Valentino Rossi won MotoGP’s Dutch TT race from pole position after a thrilling duel with the world champion Marc Márquez in which the pair clashed at the final corner, forcing the Italian to ride through gravel before crossing the line.
Rossi extended his championship lead to 10 points, with closest rival and Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who had won four straight MotoGP races coming into Assen, finishing third after qualifying in eighth.
The Italian had led until seven laps from the end, when Márquez squeezed past at the first corner but Rossi kept on the Honda’s tail and retook the lead with three laps to go.
Márquez then made another move, with the two bikes making contact at the final corner and Rossi skimming across the gravel with a front wheel spinning in the air before cutting the corner and rejoining the track to take the chequered flag 1.242sec ahead of Márquez.
It was the nine-times world champion’s seventh MotoGP victory on the Assen track and his third of the season to extend his lead over Lorenzo in the season standings.
Márquez is now fourth, behind Andrea Iannone – who came home in fourth for Ducati – but with 89pts to Rossi’s 163, Márquez’s grip on the world title appears tenuous even with 10 races of the season to go.
Rossi started from pole and the race quickly developed into a two-rider tussle. Lorenzo swiftly made up five places from his disappointing grid position, but then appeared satisfied to settle for third. Márquez overtook Rossi with seven laps to go but four laps later the veteran Italian got past Márquez and managed to hold on to his lead.
The British riders Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith finished in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Scott Redding came home in 13th place.
Earlier, the championship leader, Johann Zarco of France, won the Moto2 race on his Kalex, ahead of the Spaniard Tito Rabat. Sam Lowes of Britain was third.
In the Moto 3 class, Miguel Oliveira of Portugal won on his KTM, edging Fabio Quartararo of France into second. The rankings leader, Danny Kent of Britain, was third on his Honda.