Assen winner Marc Marquez’s wild celebrations at the end of an epic Dutch MotoGP race underlined the importance of Sunday’s victory to the championship leader.

Marquez was not only delighted by his hard-earned win in a scintillating premier class showdown, but the reigning champion also extended his lead in the championship to 41 points over Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who could only finish fifth.

The Spaniard opted to play a waiting game after admitting he was unable to make a break away at the front, seizing his moment seven laps from the end when he took the lead and opened a small advantage that enabled him to settle into a rhythm and run his full race pace.

He eventually edged clear and went on to win by 2.2 seconds from Ecstar Suzuki’s Alex Rins, with Maverick Vinales the top Yamaha rider in third.

“I don’t now how to describe, it was a crazy race. There was a big group and we were fighting against everybody and it was amazing,” Marquez said.

“The conditions were very difficult on the race track because the wind was pushing a lot and all the back straight and fast corners, when you were behind somebody it was easier and also difficult to open a gap.

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“Then, especially (Jorge) Lorenzo was pushing a lot – I tried to overtake him but he overtook me and then I was not able to keep the same rhythm or have the same rhythm like in the practice. Then I said, OK, we will wait but in the middle of this transition we have many moments, with (Alex) Rins, with Maverick (Vinales) with everybody,” he added.

“We were fighting against everybody and in the end I was clever, I was just waiting and when I see ‘F7’, I said now I will give everything; I will push all what I have and use all of the tyre. I was able to open a gap and then when I see ‘+0.2’, it was good because then I was able to do my lines.

“The problem is that here, when you just try to use your lines to be fast, you prepare a lot the corner and then everybody was overtaking you, but when I see a small advantage, I said now is the time to use my lines and then I was able to have the same pace in the practice.”

Marquez was very fortunate to remain in the race when he somehow stayed on his Honda after contact with Rins on the exit of Turn 5, which caused him to almost fall off the left-hand side of his bike.

Explaining the incident, he accepted the near-miss was his own fault.

“I don’t know (how he stayed on), even me, and I just see a photo and it was crazy. I remember that Rins, we have contact, and he touched me but in the end it was my mistake because I was outside and when you are outside, you need to understand who is inside, has the advantage,” Marquez said.

“I was there and I have the contact and then I nearly fell down from the bike. The left foot, the left hand and even the clutch lever was down and in the middle of the straight I was trying to adjust – it was crazy.

“Then also with Maverick, another moment in Turn 9 when we have contact and I release completely the brake because I had a contact in the right arm and I was out of the track. It was difficult to manage but in the end we were very smart, very focused and very precise.”

Marquez’s victory at Assen could prove to be a pivotal moment in the championship outcome and the four-time MotoGP intends to take full advantage.

“Of course I expect that maybe Valentino (Rossi) and Vinales would be very strong and they were strong, but we were stronger, so this is the most important in a circuit where we normally struggle a little bit,” he said.

“When I cross the finish line the adrenalin was there and then when I checked the bigger screen and see Rins was there, I was even happier because the advantage is even bigger and this is something that we need to take profit of.”

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