Morbidelli scores first podium of 2016 at Assen
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli scored a superb third place podium in today's 86th Dutch TT.
It was the best result of the season so far for the 21-year-old Italian who has now moved to sixth place in the World Championship standings.
Morbidelli was on the charge from the start and rode a fast and aggressive opening sequence of laps that took him to the lead on lap four.
It was tense battle in the lead group with Morbidelli briefly slipping back to fourth on lap 10 when eventual race winner Takaaki Nakagami swept into first place.
After engaging Johann Zarco in close duel for second Morbidelli decided that securing third place when rain started on lap 19 was the safest option.
Riding a cautious race Álex Márquez finished an impressive eighth, after staring 13th, for his best result of the season so far and his first points since the Texas GP in Austin.
The race was red flagged because after 21 laps of 24 because of rain.
Franco Morbidelli: 3rd
“This has been a very good day and I'm very happy to get my first podium with the team, we have had this potential since the first race of the season. I want to dedicate this first podium to every single person in the team because they deserve it. When I saw the spots of rain I was bit more scared than the other guys so I slowed a little to make sure I got this first podium of the season. In the beginning of the race I had a lot of fun fighting with the front guys and leading for six laps. Now I have a lot of expectation for the next race at the Sachsenring, where I have always been fast.”
Álex Márquez: 8th
“My goal this weekend was to finish the race, score points and not crash, so my strategy was to go step-by-step which is not my normal style. I dropped some positions in the opening laps to make sure I found a good feeling on the bike so I am happy to get this result. I was eighth when the rain started and I was careful to make sure I didn't crash. I will use this performance as a platform for the next races and go to the German Grand Prix with a lot of motivation.”
Michael Bartholemy – Team Principal
“This is good day for the team, we have been waiting to be back on the podium since the Valencia race at end of last season. Franco has been close to the podium a couple of times this year so this third place confirms that he has the pace to do it. Since we arrived at Assen on Thursday the only thought we had with Álex was to finish the race and he did it with a strong performance to be eighth when the race stopped. Two riders in the top ten is deserving reward for all the hard work by the team.”