Valentino Rossi wins in dramatic fashion after an incredible race-long battle with Marc Marquez at the Motul TT Assen.
97,000 fans basking in the sunshine at the legendary TT Circuit Assen were treated to one of the greatest MotoGP™ battles ever witnessed as the nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi managed to hold off Marc Marquez in a dramatic end to the race to take his 111th GP victory and extend his championship lead.
Marquez made a move on Rossi as the duo entered the final chicane on the very last lap and made contact with the Italian, forcing Rossi to run straight on through the gravel. Rossi managed to stay upright though and went on to take the chequered flag 1.242s ahead of Marquez, claiming his third win of the season and first from pole position since Misano in 2009.
Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi, starting from pole for the first time since Valencia last season, led into the first corner and it didn’t take Marquez long to join him after starting from third on the grid, overtaking Aleix Espargaro on the first lap to move into second.
Marquez was happy to sit behind Rossi for most of the race, before making his move and taking the lead into turn 1 on lap 20. Rossi bided his time, and then responded with 3 laps to go to retake the lead at turn 10. The Italian then put in his fastest lap of the race in an effort to pull away, but Marquez responded on the final lap to get within striking distance once again as the duo approached the final chicane.
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a brilliant start from eighth on the grid, and found himself in third after the first lap. Any hopes the Spaniard had of making it five wins in a row disappeared shortly afterwards though, as Rossi and Marquez pulled away at the front and disappeared off into the distance. The double MotoGP™ World Champion eventually crossing the line 14.576s behind his teammate in a lonely third position.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+19.109s) was another four seconds back as he also circulated for most of the race on his own, finishing just over four and a half seconds back from Lorenzo.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro won an incredible battle for 5th that saw four riders all within 0.4s of each other. The Spaniard also finished as the leading Satellite rider 0.105s ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in sixth. Espargaro’s teammate Bradley Smith crossed the line in seventh in front of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa (+24.656s), who had fought back valiantly after a crash in Warm Up, and a disastrous start that saw him down in 12th after the first lap.
The Team Suzuki Ecstar duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales were next across the line in ninth and tenth respectively, ahead of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci (11th) and the second Factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in twelfth.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding finished 46.663s back from Rossi in 13th, while Loris Baz (Athina Forward Racing) took the Open class victory, and the final championship point that was up for grabs in 15th, just ahead of Aspar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden who crossed the line in 16th.
Hector Barbera and Jack Miller were involved in a crash on the very first lap that resulted in the former having to go to the medical centre for checks on his right leg, although he was later declared fit. Alex De Angelis, Eugene Laverty and Stefan Bradl also crashed out; with the latter finding out he had fractured the scaphoid in his right wrist after an X-ray at the Medical Centre.
Rossi’s (163pts) victory, his 85th in the premier class, means he has extended his lead in the championship standings over Lorenzo (153pts) to 10 points with ten races to go.