MOTOGP: Michael Laverty denied chance of points finish at Assen

PBM rider Michael Laverty
PBM rider Michael Laverty

Michael Laverty was robbed of the chance for a points finish at the Dutch MotoGP at Assen on Saturday after the PBM rider lost valuable time when he had to make two pit stops.

The race was started in wet conditions but the track was quickly beginning to dry out and Laverty opted to pull into pit lane to switch to his second bike with slick tyres.

However, the machine wasn’t ready and the Northern Ireland rider was forced to return to the circuit before pulling in again to complete the switch.

The setback ruined any hopes he had of scoring his first points of 2014, a realistic scenario given that his team-mate - Broc Parkes - finished in a career best 11th place after making the same decision as Laverty to pit early to swap to his ‘dry’ bike.

The difference, though, was that Parkes’ machine was ready to go and Laverty graciously said later that he was pleased that the team had fulfilled its potential at Assen, even if he had been denied the chance of a similar result.

“Firstly I want to congratulate Broc on a great ride, I am happy that one of us managed to fulfil the potential we had this weekend but incredibly frustrated that I wasn’t up there with him,” he said.

“The race couldn’t have gone worse for me, I felt I made the correct call to pit for slicks early but unfortunately my bike wasn’t ready.

“I left the pits to join Broc on track but the fact that I had to pit again meant my race was ruined. I had good pace this weekend and would have easily scored a decent haul of points in the tricky conditions.”

Laverty eventually finished in 21st place and remains on the hunt for his first top 15 result this season.

The race was won by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who matched Giacomo Agostini’s 1971 record of eight premier class victories on the trot as he extended his incredible unbeaten run in 2014.

Marquez recovered from a mistake following his detour to pit lane to change to his second bike on lap six, reeling in Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and taking the lead on lap 16 at the chicane before pulling away to win by more than six seconds from the Italian rider.

His Honda team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, finished third followed by pole man Aleix Espargaro on the Open class Forward Yamaha.

Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who started from pit lane after opting to change tyres after his warm-up lap, rode brilliantly to take fifth place with the top six completed by Andrea Iannone on the Pramac Ducati.

British riders Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) were eighth and ninth respectively, while Jorge Lorenzo finished in a lowly 13th place after admitting he wasn’t prepared to take any unnecessary risks in the early part of the race in the difficult conditions.