Ben Spies triumphs in Dutch MotoGP


America’s Ben Spies crowned Yamaha’s 50th anniversary with a maiden victory in the Dutch MotoGP here on Saturday, while championship leader Casey Stoner took second place. Spies’ Spanish team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, the reigning champion, finished in sixth place after a first-lap collision with Honda rider Marco Simoncelli, who recovered to finish ninth. “To do it in front of the Assen fans on Yamaha’s 50th anniversary was great,” Spies said.
“I had a really good feeling on the warm-up lap, so I wanted to go out as hard as I could at the beginning. Once I saw I had a gap, I tried to keep the gap between Casey and I at three to four seconds.
“Each time he got closer I put in a big lap.” Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso took third place, ahead of Ducati’s seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who has finished on the podium just once in the season to date, and American Nicky Hayden (Ducati). Stoner’s second-place finish allowed him to stretch his lead over Lorenzo from 18 to 28 points in the overall standings, with Dovizioso now just nine points behind him in third place. Spies, who is in his second MotoGP campaign, climbed two places to seventh.
“We were a bit disappointed we didn’t get to test our settings in the warm-up but Ben just had a pace that I couldn’t match,” said Stoner. “Once Ben got that gap, I couldn’t bring it back. “But I am very happy with the result, especially with how things have gone recently.” A chaotic start to the race saw pole-sitter Simoncelli and Lorenzo collide on the third corner after the Italian lost grip of his bike and wiped the defending champion off the track. Frenchman Randy de Puniet was the next rider to exit the race and Spies, who started on the front row, capitalised on the carnage behind him to pull four seconds clear of Stoner.
Stoner, chasing his fourth successive victory, gradually began to eat into the 26-year-old American’s advantage, however, while Dovizioso and Rossi moved into position on the Australian’s tail. The race’s closing stages could not match the opening laps for drama though, allowing Spies to pull away from the chasing pack and close out his first ever MotoGP win in style. Spain’s Marc Marquez (Suter) claimed victory in the Moto2 race, enabling him to move into second place in the overall standings behind Stefan Bradl (Kalex), who crashed with three laps remaining. Marquez’s Turkish team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu finished second to reach the podium for the first time in his career, while Britain’s Bradley Smith (Tech3) was third. Spanish 16-year-old Maverick Vinales of Aprilia took the honours in a controversial 125cc race that was red-flagged seven laps from the end due to rain. Championship leader Nicolas Terol (Aprilia) was unable to take to the start line due to a finger injury sustained in qualifying on Friday.


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