Last Gasp Marquez Denies Iannone At Assen

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Marc Marquez chased down race-long leader Andrea Iannone before overtaking him on the final lap to claim his third straight victory in all classes at Assen. The race may prove crucial in the championship battle as both of Marquez's immediate rivals failed to score.

The win seemed unlikely for so long as Marquez fell back to fifth early on behind Pol Espargaro, Dominique Aegerter, Iannone and Scott Redding, but things suddenly took a turn for the better when Espargaro crashed spectacularly on lap two. Thomas Luthi, the man who started the race level on points with the Pons rider, was already sitting on the sidelines after being taken out by Ratthapark Wilairot at De Strubben on the opening lap.

In Espargaro's absence, Aegerter inherited the lead but the aggressive Iannone took control of the race on lap four with a move at turn eight. The Italian promptly set about building up a lead as Aegerter backed up the riders behind, with Marquez struggling to find a way past Redding for third.

Both made their way past Aegerter's Technomag Suter on lap five but Marquez remained frustrated behind the Briton for another eight laps before finally making the move stick. By this point, Iannone was over three seconds up the road and victory seemed out of reach. Marquez responded with some stunning laps in the 1:38s, including the fastest of the race, and within seven laps, that cushion had been wiped out.

Catching was one thing but passing was proving to be quite another as Iannone refused to give in. Twice Marquez sneaked past at turn six only for Iannone to duck underneath him at the very next corner, forcing the championship leader into a final lap shootout. The decisive move came into turn one as Marquez produced a sensational move around the outside of the right hander. Iannone rallied later in the lap and tried to fight back at turn eight but when the Speed Master rider missed a gear, his chance was gone.

Marquez's margin of victory was 0.405s in the end and the fight for the final rostrum position was even closer. With Aegerter slipping all the way to seventh, Scott Redding came under pressure from the charging Esteve Rabat who shadowed him all the way to the line. The Briton hung on to claim his second podium in a row with Alex De Angelis right behind in fifth, an excellent result for the Forward team running FTR chassis' for the first time.

Bradley Smith's improvement continued with a season's best sixth. The Tech 3 rider came on strong in the latter stages to finish just over a second outside the podium positions, and well clear of Aegerter in seventh. Johann Zarco grabbed eighth on the line from Toni Elias with Mika Kallio completing the top ten. Gino Rea finished down in 22nd on the sole remaining Gresini Suter.

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