MotoGP: Crash in Assen means Vinales loses championship lead
MotoGP: Crash in Assen means Vinales loses championship lead

Movistar Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales suffered double disappointment on race day at the Motul TT Assen as not only did he crash out of the race, he lost his lead in the 2017 MotoGP championship.

Fourth row start for Vinales

It had been tough throughout the weekend as the weather added complications that the riders had to face. Qualifying saw him start from down in 11th on the grid, on the fourth row, and despite extraordinary efforts to overcome and compensate, it all was undone instantly.

Recovering a position on the first lap, he continued pushing on. By lap four he passed Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) to take ninth, then passed Alvaro Bautista (Pull & Bear Aspar Team) on lap seven to take eighth and then Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ectsar) on the following lap to place seventh.

Vinales progresses up to fifth

He then chased down and began to take on Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who was in pursuit of Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing). On the 10th lap he passed the Italian and was immediately looking to take fifth from the Brit. It was not long, another lap in fact, until he was in fifth and looking to next take on the group of four that led the way… but then on lap 13 disaster struck!

Disaster struck for the championship leader

At turn 17, the left hander at the final chicane of the lap, he went down! There was nothing he could do as the front tucked and the bike slid from out from him. The bike tumbled through the grass and gravel and destroyed itself. Vinales could do nothing but look on and watch not only his bike crash, but his championship lead slip away.

Afterwards he was unable to “explain what happened” as he said he didn’t “even know why [he crashed”. Deliberating, he spoke of how he has “passed there 2000 times, but today was the day”. He explained that he was “pushing [himself] over the limit” as he was “trying to bring the Yamaha to the top”. He thought that if he “hadn’t crashed” that he “could have reached the riders in front” as he found their pace was “very fast”.

Vinales learns importance of Qualifying

He explained that they “need to learn that in qualifying the minimum you have to do is sixth or fifth” and he was left feeling that “the mistake was made yesterday” not on race day. He was “feeling great on the bike” on race day in Assen and was “trying to maintain the tyres on a good level” whilst at the same time “preparing an attack on the last ten laps”.

He found that he was “riding in a good way and really smoothly on the entire track” and essentially felt “much stronger than the other riders” as he was trying his best. He described that the “crash is something [they] can’t explain” and that they can “only learn from it, especially concerning qualifying”.

He spoke of how he knew that morning that it was “going to be tricky” and so he tried his best saying, “It was everything or nothing and finally I got nothing.” Instead now he planes to “got for it the next couple of races” where he said they, “expect something different”.

Vinales loses the championship lead

Despite losing his championship lead to Dovizioso who narrowly missed him and went on to finish fifth and collect 11 championship points, the Spaniard is only four points behind in second place. Just 11 points cover the top four, as Vinales’ teammate, Valentino Rossi is just three behind Vinales in third, and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) is in fourth on 104 points, four behind Rossi in the closest championship ever.