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Dutch MotoGP: Imperious Valentino Rossi dominates at Assen

Valentino Rossi returns to the top step in MotoGP for the first time since 2010 to earn his 80th premier class victory at Assen
Valentino Rossi was back to his imperious best as the Factory Yamaha rider dominated the Dutch MotoGP at Assen to earn a landmark 80th victory in the premier class – his first since 2010.

Rossi, who started from fourth on the grid, seized the lead from Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa on lap 6 of 26, at the final chicane.

The Italian then produced a commanding performance reminiscent of the Rossi of old, dictating matters at the front to eventually win by two seconds from Marc Marquez.

"I'm happy and I cannot believe it!" beamed the 34-year-old. "It is a great feeling to be back in first position. It's been a long time since Sepang 2010. I didn't know if I could win again. It was a tough period but I never gave up. This is my passion and I love to race motorcycles."

Rossi, a seven time MotoGP champion, returned to Yamaha this season after two winless years at Ducati.

"Thanks to Yamaha for giving me another chance. It took time to find the right balance with the bike, but I knew I had a great chance today. Also with Lorenzo injured. I fought with everybody - Marc, Pedrosa and Cal - today, but I was always a little faster in some places.

"I want to thank everyone who has helped me and now we have to continue at this level."

Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, who was the first British rider to start a Grand Prix race from pole position since Jeremy McWilliams in 2002, made it onto the podium in third place after challenging Marquez for the runner-up spot.

Crutchlow was putting the series rookie under intense pressure but almost ran into the rear of Marquez at the end of the start/finish straight at the beginning of the final lap, thwarting his chances.

Pedrosa had been second for much of the race before dropping back into the clutches of Marquez and Crutchlow, crossing the line in fourth place ahead of the brave Lorenzo, who battled through the pain barrier to take fifth after breaking his left collarbone in a crash during practice.

Despite Lorenzo's injury woe, Pedrosa only increased his lead at the top of the MotoGP World Championship by a further two points over his title rival and now holds a nine-point advantage.

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