Assen MotoGP: Valentino Rossi beats Marc Marquez after contact

Valentino Rossi defeated Marc Marquez in a final-lap thriller to win the Dutch TT at Assen and stretch his MotoGP championship lead

Assen MotoGP: Valentino Rossi beats Marc Marquez after contact

The duo were a class apart throughout an incredible grand prix, leaving the rest of the field - headed by Rossi's Yamaha team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo - behind.

Rossi led the majority of the race but could never escape from Marquez's Honda.

Marquez calmly stalked his rival until slipping ahead into the first corner with seven laps to go.

Although Marquez was using a harder tyre than the Italian, Rossi still had plenty of grip left for the final shootout and clung to Marquez's tail even after being passed.

He squeezed back into the lead with two laps left, and resisted Marquez's immediate attempt to repass at the next corner.

Rossi then stretched a 0.6-second advantage - his biggest of the ultra-close race - only for Marquez to come back at him with a storming final lap.

Into the chicane for the last time, Marquez flung his Honda to the inside of the Yamaha.

They made light contact, with Rossi shooting across the gravel on the inside of the corner - with his front wheel briefly in the air - and accelerating back on track still ahead.

Marquez and Rossi at odds over last-lap clash

With Marquez losing a little momentum, Rossi crossed the line 1.2s clear to secure his third win of 2015 and his first since the Termas de Rio Hondo race in April.

Lorenzo swiftly wiped out the disadvantage of his poor qualifying performance and came through from eighth to third, but could not keep pace with Rossi and Marquez, ending his winning streak at four victories.

He finished nearly 15s off the lead and is now 10 points behind Rossi in the championship again.

Andrea Iannone was fourth for Ducati, escaping from a huge battle for the rest of the top 10 places.

Pol Espargaro eventually won that, just ahead of Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith and Dani Pedrosa, who was riding with a sore hand after his warm-up crash.

Front row starter Aleix Espargaro held his ground off the line this time but fell down the order as the race progressed. The Suzukis completed the top 10, with Espargaro ahead of Maverick Vinales.

Andrea Dovizioso spent a while in fifth before being shuffled back to 12th behind Danilo Petrucci.

Scott Redding's tough weekend finished with a quiet 13th.

The worst of several midfield crashes occurred on lap one, when Jack Miller and Hector Barbera tangled at the chicane. While Miller walked away, Barbera was taken from the scene on a stretcher, but conscious and sitting up.

RESULTS - 26 LAPS:

Pos Rider Team Bike Gap
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 40m54.037s
2 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1.242s
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha 14.576s
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati Ducati 19.109s
5 Pol Espargaro Tech 3 Yamaha 24.268s
6 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 24.373s
7 Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 24.442s
8 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 24.656s
9 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Suzuki 26.725s
10 Maverick Vinales Suzuki Suzuki 27.238s
11 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Racing Ducati 29.038s
12 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 29.418s
13 Scott Redding Marc VDS Honda 46.663s
14 Yonny Hernandez Pramac Racing Ducati 49.305s
15 Loris Baz Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 52.396s
16 Nicky Hayden Aspar Honda 56.005s
17 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 59.857s
18 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Racing Ducati 1m14.513s
19 Marco Melandri Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 1 Lap
- Alex de Angelis IodaRacing Project ART/Aprilia Retirement
- Eugene Laverty Aspar Honda Retirement
- Stefan Bradl Forward Racing Yamaha Forward Retirement
- Hector Barbera Avintia Racing Ducati Retirement
- Jack Miller LCR Honda Retirement

RIDERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Rider Points
1 Valentino Rossi 163
2 Jorge Lorenzo 153
3 Andrea Iannone 107
4 Marc Marquez 89
5 Andrea Dovizioso 87
6 Bradley Smith 77
7 Cal Crutchlow 57
8 Pol Espargaro 56
9 Maverick Vinales 52
10 Dani Pedrosa 47
11 Danilo Petrucci 44
12 Aleix Espargaro 38
13 Scott Redding 30
14 Yonny Hernandez 28
15 Hector Barbera 16
16 Loris Baz 14
17 Alvaro Bautista 11
18 Jack Miller 11
19 Stefan Bradl 9
20 Michele Pirro 8
21 Nicky Hayden 8
22 Eugene Laverty 7
23 Hiroshi Aoyama 5
24 Mike Di Meglio 2
25 Alex de Angelis 1


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