RACE REPORT | MotoGP Netherlands 2023

Reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia concludes the summer break with his fourth victory of the season in the Dutch MotoGP at Assen. The Ducati factory rider made an impressive move by overtaking Brad Binder from KTM to secure an early lead and managed to maintain a slight advantage when Marco Bezzecchi, the Sprint winner, moved up to second place.

Despite facing intense pressure, Binder put up a strong defense against Aleix Espargaro from Aprilia and Jorge Martin from Pramac. He seemed to have secured a well-deserved podium finish after being denied it on Saturday due to a post-race penalty. However, astonishingly, Binder received another penalty after the race on Sunday for exceeding track limits in the same spot as the previous day's incident, causing him to drop to fourth place. This turn of events allowed Espargaro to claim his first podium of the year and Aprilia's second podium since Maverick Vinales at the Portimao opener. Binder managed to grab the holeshot from the fifth position on the grid and held off the Ducatis until Bagnaia's relentless pursuit led him to overtake Binder on the third lap of the 26-lap race.

Bagnaia, Binder, and Bezzecchi then began to create a gap between themselves and Espargaro's Aprilia. Meanwhile, Espargaro became the target for Jorge Martin and Alex Marquez. Despite running a softer rear tire compared to the medium tires on the Ducatis, Binder kept pace with Bagnaia until ten laps to go when the leading Italian gradually increased his lead. Recognizing the threat, Bezzecchi quickly passed Binder and tirelessly attempted to chase down the #1 Ducati throughout the remaining laps, but Bagnaia remained just out of reach. Espargaro, despite battling with a broken front wing due to contact with Luca Marini on the opening lap, earned a surprising podium finish.

Binder's teammate Jack Miller made significant progress from twelfth to seventh on the opening lap but unfortunately crashed out at the first corner of the second lap. Fabio Quartararo, who inherited a podium position on Saturday after Binder's penalty, had shown impressive performance in the warm-up session but experienced a disappointing start, dropping from fourth to twelfth.To make matters worse, Quartararo lost control of his Monster Yamaha at high speed in Turn 7 a few laps later, causing a collision with his compatriot Johann Zarco. Zarco graciously went to assist Quartararo, who was already riding with ankle and toe injuries, as he lay in the gravel. Eventually, Quartararo managed to walk away with the help of track marshals.

Maverick Vinales was in pursuit of his teammate Aleix Espargaro for fourth place but crashed out on the fourth lap. Enea Bastianini also slid out of eighth place at the hairpin, followed by Miguel Oliveira, Iker Lecuona, and Fabio di Giannantonio, who joined the list of non-finishers.

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