The VR46 rookie was squeezed by second-on-the-grid Jorge Martin as the field charged for the first corner. But Bezzecchi held firm and remained narrowly ahead, on the outside, as the pair peeled into the turn.

A tangle between the Ducatis at the apex then forced them both wide, over the kerbs and onto the asphalt run-off, at the exit. Bezzecchi was still in the lead when he re-joined the track, while Martin briefly dropped to sixth.

The Italian had built a 1.1s lead over Jack Miller when he was ordered by the FIM Stewards to drop one place for ‘exceeding track limits’ (without losing time) at turn one.

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“I made a good start, but Martin came into me twice so I had to go wide,” Bezzecchi said.

“Then they gave me this penalty. Honestly, really impossible to understand, because he [Martin] went on the green [on the exit] the same as me. He hit me on the straight, and he hit me in the corner, and they gave me the penalty.

“This for me from [the Stewards] is something... I think who gave me that penalty has never seen a MotoGP race, probably, because it's difficult to understand.

“But anyway, without this penalty, the result didn't change a lot," he admitted.

After handing the lead to Miller on lap 4, Bezzecchi began to fade down the order to an eventual 16th place.

“When the track was very wet, I was very fast and feeling good with the bike,” he explained. “But when the track was coming drier, I started to feel bad with the bike.

“I couldn't push [because] I was losing the front every time. I didn't want to crash and make a [mess] of this good weekend. But anyway, the race was not really good.”

Front tyre pressure was an issue for many riders on Sunday, but Bezzecchi felt his problems were simply due to the lack of any wet set-up time before the race.

“The pressure was a little bit high, because I had many bikes in front and I started to drop very quickly, but the pressure was OK,” he said. “Just it was my feeling that was not really good.

“In the wet it's like this, sometimes you go out and you are quick, and sometimes you jump on the bike and you look like you are on a 125!

“In the beginning, when the track was more wet, I was more fast, and then as soon as they gave me the penalty, I lost the rhythm a little bit, because I was [ahead].

“So I spent half a lap trying to wait and understand where the second place was, and I lost the rhythm, and when I started to push again, I start to feel bad and then I just dropped positions continuously.”

The Assen podium finisher is 14th in the world championship, but a 57-point lead over Gresini’s Fabio di Giannantonio means Bezzecchi is on course to officially seal the 2022 Rookie of the Year title next weekend at Phillip Island.

Martin, who was confident he had a chance of victory in the dry, went on to finish ninth.