Yamaha’s long wait is over. After eight barren races and a sea of doubts, Maverick Vinales washed away the pain with a convincing victory at classic Assen. His win only just eclipsed the remarkable weekend of super-rookie Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha), who had qualified on pole for a second successive race, led for 12 laps – more than any other rider, and finished third, for his second podium in a row. But perhaps the biggest winner of the weekend was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), who had missed the front row of the grid for the first time all season but rode a calculating race to take second, comfortably ahead of his main championship rivals. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) was clearly off the pace, and dropped to fifth, embroiled with second Suzuki rider Joan Mir while factory Ducati teammate Danilo Petrucci went ahead … but by the finish, he’d regained fourth as Mir ran into major grip problems and Petrucci succumbed to the rapidly closing Morbidelli. Rins had leapt off the line, with Mir and Quartararo chasing him over the first couple of laps, while Vinales and Marquez changed places close behind, the factory Ducatis in pursuit. Hopes of an ultra-close paint-swapping battle like last years came to nought, however, as a distraught Rins crashed out on lap three. Valentino Rossi had qualified 14th and had made his way to 11th after four laps when he clattered into second LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami on the way into the fast Stekkenwal corner, taking both of them out.
Words Michael Scott