Magnificent Marquez Claims Eighth Straight Victory

Marc Marquez became the first rider for 43 years to win the opening eight races of the season after taking another supreme victory at Assen. The Spaniard sent more records tumbling by beating Andrea Dovizioso under flag-to-flag conditions which saw the race start wet before drying out.

The race got underway in similar circumstances to Moto2 with a pre-start shower forcing a delay with Stefan Bradl caught out on the sighting lap, tumbling at the final chicane. The circuit was sodden but drying quickly when the time came to make tyre choices and the majority went for wets but Pol Espargaro and Valentino Rossi opted to gamble on slicks. The strategy lasted as long as the formation lap though with both switching back to wets and starting from the pit lane.

It was immediately apparent which riders felt most comfortable on the slippery race track as Marquez streaked away, followed by Dovizioso while Aleix Espargaro and Dani Pedrosa had gapped the chasing group which being led by Andrea Iannone and Cal Crutchlow. With the rain having eased, wet tyres were soon overheating and the pit lane became a hive of activity.

Marquez led the field in at the end of lap six, although some riders waited an extra lap before switching to slicks, but Marc’s first lap on dry settings nearly became his last when the world champion ran wide at De Bult, releasing Dovizioso into a four second lead. Espargaro and Pedrosa remained inseparable in the fight for third with Alvaro Bautista climbing to fifth. The big surprise at the sharp end was Broc Parkes who had gone against the majority and stayed on slicks early on with sixth place his reward on lap eight.

Despite his off, Marquez had a far superior package to Dovizioso in dry conditions and promptly reeled the Ducati in, snatching the lead at the chicane on lap sixteen. From there, the path was clear for an eight successive victory and Repsol Honda had even more cause for cheer when Dani Pedrosa took the final podium position from Aleix Espargaro.

Had he held his nerve on the formation lap and stayed on slicks, Valentino Rossi could have been looking at a sensational victory but his recovery only got him as high as fifth with Andrea Iannone demoting Alvaro Bautista to seventh. The Gresini rider almost lost another spot to Bradley Smith on the last lap but clung on by a tenth of a second with the Tech 3 rider finishing just ahead of compatriot Cal Crutchlow. Stefan Bradl completed the top ten after overhauling the outstanding Broc Parkes but the Australian still brought his PBM home in eleventh to the delight of his Paul Bird Motorsport crew.

Scott Redding added to his points tally in twelfth and the rookie can also say he finished ahead of Jorge Lorenzo after a disastrous afternoon for the former world champion who toiled his way to thirteenth.