Rossi Holds Off Marquez in Dramatic Finish

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Valentino Rossi returned to winning ways with a crucial victory at Assen but not without a fierce battle with Marc Marquez. The rivals were inseparable throughout the 26 lap race before everything came to a head at the final chicane as the leaders made contact, Rossi escaping through the gravel trap to take his third win of the season.

The race took shape very early on with Rossi converting pole into a first lap lead ahead of Marquez while Jorge Lorenzo made his customary lightning start to gain five places, moving him up to third. Having won the last four races, Lorenzo looked a serious threat in third place but he could only keep pace with the front two for six laps before fading to a distant third.

For lap after lap, Marquez shadowed the championship leader and it wasn’t until lap eighteen that either of them blinked as Rossi touched the astroturf exiting the Timmer chicane, giving Marquez the slingshot to outdrag on the run towards turn one. Rossi now had to do the chasing and after several looks up the inside of the Honda, the Yamaha rider dived back through at Mandeveen three laps from the finish and mistake from Marquez soon afterwards looked to have settled the argument.

Marquez had other ideas though and a blistering final lap brought him back onto the tail of the no.46 through Ramshoek. Leaving his braking desperately late, Marc charged up the inside only to find the door slammed shut by Rossi, causing contact between the two. Marquez stayed on the circuit by the skin of his teeth but Rossi scurried straight through the gravel trap to take victory, leaving Honda to consider a post-race protest.

Lorenzo fell fourteen seconds back in third while Andrea Iannone kept up his consistent run of form in fourth. Pol Espargaro won an entertaining satellite battle with British duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith for fifth while Dani Pedrosa rode through the pain barrier to take eighth after a painful fall in warm-up. Front row starter Aleix Espargaro faded to ninth with his Suzuki teammate Maverick Vinales following him home in tenth.



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