Going into Saturday’s Dutch TT at Assen, MotoGP fans could be excused for feeling like they were in some sort of alternate universe. If at the beginning of the season anyone had predicted that by round six Valentino Rossi would have been out for two races already with no return imminent, Casey Stoner would have yet to be on the podium and that Randy De Puniet would have twice qualified second ahead of the factory Hondas, it would have sounded a bit outlandish.

In short, the narrative of the unassailable aliens has been somewhat debunked in 2010. Fortunately, for those craving consistency, there has been Jorge Lorenzo. Ominously strong even before Rossi’s nasty accident at Mugello, Lorenzo has qualified on the front row of every race so far and has yet to finish lower than second place. Going into Saturday’s race, he was beginning to look unstoppable... [read more]

Lorenzo got off the line well, his starts having improved since the beginning of the year, but the two most noteworthy were Dani Pedrosa and Randy De Puniet. Pedrosa did a characteristic catapult from seventh place into third while De Puniet blew his second place with a wheelie off the line, immediately slamming his front tire back down to earth. He slid back to ninth place and crossed the line after lap one having clawed back to sixth, all his hard qualifying work undone. Meanwhile, American rookie phenomenon, Ben Spies, had quietly jumped into second place with Pedrosa, Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso making up the initial top five. Lorenzo immediately began to drop the pack and it looked as if he was about to repeat his runaway win at Silverstone from six days previous.

After two or three laps, it became apparent that Spies was in fact holding up the pack rather than Lorenzo skating away. Once Pedrosa and then Stoner got past Spies, it seemed like a battle of the three remaining aliens was underway. Unfortunately, Pedrosa was never able to do more than look ominous and by lap nine or ten, Lorenzo had put his head down and began to pull away, the top three finishers effectively settled. What was left was the battle for fourth place between Dovizioso, now past Spies, and De Puniet in sixth. With twelve laps left, Spies began to close on Dovizioso, passing him about two laps later in the run up to the chicane just leading into the start/finish line. Their battle had allowed De Puniet to close in and move into fifth place another two laps later. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, his tires began to turn on him in the waning laps and in a reprise of Silverstone he lost the battle and landed in sixth, Dovizioso securing fifth and Spies in a very respectable fourth. Behind that group was Nicky Hayden in a lonely seventh followed by Colin Edwards, Marco Simoncelli and Aleix Espargaro rounding out the top ten.

Lorenzo’s win puts him an astounding 47 points ahead of second place Dani Pedrosa. It’s tough to estimate what the standings would look like if Rossi hadn’t been knocked out, as Lorenzo was already looking dominant as of round two. With twelve races still to go, it is still far from over but one gets the sense that Lorenzo is running away with the championship the same way he has run away with the last few races.

MotoGP // 2010 Dutch Grand Prix:

1 25 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 171.5 41'18.629
2 20 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 171.3 +2.935
3 16 27 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Team Ducati 171.0 +7.022
4 13 11 Ben SPIES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 170.6 +13.265
5 11 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 170.5 +15.323
6 10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 170.4 +15.772
7 9 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 169.7 +25.867
8 8 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 169.5 +28.991
9 7 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 169.1 +35.658
10 6 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 169.1 +35.837
11 5 36 Mika KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing Team Ducati 167.7 +56.769
12 4 40 Hector BARBERA SPA Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati 167.7 +56.890
13 3 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 167.4 +1'00.615
14 2 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 166.9 +1'08.074
15 1 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP Honda 163.4 1 Lap

Images and Info: MotoGP
Editorial: Jeff Winterberg

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