With five laps to go the 500cc Dutch GP was shaping up for yet another thrilling battle between Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi, but then 'out of the blue' the red flags came out, giving Biaggi his second win of the season with 75% of the race distance completed.
By the time the 500cc front row, of Capirossi, Biaggi, Rossi and Barros, lined up on the Assen grid the track was almost completely dry, following the earlier wet 125 race and the wet-dry 250cc Grand Prix.
This meant that thankfully the premier MotoGP class would be running at full speed for the final GP at the hallowed 6km circuit, before modifications take place at the end of this year.
When the red lights went out it was Max Biaggi who launched into the lead initially – before being out-braked by Barros into the first corner, with Abe third, Capirossi fourth and Roberts fourth. Meanwhile Rossi had made yet another horrendous start and slipped from third on the grid to seventh behind Carlos Checa.
By the end of the first start Capirossi was up to third ahead of Abe, while Rossi was hot on the heels of the Japanese rider having overtaken both Checa and Roberts In the space of half a lap. The Nastro Azzuro Honda star duly made short work of Abe and set about catching Capirossi for third.
Lap three and Biaggi tried to pass Barros, but the Brazilian shut the door – while Capirossi shot past the pair of them under braking for the first corner, but ran wide and lost the lead to his teammate.
Half a lap later and both Norick Abe
and Carlos Checa crashed out at high speed after tangling, while battling for sixth. Back at the front Capirossi made another attempt to claim the lead, this time successfully, and the #65 machine led the leading pack (of five) over the line at the start of lap 5 of 20.
Not making it across the line was Alex Criville, who crashed out at the chicane before the line while in sixth, and under pressure from Shinya Nakano
(who could have clashed with the Spaniard).
Lap 6 and Capirossi ran wide allowing Barros back into the lead, the Italian rider fought back - but Barros closed the door bluntly and Capirossi would fall victim to Max Biaggi's Marlboro Yamaha a few corners later.