Round nine of the MotoGP calendar was greeted by 18 bends, flicks and dips presented by the TT Circuit Assen this weekend. Last year the pandemic influenced the 2020 MotoGP calendar, which meant that the championship would miss the “cathedral of speed”. Thankfully, we have returned to the rapid kinks and curves of the TT Circuit, and boy was it exciting.
After a hair raising crash in FP3 on turn 7, Darryn still managed to remount and place himself in Q2 for Saturday’s qualifying. Opting to wait a few moments before getting his first run underway, Darryn kept himself at the top end of the timesheets and posted the eighth fastest time.
Darryn made a good start, maintained a top ten run and steadily made his way to the front line where the action was about to begin. An epic battle for the podium places took place over the course of the 22-lap race, which Darryn kept himself a part of.
With just three laps remaining, Darryn dropped back into seventh after running wide into turn 15, but an impressive final lap saw him cross the line fourth. Unfortunately, a penalty for exceeding track limits on the last lap demoted him three positions—another unfair penalty this weekend. Darryn currently sits sixth in the rider standings with 69 points.
DB: “Warm Up was good this morning and I felt ready for the race. It started off really well and I was in the front group fighting for the podium all race. I was feeling really comfortable but had a moment going through Turn 15 late on, which made me lose some positions. I fought as hard as I could in the final two laps to try to get back to the podium. I managed to cross the line fourth but unfortunately, after exceeding track limits on the final lap, they dropped me three places. There’s nothing I can do, I tried my best and I’m going into the summer break feeling positive.”
Brad rolled into this weekend a ‘virgin’ to the TT Circuit Assen on his RC16, he fought throughout the short Q1 session but our fellow South African was denied his fastest lap when Marc Marquez’s crash drew out the yellow flags and forced him to slow. Sadly, this meant Brad would start from 21st on the grid on Sunday.
Sunday saw Binder start the 26-lap 118 km race from the back of the grid—Brad had to bustle back from 21st. After a slow start to the race, Brad slowly climbed his way through the pack and found himself battling against Alex Marquez’s and Danilo Petrucci for 14th. When the checkered flag was raised, Binder, who had made reasonable progress from the final row, took 12th.
Finishing 12th in Assen places Brad Binder in ninth overall with 60 points in the championship.
BB: “Difficult race for me. Starting in 21st and trying to pass the guys in the beginning, and then I clearly didn’t have the speed in the first stages of the race. As the laps went down I started to improve my riding at different points on the track and went quicker. At the end I could match my quickest time on the last lap. I’m glad I made an improvement, but I lost too much time early on. It was an up-and-down weekend and I got a bit lost but I gave ‘my all’ in the race. I was a bit disappointed with 12th but we’ll re-group and come back stronger in the next phase of the season.”
Riders will now enjoy a near six-week break before action resumes with two back-to-back races in Austria, the first of which being the Grand Prix of Styria (6-8 August).