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Kyle Smith has clinched a phenomenal victory in tricky conditions at Assen after a sudden downpour forced a wet race restart which saw the British rider battle for the win against Gino Rea and Kenan Sofuoglu.

After PJ Jacobsen had been scrapping for the lead with Sofuoglu as the rain fell the riders were forced into the pits for a six-lap sprint in the wet and the conditions worked perfectly for Smith on the CIA Landlords Insurance Honda to give him an emotional victory ahead of fellow Brit Rea, with Sofuoglu playing safe in third to concentrate on the championship.

The title leader Krummenacher was bashed out of the fight for the lead midway through the wet sprint but recovered from a gravel trap excursion to take fourth as Alex Baldolini completed the top five.

Honda Racing's PJ Jacobsen will leave his team's home race heartbroken having crashed out from the lead in both the initial race and the wet restart which means he has lost more ground to the title contenders after his first-lap crash last time out in Aragon.

His off promoted Ilya Mikhalchik into sixth in front of Ayrton Badovini, Axel Bassani and Ondrej Jezek as Christian Gamarino rounded out the top ten.

Having fought for a rostrum in the dry, Luke Stapleford struggled in the wet to finish 12th behind Federico Caricasulo, as Nicolas Terol, Kyle Ryde and Cedric Tangre claimed the final points places.

At lights out in the bright and sunny conditions defending champion Sofuoglu grabbed the holeshot from third off the grid with fantastic drive off the line with Jacobsen following him into second which pushed Stapleford into third and pole-sitter Krummenacher in fourth.

After sizing the Turkish rider up for a couple of laps Jacobsen barged the Ten Kate-prepared Honda into the lead on lap four which also invited Stapleford to attack Sofuoglu.

The leaders held position into lap eight but then the weather made its dramatic turn with a sudden rain shower and despite the red flags being quickly waved it was too late for Jacobsen and Stapleford who both went down at the same corner in the wet conditions. Ondrej Jezek was another faller as the rain intensified with the rest of the grid tiptoeing into the pits in preparation for a wet restart.

The wet restart signalled a six-lap sprint with all riders allowed to return having crashed under the red flag.

Despite the contrasting conditions the restart saw the same result with Sofuoglu taking the lead into turn one with Krummenacher for company. The Swiss rider, who had been trailing in fourth before the rain came, stormed to the front with Britain's Rea slicing through the field into third.

As the front pack gained confidence with the limits of grip the Kawasaki duo began vying for the lead, with the pair going wide into the final chicane which pushed Krummenacher off track to skate over the gravel.

The bar-bashing invited Jacobsen, Smith and Rea into the battle for the lead for a thrilling finale. However, the American rider suffered his second fall of the race slipping off while pushing for the lead.

In the final lap it was a battle of the bravest which saw Smith claimed the chequered flag in the slippery conditions ahead of Rea and Sofuoglu.

 

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