Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were fortunate to remain upright after a high-speed clash in the early stages of Sunday's thrilling Dutch MotoGP at Assen. 

Having bolted from tenth on the grid to lead the opening lap, Lorenzo had then wrestled the advantage back from Marc Marquez and would keep his Ducati up-front for the next eleven laps.

But it wasn't without incident.

While Lorenzo was unable to break away, Rossi replaced Marquez as his nearest rival.

The pair were just a few bikelenths apart when, on lap 5, Lorenzo lost the front of his Ducati after cutting across the kerb a little too heavily through the fearsome, 200km/h, Meeuwenmeer right-hander.

Lorenzo saved the slide, but the sudden loss of speed meant he was promptly rammed by Rossi.

Both riders stayed onboard their machines, which were left baring scars from the incident.

"It was a very scary moment there, but I didn't know what happened behind me," Lorenzo said. "I didn't know if someone crashed into the back, I didn't know which rider it was, whether it was Márquez or another rider, but finally it was Valentino. We've been very lucky.

"Still with Michelin, we have a little bit more grip on the edge of the rear tyre than the front. At Le Mans I lost the front, and happened again here. 

"I just went a little bit more inside and I touched the white line and the front closed.

"So to avoid the crash, I was almost crashing, but I had to reduce the speed and Valentino didn't expect this lack of speed in that corner, and he hit me in the back of the bike. 

"Very scary moment, and if it had have been a crash with all the group behind, it could have been very very dangerous. 

"But it was the front closing, so I was lucky not to crash." 

Rossi said: "We were very lucky, me and Lorenzo, because Lorenzo cut too much Turn 12, lost the front and I arrived behind with a lot more speed and I hit him. 

"But we were very lucky because I hit him perfectly [squarely in the back] so we don't crash."

Lorenzo later dropped to seventh place, ending his hopes of three wins in a row, with defending event winner Rossi finishing fifth after a braking-incident with the other factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso.