Numbers are funny things. On their own, they are meaningless, just abstract inventions, a way of keeping track, of measuring and quantifying objects. There is no intrinsic difference between the numbers 1, 4, 7, 12, 666 and 26017 other than their size. Yet stop someone on the street and ask them about those numbers and you will hear a host of opinions on those numbers, their meaning and whether they are good or bad, depending on who and where you happened to have stopped.
Assen, The Netherlands
From the moment Gabor Talmacsi confirmed the rumors of a ride with the Team Scot Honda squad in MotoGP by turning up at Barcelona with a new sponsor and a contract, the writing has been on the wall for Yuki Takahashi. Despite the denials and promises from the team to try and find a way of accommodating both riders, in reality, it was merely a question of time before the Japanese rider would be forced to make way for the Hungarian, who was bringing a much-needed cash injection into the squad.
That time, according to the authoratitive Italian site GPOne.com, is now. Takahashi, it is being reported, has been withdrawn from the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, ostensibly to allow surgery to be performed for back problems Takahashi suffered in his crash at Barcelona. The surgery will require a recovery period of 3 months, leaving Takahashi sidelined for the rest of the season. Just how badly Takahashi required surgery remains open to speculation, but his back injury is extremely convenient.
Team Scot manager Cirano Mularoni was open about the problems faced running two riders without spare bikes. "It was a difficult situation," he told GPone.com," because contrary to what I had read, extra spares were not available for the RC212V, a situation which would have gotten worse after Brno, with the limit on the numbers of engines. Not to mention the problems we would have faced in a flag-to-flag race, where we would have been forced to change wheels instead of bikes." Just where Mularoni read that Honda had extra RC212V parts lying around is a bit of a mystery, for HRC have made no secret of their aversion to supplying any more bikes, especially since sales slumped in aftermath of the global financial crisis.
Result of the Red Bull Rookies Cup race at Assen:
Results and synopsis of the MotoGP race at Assen:
Valentino Rossi took his 100th victory in style at Assen, taking the lead on the second lap from Casey Stoner. From that point on, the Italian's supremacy was never threatened, though his team mate Jorge Lorenzo chased the Italian for the first 15 laps. Stoner couldn't follow Lorenzo, but was a very comfortable 3rd. Dani Pedrosa followed early on, but crashed out at the Haarbocht, the first corner after the straight, his team mate Andrea Dovizioso following several laps later.
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Result and summary of the 250cc race at Assen:
Hiroshi Aoyama took victory in the 250cc race at Assen, though only after surviving a penultimate lap collision with Alvaro Bautista. Marco Simoncelli had led early on, with Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista and Hiroshi Aoyama behind, Aoyama having worked his way forward early on. But it was clear that Simoncelli was holding the riders behind up, and on lap 16, the inevitable happened and first Bautista, and then Aoyama went through, the Spaniard at the fast Hoge Heide kink, the Japanese rider at the GT chicane. A few corners later, Aoyama dived underneath Bautista to take the lead at the Strubben hairpin, and was away.
Bautista worked at shaking off Simoncelli, who put up some cursory resistance, but Bautista was soon past and back with Aoyama. The two riders soon gapped Simoncelli, who was left to deal with Hector Barbera. For the remaining laps, Aoyama looked comfortable through the first half of the track, but as they ran through the fast final sector, Bautista kept closing and looking for a way past, for use in the last couple of laps.
As they headed through the section for the penultimate time, Aoyama changed his line slightly while Bautista was closer than ever. The Spaniard ran into the back of the Japanese rider, smashing his front wheel and crashing out of contention, leaving Aoyama to go on to take a comfortable win.
Hector Barbera came home 2nd, but not after some controversy of his own. Barbera had past Simoncelli on lap 20, diving through at the GT chicane, and two laps later, Simoncelli tried to come back into the Haarbocht, the first corner at the end of the front straight. Barbera was having none of it, and ran Simoncelli wide and off the track, leaving Simoncelli to settle for 3rd.