Drama in Q1 on Saturday morning at Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ – Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) crashes into the heavily slowing Enea Bastianini (Lenovo Ducati). Another fall for the Catalan but this time it was completely innocent. Both pilots missed qualifying for Q2, which was supplemented with Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Ducati) and Miguel Oliveira (RNF Aprilia) as the fastest of the first qualifying session.

Chaotic weekend opener at MotoGP Round 8 in the Netherlands

We have the FIM and their officials to thank for when a race is flagged down and there is prolonged confusion about the composition of the podium. For drivers, teams and fans, the so-called track limits are an absolute horror. The functionaries of the FIM, who found a new instrument to demonstrate their power, were completely different. Embarrassingly, however, at the same time her incompetence. The so-called long-lap penalty was introduced for the 2019 MotoGP season. The loss of time should be between two and three seconds. On each race track, a point was determined where a longer arc had to be driven on the outside of the curve or in an asphalt run-off zone. In addition, attempts were made to ensure that the long-lap area was in a safe place. Especially on the Sachsenring, the famous Queckenberg curve was used twice in the toilet. And in the sprint race on June 24, 2023 it was not used at all, but the explanation is below.

After two best times on Friday and pole position on Saturday morning, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was also unbeatable in the Tissot Sprint Race. During his irresistible victory run, he also managed to avoid the “penalty zone” marked in green of all things.

Nothing turned out as it seemed – FIM turns results on their head

The viewers on site and on TV, respectively in the stream, saw with their own eyes how KTM ace Brad Binder was able to fend off all attacks from Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) and crossed the checkered flag in third place. In the end, however, the Frenchman, together with winner Bezzecchi and second-placed World Championship leader Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati), spilled the winning champagne from sponsor Proseccho. It is hardly surprising that the South African was just as unenthusiastic about his relegation with a three-second time penalty for not showing up for his long lap penalty (of course there was no chance of that on the last lap) as was his Austrian Red Bull KTM team. Actually, from a sporting point of view, the whole thing was, as so often, absolute nonsense. Whether a pilot touches the green area or not, his misconduct, which is described as a “fault” according to the regulations, does not bring him any advantage in principle.

Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM) in front of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) – in contrast to his teammate Binder, the Australian remained rather pale in the sprint race with 11th place. Completely different pursuer Aleix Espargaró as the second from the left in the picture. The Catalan finished 5th behind Quartararo and Binder and benefited from the KTM rider’s punishment with an improvement to 4th.

Marini disappointed – incompetent FIM commissioners punish the victim

Valentino Rossi’s half-brother Luca Marini was even worse off than Binder. Marco Bezzechi’s VR46 teammate was handed a 0.5 second time penalty by the FIM pranksters after the race. Replays showed the contact between Marini and Bastianini, with the Ducati factory rider trying to pass him on the inside, after which Marini clipped the middle apex straight. But the VR46 Ducati rider, who had a tough battle with Enea Bastianini and Alex Marquez, insisted he was being forced to cut the track after clearly being hit from behind. Such incidents, as all too often seen in WorldSBK, cloud a sporting event like the Dutch Grand Prix. But unfortunately there is no institution that stands above the autocratic FIM and thus no chance to correct and reverse its offenses. Marini went pointless instead of eighth, becoming a second victim along with Binder of a questionable, if not downright wrong, decision by people who once again tarnished the image of motorcycling.

Number 10 Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) chasing the leaders, here with early leader Francesco Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati) in front. Even without a questionable punishment, the Italian was clearly overshadowed in the sprint race by his teammate, who won what was already his third race of the year. In MotoGP, as in WorldSBK, these wins are only rewarded with half the number of points, but unlike the prototypes, they are not counted as “real wins” like in a GP.

MotoE – the “Krummenator” and the bitter reality

Those who listened closely before the two races, also held on Saturday, of MotoE, often mocked as “vacuum cleaners”, heard pithy words from Randy Krummenacher in the run-up to the Dutch GP in Assen. His goals were very clear with a double win on Saturday. But the former WorldSSP 600 World Champion should be wary of his statements. After he accused his former team MV Agusta of allegedly irregular manipulations, the Swiss became very quiet during the Covid-19 pandemic. Apparently, most potential employers in the near-series world championship only saw him as a nag. In this respect, the Swiss native from the Zurich Oberland had to be happy that his compatriot Dominique Aegerter switched to WorldSBK as a two-time Supersport World Champion. This put an end to his double job with simultaneous participation in MotoE and his team Liqui Moly Intact GP found a successor in “Krummi”. But instead of a one-two, Randy only got ranks 3 and 9 and hopefully he’ll learn from that for the future.

World Championship leader Jordi Torres in front of double winner Matteo Ferrari and Randy Krummenacher – the “Spanish Elvis” as many call him, in contrast to the man with the number 3, is modesty personified when it comes to his ambitions in the electric racers. Born in Rubi, a suburb of Barcelona, the Catalan has already won in Moto2, WorldSBK and was a two-time MotoE overall winner in 2020 and 2021.

How it goes on

motogp.com · Calendar – 2023 Netherlands

The symbolized podium of the Tissot Sprintrace – as usual, medals were awarded instead of cups and of course there were only half points and only for the first 9 pilots. On the left, second-placed championship leader Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati), winner Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and third-placed, as a result of Binder’s punishment, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha).

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).