There was no clear winner all-through the MotoGP’s Dutch Grand Prix at Assen which saw as many as five different leaders, but eventually it was Honda’s Marc Marquez who triumphed with a late charge.
It was mayhem in the 26 laps of racing at Assen as Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo shot himself into the lead from 10th on the grid to get ahead of Marquez. The two then fought tooth and nail with all the Top 8 riders in contention of a podium and a possible win.
The train of riders included Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi & Maverick Vinales, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco and Suzuki’s Alex Rins along with Lorenzo and Marquez.
There were overtake moves done almost on every lap in a Moto3-like scrap for not only the race win but also the podium positions. Lorenzo settled himself in the lead with Rossi moving into second. But the two then collided.
The Spaniard slowed slightly on the exit of the right-hander, catching Rossi off-guard as his front-end hit the back of Lorenzo – crucially both managed to hang on. Lorenzo still continued to lead as Rossi dropped off.
This brought Lorenzo’s teammate Dovizioso in the mix as the Italian took the lead from Lorenzo on Lap 14. The two went on with their battle for the next few laps but after losing the lead, Lorenzo started to drop back.
Lorenzo’s demise brought the two Yamahas in the game when Marquez had a near-fall moment at Turn 5 when he and Rins touched in the left-hander – the incident was under investigation but both were cleared by the stewards.
In the meantime, Vinales took the lead as Dovizioso dropped behind the recovering Marquez but then both Vinales and Marquez ran wide in the corner allowing Dovizioso back into the lead with Rossi behind him.
It was Rossi’s turn then to take the lead of the race. But not for long as Marquez fought back to clear both Dovizioso and Rossi into the lead. Rossi dropped to third as he tried to fight back, he went off at Turn 1 to drop behind Vinales and Rins.
Once Marquez in the lead, he led the way comfortably to win a thrilling battle and further extend his points lead over the field. Meanwhile, Rins fought back to take advantage of the Dovizioso and Rossi off to slot into third behind Vinales.
The Suzuki rider cleared Vinales then to score his best MotoGP result in second with the Yamaha rider completing an all-Spanish podium. Dovizioso eventually finished fourth with Rossi following him in fifth in a slightly damaged Yamaha.
At some distance was Crutchlow who managed to clear Lorenzo to finish sixth as the Spaniard lost touch after losing the lead to be only seventh. Zarco was eighth from Angel Nieto Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista – the Spaniard chasing Zarco in a late charge.
The two were only 0.540s apart with Pramac Racing Ducati’s Jack Miller a long way off in 10th. In 11th was Iannone, who looked good early on but lost touch with the leading group and was awarded a time penalty for short-cutting a chicane.
It was a battle between the brothers as Pol Espargaro in the KTM led Alexis abode the Aprilia in the fight for 12th as the latter lost considerable places having started in seventh. Aprilia’s Scott Redding finished with Honda’s Dani Pedrosa scoring the final point.
After a fiery exit in the last race, Avintia Ducati’s Tito Rabat missed on the points in 16th with KTM’s Bradley Smith long way off in 17th ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha’s Hafizh Syahrin, LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami and Marc VDS Honda’s Thomas Luthi.
DNF: Danilo Petrucci, Xavier Simeon and Karel Abraham.
UPDATE: Following the grand prix, MotoGP organisers revealed that the Dutch GP saw a total of 175 overtaking moves done in the 26 laps of crazy racing.