Jorge Lorenzo has equalled his four MotoGP race wins from last season after just six rounds of 2010, after the title leader turned early pressure into another confident victory at Assen on Saturday.
Fastest in every track session leading up to the race, the Fiat Yamaha rider was over one-second clear at the end of the opening lap, and looked set to disappear into the distance once again.
However, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa - who looked to make a significant step forward in morning warm-up - broke through from seventh on the grid to take second place from Ben Spies by the end of lap 3 of 26.
Pedrosa was then quickly able to reel-in the #99, and the fight for victory became three-way when Ducati's Casey Stoner arrived on Pedrosa's rear wheel just a few laps later.
However Lorenzo kept his cool and Pedrosa (running, like Stoner, the softer rear tyre option) seemed to lose momentum just after the halfway stage, allowing Lorenzo to pull away again.
Stoner, who at one point had been just 0.6sec from Lorenzo, worked hard to try and get around Pedrosa's RCV and prevent Lorenzo escaping.
But the Australian began to lose pace with seven laps remaining - later explaining he had suffered arm pump - and the podium positions were effectively decided.
Lorenzo officially took victory by 2.935sec from Pedrosa, with Stoner four-seconds further back to finally claim Ducati's first podium of the 2010 season. Lorenzo is now 47 points clear of Pedrosa in the championship.
After losing second to Pedrosa, rookie Spies had dropped back to fifth in the space of one lap, before regrouping and re-passing Andrea Dovizioso for fourth place, into the final chicane, on lap 16.