Jack Miller picked up his maiden MotoGP victory in Sunday’s thrilling Dutch TT race at Assen.
Rain in the lead-up to the start of the race in the Netherlands resulted in the track being declared wet, equalizing the difference between the factory and satellite bikes.
The track dried early on, allowing Yonny Hernandez shot into a shock lead in the early stages of the race as pole-sitter Andrea Dovizioso dropped back.
However, a heavy shower hit Assen on lap nine that would turn the race on its head. Hernandez crashed out just after Dovizioso passed Valentino Rossi for second place, handing the Italian the lead again.
The torrential rain forced officials to red flag the race and wait for conditions to improve, before ultimately forming the grid for the restart with 12 laps to run.
Dovizioso led the field away, but was swamped by Honda’s Marc Marquez and Rossi, the latter moving into a steady lead. However, the nine-time world champion slid off the track just as his led started to swell, forcing him to retire.
Marquez now led but had Miller – racing on a satellite Honda bike – closing quickly. The MotoGP rookie threw his bike down the inside at the final chicane to take the lead.
Miller slowly began to eke out a lead, with Marquez not willing to push too hard given the plight of his rivals and the points advantage at stake, allowing the gap to grow to over two seconds.
With the final corner turned, Miller turned to check that Marquez was not close by before tipping his bike up into a wheelie and crossing the line to clinch his first MotoGP victory.
The Australian made the leap up from Moto3 to MotoGP at the beginning of the season, but after just eight races, he has added his name to the list of grand prix winners. Miller’s win also marked the first victory for a satellite bike in MotoGP since Portugal 2006.
“I don’t know what to feel at the moment,” Miller said after the race with a catch in his voice.
“A lot of people said that this project wouldn’t work. I just hope that we showed them wrong and I can ride a bike and I’m not an idiot. Thank you to Honda for taking a risk on me.”
Marquez seemed elated with second place, punching the air while crossing the line after extending his championship lead to 20 points thanks to Rossi and Lorenzo’s struggles, the latter ultimately fighting back to finish 10th.
Scott Redding rounded out the podium, finishing ahead of Pol Espargaro and Andrea Iannone. Hector Barbera finished sixth, with Eugene Laverty and Stefan Bradl following in P7 and P8. Maverick Vinales and Lorenzo rounded out the top 10.
The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.
For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.
Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.
One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.
Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.
It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.
Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.
Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.
Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.
Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.
Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.
Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.
Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.
Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.
The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.