamaha. Crashes from both Franco Morbidelli and Darryn Binder meant that three of the four DNFs on Sunday were Yamahas.
Winner: Marco Bezzechi
Marco Bezzechi has undoubtedly been the best performing rookie of the season. On Sunday Bezzechi got off to a great start and after the excursions of Quartararo and Espargaro he inherited second position. Though unable to really challenge Bagnaia, Bezzechi ran race leading pace and managed to hold off the more experienced Maverick Viñales to take home his maiden podium.
MotoGP takes a five week long summer break to cap the first half of the season. After ten races Quartararo holds a 21 point advantage over Espargaro. With ten races to go the end remains unknown.