Watching how Marc Márquez was totally eclipsed by Pol Espargaró and Briton Scott Redding at the British Grand Prix, it was to be expected that the Catalunya Caixa rider would make a fast return two weeks later at the Dutch TT. However, Moto2 started at Assen as it finished at Silverstone, with Espargaró the fastest man on the track from the start of free practice one to the end of FP3 in Holland.
While all this was happening Márquez was already taking an unusual first win of the weekend, when the FIM finally confirmed the Spaniard’s controversial 16 points earned in Barcelona.
We recently wrote at Motomatters.com about how baffling this Moto2 season could become because of the two possible outcomes of the FIM’s decision. Actually, this had already happened in Barcelona when the FIM Stewards decided to uphold the Catalunya Caixa Team’s appeal against the one minute penalty imposed on Márquez by Race Direction’s for his dangerous move on Espargaró that ended with the Kalex rider literally eating the dust.
Marquez’s win # 1
The FIM decision was Marquez’s first victory of the weekend at Assen, because sixteen points mean much more of an advantage over Espargaró in such a highly competitive Moto2 class, as the 2012 season has turned out to be until now. On the other hand, giving Márquez sixteen points he could possibly have lost, and you can be sure that it will have a profound affect on the fight for the title – even if Marquez wins the title at the end of the season by more than those same sixteen points. Clearly, it is not exactly the same as giving sixteen points to Elena Rosell.
Even if this was just a race incident between Márquez and Espargaró, Race Direction’s penalty in Barcelona wanted to warn Marquez about safety on the track and, at the same time, it also equalled conditions with his main rival Espargaró, the other rider involved, not giving any points to neither of them. But that is the way this has played, so maybe it is a waste of time keep talking about something that just cannot be changed.
Marquez’s win # 2
Espargaró’s victory in Great Britain could also not prevent Marquez’s assault on the top of the championship table, thanks in part also to Swiss rider Thomas Luthi’s poor performance at Silverstone, where he was briefly the championship leader..
Despite the fact that the HP Tuenti rider was not ready at the key moment of qualifying at Assen, and the pole position finally went to Márquez - before the Suter rider crashed twice in Friday practice sessions - Espargaró was the reference during the warm up once again. As the red light dimmed, it clearly looked as of the Kalex rider was once more going to give everything to win the race.
But the path to success is tough and sometimes quite painful way too, as Espargaró experienced when he crashed while trying to leave the wild leading group of Márquez, Andrea Iannone, Bradley Smith and early race leader and promising Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter.
Espargaró was totally determined to win at Assen the same way he had at Silverstone, but he made a mistake and his race ended right there. We recently said we really liked the positive racing influence that an experienced and cleverly managed team like Pons HP Tuenti has on Espargaró, but it seems they cannot cover every eventuality. Anyway, I’m sure Espargaró will learn from this too and come back to the fight at the Sachsenrring, ironically the same track where he crashed in 2010 fighting for victory against Marquez in the former 125 class.
It is not unrealistic to guess that Espargaró could have finished second at Assen, behind eventual winner Márquez. We all know it is one part in the thousands of factors that play a role in racing, but here we also have at least another twenty points lost by Espargaró in Holland. That makes 36 now and still counting. And, of course, this was also a second victory for Marquez’s aspirations for the championship.
Marquez’s win # 3
None of these circumstances change in the slightest Marquez’s brilliant victory over Iannone in the Dutch TT Moto2 race itself. Even a true Moto2 axe murderer like Iannone could not withstand Marquez’s pace lap after lap. Marquez’s final effort to earn some vital metres over Iannone in the last lap also prevented the Italian from trying a desperate move coming into last chicane. It was a natural win for a natural talent, whatever the circumstances of the FIM or Pol Espargaró.
Marquez’s victory at Assen also mean 25 precious points for the championship, that same Moto2 championship which Espargaró is fighting for. From a strictly numerical viewpoint, any point earned by one rider means a loss for his rivals. And here were have Marquez’s third victory of the weekend, and also 25 more points lost by Espargaró. You do not often see a rider losing 61 points in just one race.
A New Moto2 scenario
Marquez’s latest victory (127 points) takes him further ahead in the championship standings over not just Espargaró (96 points), but also over Andrea Iannone (104) and Thomas Luthi (96), who crashed at Assen. British rider Scott Redding was once more closer to the front in Holland. His third place was the best he could get behind the faster men Márquez and Iannone, but his podium spot was not earned lightly, Redding first having to deal with Spaniard Tito Rabat in a close fight.
It is not hard to predict a new thrilling battle during the German Grand Prix next weekend at Sachsenring. Márquez, Espargaró, Iannone, Redding and Luthi will be back on the track, but I still wonder, after thinking of Espargaró’s bad results at Assen, wether the FIM’s decision has been good or bad for the championship. If the FIM had supported Race Direction in Barcelona, as it did last weekend with the penalty applied to Álvaro Bautista after smashing his Honda into Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha in the MotoGP class, maybe we would not be still talking about the Catalonian Moto2 affair.