Casey Stoner has continued his MotoGP Assen masterclass as he took his third victory of the year.
The Australian was in control from the off having started the race from pole, and with championship leader going into this race, Valentino Rossi having crashed out and having to re-join in last place, he was out in the lead and in complete control.
Dani Pedrosa was second over 11 seconds behind while Colin Edwards came from last on the track after just missing Rossi’s crash to work his way through to a surprise third spot.
The depleted 16-man field got underway in the dry and it was Dani Pedrosa who got in to the lead in the first corner.
Valentino Rossi and Randy de Puniet both crashed out at the second corner incident. And then on the following corner Alex de Angelis crashed out while Rossi managed to re-join.
By ther end of lap one it was Casey Stoner who was out in the lead ahead of Repsol Honda pair Pedrosa and the pneumatic-valved Nicky Hayden. Britain’s James Toseland was in eighth as he made the best of the other rider’s crashes.
By the end of lap four Stoner was 2.138secs ahead of Pedrosa, who was also leaving his team-mate Hayden behind. And a lap later Stoner was already breaking the circuit record on a GP motorcycle with a 1:36.738.
Lap six saw lone Rizla Suzuki man Chris Vermeulen move ahead of Shinya Nakano to move into fifth, and just a lap later he was past the JiR Scot Honda of Andrea Doviszioso and in to fourth.
On lap seven Colin Edwards had passed Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate James Toseland to put the Brit back in to ninth. And also not having a great day was Anthony West who low-sided his Kawasaki to leave the race without a Kawasaki representative as John Hopkins was not fit enough to start after breaking his left ankle and leg in a massive crash in qualifying.
Edwards had hones down Jorge Lorenzo and at the first corner of lap 10 he passed the current 250 champion to move in to seventh. Up front, Stoner was now 3.827secs ahead of second placed Pedrosa, while Nicky Hayden was having his best ride of the season in third.
Vermeulen probably thought he’d lost Dovizioso, but the Italian gave the Rizla Suzuki man a surprise by catching and passing him to retake fourth on lap 12.
On lap 16 the positions remained status quo, but Stoner continued to build his lead up front and was now 6.808secs ahead of Pedrosa. Chris Vermeulen lost a place to Nakano on lap 17 and was now seventh and Colin Edwards was also in with a chance of catching third placed Nicky Hayden.
With seven laps to go Valentino Rossi was hot on the exhaust pipe of Ducati’s Marco Melandri and finally there was a little something for the championship leader to be thankful for as he moved up a place to 12th.
On lap 21 Vermeulen lost another place to Jorge Lorenzo, while Stoner was 9.253secs ahead of Pedrosa. And with three to go, Rossi continued to chip away and was past another Ducati, this time Toni Elias and up to 11th.
Vermeulen was once again battling with Nakano and on the penultimate lap he was back past and up to seventh.
But Stoner’s victory was sealed almost from the off and he pulled home 11.310secs ahead of second placed Pedrosa. Nicky Hayden, who looked certain for his first podium of the season was just beaten to it on the line as his Repsol Honda seemed to run out of fuel at the final corner. Colin Edwards was the benefactor, having almost come off his Yamaha YZF-M1 in the Rossi crash and having to build up again from last to get his way through the field to third.
Britain’s James Toseland had a steady ride after his dismal weekend at Donington Park to come home ninth.
Dani Pedrosa's second palce means he now moves in to the lead in the championship.
Assen MotoGP race results:
1 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 42'12.
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 42'23.647
3 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 42'29.462
4 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 42'32.814
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP HONDA 42'39.683
6 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 42'40.945
7 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 42'44.667
8 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 42'47.229
9 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 42'50.903
10 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team DUCATI 42'51.154
11 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 42'58.362
12 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team DUCATI 43'00.550
13 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 43'11.931