|Marc Marquez wins in race that saw 100+ overtakes|
The 70th Dutch TT at Assen will probably long be recalled by bike fans around the world as one of the best MotoGP races in the series’ history; the eight protagonists for a podium finish in today’s 26-lap battle will definitely remember it that way.
The fight began when the lights went off and only ended when the checkered flag established the top-3 riders who fought in the closest top-fifteen of all time.
By that point, Marc Marquez had finally pulled a two-second gap on the chasing group, but until around three laps from the end he had been fighting tooth-and-nail with Rins, Vinales, Dovizioso, Rossi, and Lorenzo, without a moment’s pause.
The World Champion ultimately prevailed over all his opponents to take his 65th career win and his 39th in MotoGP, extending his advantage in the world Standings to 41 over Valentino Rossi.
Marquez took the holeshot from pole, with Crutchlow initially on his tail from second on the grid until Lorenzo sliced through from tenth to P2 after another awe-inspiring launch. The Italian and Catalan GP winner didn’t wait long to strike for the lead either, attacking Marquez and the two side-by-side in a war of wills until Lorenzo edged ahead. Marquez hit back a lap later at Turn 15, before Lorenzo repaid the favor once more. The duel was the first of many; an early taste of what was to come.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Rossi then made his first attack of the race at the final chicane, a first rehearsal, and set off after Lorenzo – with the Spaniard then suffering a moment soon after and Rossi smashing into the rear of the Ducati, unable to avoid him. But both stayed on and both stayed ahead, with Marquez, Dovizioso, Rins, Crutchlow and Vinales forming a train of riders fighting at the front.
Marquez took Rossi, Vinales took Crutchlow, Dovizioso took Rossi, Dovizioso took Marquez, Marquez struck back, Rins took Rossi and then Dovizioso…but Lorenzo held firm at the front. With eight riders within a second, from Lorenzo down to Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) at the back of the train, the touch paper was well and truly lit on an absolute classic.
The war continued before another bout of bigger drama with 15 laps to go as Rins attacked Marquez and the two were only a hair’s breadth apart – no contact, but the reigning Champion suffered a big moment as he got back on the gas. That dropped him back off the lead, with Lorenzo chased by Rins and Dovizioso.
The Italian dueled his teammate for the lead soon after and Lorenzo began to drop back slightly, with Vinales then taking the lead for the first time with eight to go. Next time around Marquez had sliced back through into the lead, before the next lap saw both almost throw it all away as they dueled and both headed wide. Rossi took over – another stunner from the ‘Doctor’ at the final chicane – but ‘DesmoDovi’ took him back.
|Rossi presses Marquez hard|
Four wide at times, Marquez made his way back into P1…and that was all she wrote, for the lead at least. After one of the closest, most spectacular races in the history of the world’s oldest motorsport Championship, the reigning Champion was able to pull clear to take a stunning fourth win of the year – and increase his points lead.
The battle behind wasn’t over, however, and Vinales had pushed through to second before a last lap attack from Rins – with the Suzuki rider taking his second ever premier class rostrum. Vinales was forced to settle for third but back on the podium for the first time since Texas…and the fight for fourth showed why Rossi had been rehearsing.
The ‘Doctor’ left it late but lunged up the inside of Dovizioso into the famous Geert Timmer chicane on the final lap, and he was ahead – but ‘DesmoDovi’ took him back on the exit, getting such a good exit that the number 04 was almost on a par with Vinales over the line.
Jump onboard with The Doctor for a lap from all angles of the TT Circuit Assen
Marquez, Rins, Vinales, Dovizioso and Rossi were followed home by Crutchlow and Lorenzo, with Zarco, Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) completing the top ten in one of the greatest races contested on two wheels.
Winner's Quote – Marc Marquez
“It was a crazy race, full of adrenaline—this feeling is one of the reasons we do this sport! Yesterday, I was expecting something like this, but nothing like it actually was! We were a wild bunch, everyone fighting against everyone; I think all of us made contact with somebody else at some point. We had to attack and defend, attack and defend. We had so many ‘big moments’ and risked crashing. It was crazy! It was impossible to define the best strategy, impossible to make plans, so eventually I decided to just fight and see what we could do in the end.
"In the last three laps, I gave it everything, no matter the tires, no matter the Championship. I had been trying to reduce the group because when you’re fighting for the title, you just want the fewest riders possible at the front, but it was difficult. Only when I saw I had more than one and a half seconds of advantage before the last lap did I think, Okay, we’ve got it, let’s just finish this lap. It was an important win and 25 very important points, but we need to keep going, keep pushing, and keep this same level."