Dutch MotoGP: Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden are back in Assen spectacle
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden let the MotoGP world know they are back with stunning performances at the Dutch MotoGP.
The pair started from 11th and 13th respectively but fought hard for Valentino Rossi to take a last gasp win from Casey Stoner, who had led until four laps from the end. Nicky Hayden celebrated his return of form with a third place and the grin on his face said it all.
Current champion Nicky Hayden started from 13th on the grid but came through the field with a blistering start to get up to sixth before the end of lap one.
The Repsol Honda rider's problems have been well publicised but now his RC212V seems to be gaining some form after modifications.
Nicky Hayden was chasing Marco Melandri for sixth and once past him, the American was on a mission passing Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen and taking teammate Dani Pedrosa with him for third.
But also determined to weave through the field was Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. He was the fastest man on the track lap after lap, gliding through the field to get to the front.
He took third from Nicky Hayden on lap nine before also grinding down Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins for second with his next target in the form of Casey Stoner.
But Nicky Hayden held on and clawed in John Hopkins by lap 13 for his first podium of the season.
Valentino Rossi pulled Casey Stoner to within 0.008 and made a few attempts to pass before eventually getting through on lap 22 to take the lead and then immediately build a 1.27sec gap on the way to victory.
After the race Valentino Rossi wished Toni Elias a speedy recovery form his broken femur he sustained in Thursday's practice.
He added: "It was a good race. Starting from 11th I was quite worried but I know in this condition we are quiet fast.
"I have some advantage in my lap so when I arrived behind him (Casey Stoner) my tyre was sliding but in the last three laps I was very fast and managed to win."
Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) were the retirements of the race with Capirossi retiring to the pits on lap 17 while de Puniet crashed out in an incident involving Chris Vermeulen on lap 11. Chris Vermeulen managed to get back out of the gravel trap and get back on the circuit.
1 25 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 42'37.149
2 20 27 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 42'39.058
3 16 1 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 42'43.226
4 13 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 42'47.614
5 11 21 John HOPKINS USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 42'50.287
6 10 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 42'52.288
7 9 4 Alex BARROS BRA Pramac d'Antin DUCATI 43'13.224
8 8 66 Alex HOFMANN GER Pramac d'Antin DUCATI 43'18.917
9 7 13 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 43'20.754
10 6 33 Marco MELANDRI ITA Honda Gresini HONDA 43'20.945
11 5 7 Carlos CHECA SPA Honda LCR HONDA 43'20.975
12 4 56 Shinya NAKANO JPN Konica Minolta Honda HONDA 43'25.045
13 3 6 Makoto TAMADA JPN Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 43'31.217
14 2 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 43'34.867
15 1 80 Kurtis ROBERTS USA Team Roberts KR212V 44'05.786
65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 9 laps
14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 15 laps