Assen MotoGP: Dutch disaster for Repsol Honda

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Honda’s factory team endured a nightmare in Assen with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso both crashing out of Saturday’s 26-lap race.

Spaniard Pedrosa had just surrendered third place to a hard charging Jorge Lorenzo on lap four when he crashed at the first corner on lap five.

The triple world champion, who has now failed to score points in two of the last three races, said: “The good news is that I didn’t hurt myself in the fall and, considering my recent run of luck with injuries, this is a big relief.

"But of course I’m disappointed with the result today because, even though it’s unlikely I could have won the race, I was feeling strong on the bike again and believe I could have made the podium.

"My feeling on the machine this weekend has been much better and I have been able to ride close to my maximum potential, so I was quite confident coming into this race.

"I made a fast start and found a good rhythm, so the crash was very unexpected - for the whole weekend I had no warning this might happen.

"Now we have to forget this race and remain positive and focused because we have been the best in the past and I believe we can be the best again.”

And Italian Dovizioso suffered exactly the same fate on lap 11, as he looked a good bet to claim his fourth successive fourth place finish.

Dovizioso too lost the front of his Repsol Honda RC212V at the first corner while holding off the determined challenge of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards.

The former 125GP world champion said: “At the beginning the race was going well and I was lapping with a fast pace.

"Fourth place was looking on the cards and I believe that would have been an achievable and a reasonable result for us, so I’m very disappointed about the crash at Turn 1.

"I had a good start but I was trapped by a bunch of riders and it took me a few laps to get by them. Once I was past I was feeling quite comfortable, although I wasn’t sure I could catch (Casey) Stoner.

"Then, while I was in the middle of the corner at the maximum lean and I lost the front. I wasn’t on the brakes when it happened - we have to lean a long way over in the middle of the turn and that’s when it caught me out.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt