Marc Marquez prevailed in a breathless race to win a classic Dutch TT at Assen in a sensational premier class showdown that will live long in the memory.

Marquez equalled Casey Stoner’s haul of 69 MotoGP podiums as he battled his way through to a famous victory on Sunday, increasing his lead at the of the championship to 41 points.

Ecstar Suzuki’s Alex Rins edged out Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) on the final lap to seal the runner-up spot, 2.2 seconds behind Marquez, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in fourth ahead of Valentino Rossi, who remains second in the standings after the eighth round.

In a race packed with drama, Jorge Lorenzo – who won the last two rounds at Mugello and Catalunya – charged through from the fourth row to slot into second place on the first lap, passing Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) to tag onto the rear wheel of Marquez’s Honda.

Lorenzo wasted no time in making his move to hit the front, with Rossi up to third ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Crutchlow by the end of the lap.

Marquez and Lorenzo traded places at the front as a battle unfolded behind them involving Rossi, Dovizioso, Crutchlow and Rins, who began to make inroads on the Suzuki.

In a frightening moment on lap five, Rossi rammed race leader Lorenzo from behind at around 150mph after the Spaniard seemed to slow momentarily on the Ducati.

Both riders incredibly stayed upright without losing any positions, while Dovizioso was now through to third after passing Marquez.

Lorenzo had settled into a rhythm at the front and dictated the pace as his pursuers swapped positions behind him, with Marquez, Dovizioso, Rins, Rossi and Vinales involved in a dogfight.

Marquez was fortunate to avoid going out of the race when he was tagged by Rins around the half-way point of the race out of Turn 5, causing him to almost fall off the left-hand side of his Honda.

Lorenzo’s stint at the front was about to come to an end as team-mate Dovizioso went underneath him on the brakes at Turn 1 with 12 laps to go, with the two Ducatis chased by Marquez, Vinales, Rins, Rossi, Crutchlow and Johann Zarco.

The race was building to a crescendo and it remained to be seen who would have the stronger race pace in the closing stages as Dovizioso continued to hold sway with nine laps remaining, hunted by Lorenzo, Vinales, Marquez, Rossi and Rins.

Lorenzo began to drop backwards as Vinales now seized the initiative, taking the lead on his Yamaha with eight laps of the legendary circuit remaining.

However, Marquez was always lurking ominously behind and the reigning champion pounced at Turn 1 on the next lap to take up the running from Vinales, Dovizioso and Rossi.

The top four had now opened a gap to Rins in fifth but there was more heart-stopping drama when Marquez and Vinales ran wide off the track after they touched as they disputed the lead at Turn 9 with six laps left, allowing Dovizioso and Rossi through.

Rossi, whose last win came at Assen in 2017, then took the lead into the chicane but Dovizioso used the power of the Ducati to drive past on the start/finish straight.

Marquez, though, had now regrouped and after diving past Rossi, the Honda rider picked off Dovizioso to snatch first place and was never headed again.

The title leader upped the ante with clear track ahead of him and began to open a slight advantage over Dovizioso, Rossi, Vinales and Rins.

Rossi launched one final attack as he swooped for second place at the chicane, passing Dovizioso. However, the Ducati rider hit back into the first turn and refused to back off as he held the inside line, forcing The Doctor out wide as his hopes of the rostrum disappeared, with the Italian now languishing in fifth.

Vinales and Rins both passed Dovizioso, but Marquez now had a 1.4s gap going onto the final lap and the real battle was for the final podium places behind him.

In one final twist, Rins went underneath Vinales and the unhappy Yamaha rider drifted wide, conceding second place to his Suzuki rival.

Dovizioso held on for fourth ahead of Rossi, with Crutchlow completing the top six.

Lorenzo was seventh at the end, followed by Zarco on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Ducati) and Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati), who claimed 10th place from Andrea Iannone (Ecstar Suzuki) after the Italian received a time penalty for cutting the track.

Danilo Petrucci, who qualified in 11th, was a faller on the Pramac Ducati.

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