Luis Salom claimed his third victory in succession after snatching the lead from Maverick Vinales at the penultimate corner in the TT Assen. The two championship rivals were part of a five rider scrap for the win with the Estrella Galicia KTMs and Miguel Oliveira’s Mahindra with everything hanging in the balance until the chequered flag came out.
After taking his first pole position 24 hours earlier, Oliveira led them away off the line but was promptly swallowed up on the run to turn one. The drag race was won by Alex Marquez who squeezed up the inside of his teammate Alex Rins with Jonas Folger demoting Oliveira to fourth. Unfortunately for Aspar, they encountered the all-too-familiar sight of their rider fading as the laps ticked away with Folger losing touch with the front five in the second half of the race.
After pushing past his teammate on lap three, Rins set about building what he hoped would be a race winning lead as the others squabbled behind and the advantage increased to over a second at one point. The chasing group was eventually led by Salom though who quickly reeled the no.42 KTM in again once he had taken control of the fight behind him.
Rins hung on to the lead until the final six laps when he was finally overhauled but it wasn’t Salom who he handed the lead to. The championship leader had been mugged by Marquez and Vinales and the pair did a similar job on Rins at turn one, Marquez winning the late braking battle. His spell in front was rather brief though as Vinales dived through at Stekkenwal and the 18 year old looked to have timed his move perfectly.
Salom had other ideas though and launched his late bid for victory at the chicane on the penultimate lap, scything past Vinales but his lack of speed exiting the corner helped Vinales slipstream past again approaching turn one. That looked to be that but Salom had one more trick up his sleeve and sent a bold move up the inside into the Ramshoek two corners from home. Despite the bravery of the move, Luis was able to carry sufficient speed out of the corner to beat Vinales into the chicane, leaving his rival with no possibility of a comeback before the finish line.
Like Salom, Oliveira played it cool until the last lap and got embroiled in a battle with the two Estrella Galicia KTMs but in the end, a podium finish deserted him once again. He did manage to split the two Spanish teammates though with Rins claiming the last spot on the podium and Marquez shuffled back to fifth.
Folger’s loss of pace in the latter stages left him nineteen seconds adrift in sixth while Jack Miller won an all-Australian battle for seventh, pipping Arthur Sissis a tenth of a second. Alexis Masbou and Niklas Ajo completed the top ten but John McPhee was two laps away from beating both of them, only to hit trouble. The Scot tumbled to 21st but Danny Webb had an even tougher afternoon, crashing out and appearing to injure his collarbone.