Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez opted for a surprise soft rear tyre in Sunday’s Dutch MotoGP at Assen, which proved a shrewd choice as he clinched victory in a pulsating race.

The reigning champion normally selects a harder compound rear but in contrast to many of his main rivals on Sunday, the reigning champion went in the opposite direction.

Marquez explained: “It was strange because normally in the last races we go to the hard and everybody with the soft, and today it is opposite: many people with the hard and we were with the soft.

“This time if you check a little bit the tyre allocation the softer in some points were harder than the hard – yes, it is like this and it is something that is sometimes difficult to understand, but the softer in some areas was harder than the hard tyre and for that reason I chose the soft because I feel better in some corners.

“Then even with the hard I was able to be fast but I feel more drop.”

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Runner-up Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales, who completed the top three, both chose the harder Michelin rear.

Suzuki rider Rins said: “In my case, with the hard one I was feeling much better. Yesterday on the qualifying I was trying to be strong on the first laps, to see if it was getting hot fast.

“It’s strange that many riders were riding with the soft and many riders were with the hard one, but I was feeling a little bit easier to control the grip, control the spin with the hard and we chose the hard one.”

For Vinales, his decision to run the hard rear was all about ‘feeling’.

“It’s about feeling because the tyres are great right now with Michelin, especially on the rear because the rear has really good grip and is consistent,” he said.

“It’s all about feeling and if you prefer to have a little bit more turning or more stability, so both tyres worked really well and I tried also the hard in FP2 and it was great, so it’s just about feeling and nothing more.”

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