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MotoGP Dutch TT Assen - RACE | Bagnaia dismisses Bezzecchi, Binder loses podium again

Gold and Goose
Pecco Bagnaia, Ducati Lenovo Team, Ducati GP23, 2023 MotoGP, Dutch TT, Assen, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Pecco Bagnaia has strengthened his grip on the 2023 MotoGP World Championship heading into the summer break with a commanding fourth full length win of the season in the MotoGP Dutch TT at Assen.

A formidable show of strength from the title contender on a weekend that had seen him play second fiddle to Ducati stablemate and title rival Marco Bezzecchi, Bagnaia took the lead of the race on lap three before steadily moving clear of the chasing pack.

Bezzecchi trailed his countryman home in second, the VR46 Ducati rider having struggled to keep tabs on a spirited duel between Bagnaia and Brad Binder early on after dropping from pole to third at the first corner.


Though he'd eventually overhaul Binder for second with nine laps remaining, he couldn't make in-roads on Bagnaia's advantage.

Binder was third across the line but - just as he was in the Sprint Race - given a post-race penalty for track limit violation on the final lap. Occurring once again at Turn 8, the South African therefore copped a one place demotion to fourth, promoting Aleix Espargaro onto the podium for the first time since Aragon in 2022.

In a race of high attrition, only 14 of the original 22 starters would make it to the flag with crashes for several of the leading contenders.

>>> UPDATED 2023 MotoGP World Championship standings <<<

Pecco Bagnaia schools MotoGP title rivals again

Another demonstration as to why Bagnaia - despite strong in-house competition - deserves status as Ducati's lead rider on sheer quality alone, he was in ruthless form on the main stage as he dragged the spotlight back from Bezzecchi.

The VR46 man has been box office in the run up to Sunday's main MotoGP race, Bezzecchi having topped all three Practice sessions, taken pole position and overhauled Bagnaia en route to Sprint Race glory on Saturday.

However, in Sunday's hotter conditions, the outcome of Bagnaia and Bezzecchi private battle was ultimately decided off the line when the factory Ducati rider got the jump on his rival on the run down to Turn 1.

Even so, neither were able to prevent a fast-starting Binder from beating both to the hole-shot into the right-hander, the South African leaving his braking late to dip his KTM beneath the Ducatis to emerge with the lead.


Going against the grain with his soft rear tyre choice, Binder made hay to set an initial tempo good enough to pull Bagnaia and Bezzecchi away from a jousting chasing pack into a comfortable three-way fight.

It was a configuration the trio maintained for much of the race, albeit headed up by Bagnaia when he relieved Binder for the lead on lap three. To his credit, Binder maintained his rhythm to shadow Bagnaia, despite the Italian reeling off a series of rapid laps in an effort to shake the KTM off.

It was, however, too hot a pace for Bezzecchi to at times keep up, the Italian visibly having to work hard to stay with the pair ahead. However, Binder's victory aspiration began to lose steam on lap 14 of 26 when he wandered off line at the Geert Timmer chicane, the subsequent loss of momentum allowing Bagnaia to establish a +0.8s advantage.

It also pulled Bezzecchi onto Binder's tail and while his rival would make him work hard for the position, with the KTM man's tyres wilting under acceleration, the Ducati rider punished a sluggish exit out of Strubben with nine laps to go to sweep into second.


Left with a +1.2secs margin to recover on Bagnaia, Bezzecchi got the hammer down but despite briefly nibbling the advantage down to +0.6secs, he couldn't sustain his counterpart's consistency, forcing him to settle for second.

It allowed Bagnaia to cruise across the line with +1.2secs in hand over Bezzecchi to secure his fourth full-length MotoGP win in eight races. Including his Sprint Race successes, Bagnaia concludes the first stage of his title defence season with seven wins from 16 starts.

It means Bagnaia takes an extended 35 point lead into the summer hiatus, with Jorge Martin - who finished fifth - clinging onto second from Bezzecchi, who moves to one point behind the Spaniard in third.

Brad Binder, KTM Factory Racing, KTM RC16, 2023 MotoGP, Dutch TT, Assen, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Binder falls foul of stewards once again

Behind Bezzecchi, a simmering battle for the final podium spot looked to have gone the way of Binder as he battled both fading tyres and the attentions of Espargaro during the latter laps.

A fine performance by Espargaro, the Spaniard was left with a damaged right-front wing and bent brake guard after contact with Luca Marini at the first corner, but knuckled down to steadily reel Binder in from an early margin of almost two seconds adrift.

However, finding the lack of aero to be more problematic in the dirty air of Binder's KTM, Espargaro's podium challenge fell away, the Aprilia rider lucky not to be beaten in a sprint to the line by Martin, the Pramac Ducati rider just 0.009s off fourth at the flag.

However, in a heartbreaking repeat of the Sprint Race, when Binder was demoted from third to fifth after picking up a three-second post-race penalty for a track limit violation, stewards once again slapped him with another sanction passed the chequered flag.

Once again offending at Turn 8, though it didn't amount to a third strike violation as it did in the Sprint Race, a momentary flash across the green on the final lap carried a demotion of one place.

As such, Espargaro was promoted onto the podium, with Binder squeezing into fourth and Martin holding station in fifth, the title contender no doubt frustrated at just missing out on what would have become third.

In a race of high attrition, there were several incidents involving high-profile contenders with Jack Miller's race lasting only one lap when he low-sided off at Turn 1 on lap two, shortly before Fabio Quartararo lost the front of his Yamaha at Turn 7, taking Johann Zarco caught on his outside at the time, with him.

Maverick Vinales soon followed with a crash at Turn 8 just as he was sizing up Aprilia team-mate Espargaro for fifth, while Enea Bastianini and Fabio di Giannantonio threw away top ten finishes with falls at Strubben. With Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona retiring with technical issues, only 14 made it to the flag.

As such, there were big points to capitalise on for Alex Marquez, who despite a long lap penalty, held onto sixth from Marini, the VR46 Ducati rider coming away with a solid seventh despite struggling for pace.

Takaaki Nakagami scored his best result of the season in eighth, though will rue having to take a long lap penalty himself having been in the hunt for a top six finish. Franco Morbidelli was a distant ninth on the sole remaining Yamaha, with Augusto Fernandez recovering to a third top ten finish of the season.

Aprilia wild-card Lorenzo Savadori survived to score a career-best MotoGP finish in 11th, ahead of Stefan Bradl and Raul Fernandez in 12th and 13th, while Jonas Folger - in what is likely to be his final appearance on the GasGas Factory Tech3 KTM - signing off with two points for 14th.

MotoGP Dutch TT Assen | RACE RESULTS

2023 MotoGP Dutch TT | Assen, Netherlands | RACE Results | Round 8 of 20
1Pecco BagnaiaITADucati Leonovo TeamDucati GP2326 Laps
2Marco BezzecchiITAMooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22+1.223
3Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+1.925
4Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+1.528 *
5Jorge MartinESPPrima Pramac RacingDucati GP23+1.934
6Alex MarquezESPGresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22+12.437
7Luca MariniITAMooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22+14.174
8Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V+14.616
9Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+29.335
10Augusto FernandezESPGasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16+33.736
11Lorenzo SavadoriITAAprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+35.084
12Raul FernandezESPCryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP+39.622
13Stefan BradlGERLCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V+42.504
14Jonas FolgerGERGasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16+45.609
DNFFabio di GiannantonioITAGresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22
DNFIker LecuonaESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V
DNFMiguel OliveiraPORCryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP
DNFEnea BastianiniITADucati Leonovo TeamDucati GP23
DNFMaverick VinalesESPAprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP
DNFJohann ZarcoFRAPrima Pramac RacingDucati GP23
DNFFabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy YamahaYamaha M1
DNFJack MillerAUSRed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16
WMarc MarquezESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V

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