Valentino Rossi won the Dutch round of the MotoGP championship after an enthralling duel with reigning champion Marc Marquez around the high-speed sweeps of the Assen TT circuit.
From pole position, Rossi’s works Yamaha got a great launch, and just led into Turn 1 from Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro and Honda’s Marquez, with Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha immediately up to fifth behind Pol Espargaro’s Tech 3 Yamaha.
Marquez quickly grabbed second, as Pol Espargaro passed brother Aleix, and Lorenzo got through as well.
Ducati’s Andrea Iannone demoted Aleix too, and then Pol two laps later for fourth.
Lorenzo rose to third before the end of the opening lap, and the top three – Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo – pulled well clear of Iannone.
Marquez, who reverted to his 2014 bike, was the only rider to run a medium front tyre, after enjoying its grip level in warm-up. He kept within a second of Rossi, as Lorenzo held a watching brief in third.
Marquez began his attack on lap five, but despite sticking with Rossi for the first half of the race, he couldn’t find a way past. Rossi eked out a small advantage in the middle stages, but Marquez began to push again with 10 laps to go.
Marquez hit the front for the first time at Turn 1, after Rossi made a mistake at the previous chicane with seven laps to go. Rossi immediately re-attacked, but Marquez repelled his advances.
Marquez got out of shape with five laps to go on a high-speed sweeper, and then another huge slide through Turn 1, as Rossi stalked him.
Rossi dived underneath Marquez with a superb move with three laps to go. It was then Marquez’s turn to make a mistake at the chicane, which gave Rossi a gap, but Marquez closed him down on the final lap.
Marquez was always going to make a last-corner lunge, and he came from way back, their bikes, elbows and knees touching as Rossi straightlined the left-hander, ran through the gravel and took the chequered flag – his third victory of the season and 85th career MotoGP win.
Lorenzo’s winning streak of four consecutive victories came to an end, as he slipped back to a distant third – a decent result after his poor qualifying. Iannone finished fourth.
Behind the leaders, a wild battle raged over fifth, with Aleix leading Pol Espargaro, as Cal Crutchlow and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso were almost trading paint ahead of Bradley Smith.
Dovizioso worked his way through this group into fifth, as Aleix dropped back to eighth as the Suzuki’s race pace didn’t match its qualifying speed.
Crutchlow repassed Dovizioso to wrest fifth, ahead of Pol Espargaro, Smith, the quiet Dani Pedrosa’s works Honda and Aleix Espargaro.
Pol Espargaro managed to work his way to the front of this queue, ahead of Crutchlow, Smith and Pedrosa. Dovizioso fell back to 12th in the closing stages.
Jack Miller and Hector Barbera crashed on the opening lap, with Barbera taking an awful tumble and being stretchered away.
Stefan Bradl crashed out at high speed on lap six without injury, and Eugene Laverty did likewise on lap 17.
|15||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||41m46.433||52.396|
|18||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||42m08.550||1m14.513|