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Assen MotoGP: Marc Marquez wins eventful wet/dry race

Marc Marquez, Honda, leads Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati, Assen MotoGP 2014

Marc Marquez coped with changeable weather, pitstops, a mistake and a fighting Andrea Dovizioso to take an eighth-straight MotoGP win in the Dutch TT at Assen.

Although Dovizioso was not able to hang on ahead of Marquez's Honda and end Ducati's win drought, he still claimed second, with Dani Pedrosa third.

Valentino Rossi's fifth place was the best Yamaha could salvage from a terrible race.

A brief rain shower as the riders headed for the grid caused a delayed start as officials gave the field two extra reconnaissance laps to decide whether to start on slicks or wets.

The handful of riders who pondered slicks thought better of it before the start - though Rossi stuck with slicks until the end of the green-flag lap and only then bailed out, forcing him to start from the pitlane.

Marquez burst past polesitter Aleix Espargaro off the line, but wet weather ace Dovizioso was soon right with him, and the pair swapped positions four times on the opening lap.

The world champion managed to establish a narrow lead before they both pitted for their slick-shod bikes early on.

With everyone doing likewise, they were soon back to the front, but not before Marquez had slid off the road on his cold slicks and let Dovizioso ahead.

The Ducati managed to hold a four-second lead for a while before Marquez started creeping closer, finally slipping back into first place at the chicane with 10 laps to go.

Dovizioso kept in touch for a while then slipped back in second, as Marquez charged clear and maintained his unbeaten 2014 run.

Pedrosa broke clear of Aleix Espargaro - after a dice in which they passed each other countless times - to complete the podium, with Forward racer Espargaro hanging on for fourth.

Rossi made it back from his pitlane start to finish fifth, picking his way through a dice including Andrea Iannone and Alvaro Bautista, who followed him home.

But it was an awful day for Jorge Lorenzo, who was never on the pace.

He lost ground by leaving his switch to slicks too late, and then fell as low as 17th as he struggled for speed on his second bike. He finally finished 13th.

Cal Crutchlow shone in the damp at first and eventually took ninth, losing out to a charging Bradley Smith - who finished right on Bautista's tail for seventh - late on.

Paul Bird rider Broc Parkes produced the greatest underdog ride, capitalising on an early switch to slicks to run sixth.

He held his own among the faster bikes and nearly clung on for a top-10 finish, until Stefan Bradl passed him in the closing laps. Bradl had earlier crashed on his way to the grid when the shower hit.

Drizzle in the second half of the race prompted many teams to begin preparing their wet-weather bikes again, with Marquez and Honda among those considering second pitstops.

Only Colin Edwards took the plunge, and he was soon back in again as the brief shower swiftly stopped.

Results - 26 laps:                                     
Pos  Rider             Team/Bike               Time/Gap
 1.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 43m29.954s
 2.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                   +6.714s
 3.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                   +10.791s
 4.  Aleix Espargaro   Forward Yamaha          +19.199s
 5.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                  +25.813s
 6.  Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati           +29.003s
 7.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda           +30.882s
 8.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha           +30.985s
 9.  Cal Crutchlow     Ducati                  +44.031s
10.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda               +48.662s
11.  Broc Parkes       PBM Aprilia             +51.863s
12.  Scott Redding     Gresini Honda         +1m00.329s
13.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                +1m04.641s
14.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Honda         +1m05.980s
15.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda Aprilia          +1m17.611s
16.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Aspar Honda           +1m19.753s
17.  Nicky Hayden      Aspar Honda           +1m27.630s
18.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  +1m28.142s
19.  Yonny Hernandez   Pramac Ducati             -1 lap
20.  Mike di Meglio    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki      -1 lap
21.  Michael Laverty   PBM Aprilia               -1 lap
22.  Colin Edwards     Forward Yamaha           -3 laps
     Pol Espargaro     Tech 3 Yamaha             8 laps
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