Rossi wins at Assen

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Valentino Rossi waited until the final third of the last lap at Assen on Saturday to take the lead and win the Dutch GP from championship rival Gibernau, despite the Spaniard's front wheel bumping the rear tyre of his Yamaha.

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It was Carlos Checa who led the grid away, but the two title contenders moved straight past the Fortuna Yamaha rider. Rossi seemed content to follow Gibernau as Alex Barros seemed the rider on a charge in third, with Max Biaggi moving up from 12th to fifth place. The Italian Camel Honda rider even slipping on to the grass at over 110mph before returning to the Tarmac.

WCM's Michel Fabrizio walked away from a major crash on lap five, as both the Proton KR machines of Roberts and Aoki retired in the space of two laps. Shane Byrne retired his Aprilia from 19th on lap eight, but Neil Hodgson had made steady progress, moving up four positions to fourteenth.

As Rossi played a calm waiting game behind Gibernau, all the action unfolded. Barros moved into second only for the back end of his Honda RC211V to come round on him with what looked liked a mechanical fault. Then Marco Melandri kept his third place despite riding straight across the gravel of the final chicance. And Nicky Hayden and Ruben Xaus battled hard for fifth place, while Hodgson moved up to 11th.

In the final laps Biaggi and Melandri swapped third place repeatedly, finally finishing with Melandri on the podium, with Biaggi fourth, Hayden fifth and Colin Edwards sixth. But it was Rossi who made the dramatic move on Gibernau, outbraking the Spaniard, holding the right line for the next corner, and benefitting when Gibernau ran into the back of the Yamaha, touching tyres, rolling off the throttle and losing time.

And for British fans it was a great result for Neil Hodgson on the D'Antin Ducati, taking 10th place.

250cc: The 250cc race has just ended with a victory for Sebastian Porto, who rode a tactical race amongst the action and drama of the 250cc class. The start saw Dani Pedrosa bog his Honda down and move from second on the gird to last place. Somehow the Spaniard made it up to twelfth by the end of the first lap, while Fonsi Nieto dropped out of third place at the final chicane, managing to cross te grass on both sides of the lap.

By lap two Pedrosa was up to fifth place, and claimed fourth on the next lap. Lap seven saw the Movistar honda rider up to third, battling with Randy De Puniet, Porto and Toni Elias, with Alex De Angelis in close attendance.

But Porot seemed to have dropped back to size up his competitiors and re-took the lead on lap 11 and set about setting consectuive new lap records as he broke away fromt he pack. Pedrosa, running soft tyres front and rear couldn't quite match his speed, and had to settle for second place.

125cc: The 125cc race at Assen has finished with some of the closest, most frantic action the track has seen, with the first four touching fairings, elbows, and even running at full speed across the grass.

Lorenzo, Locatelli, Stoner and Dovizioso were all in with a chance of winning. Stoner moved from fourth to second back to fourth again ont he last lap, Lorenzo ran wide onto the grass but rejoined the battle still in front, and fairings touched on at least two occasions. In the end Lorenzo held it to the line, from Locatelli, with Stoner finding a way past Dovizioso at the final chicane.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff