Assen MotoGP: Bradley Smith fourth in Holland

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Bradley Smith had to settle for a lonely fourth place in today’s sun-drenched Assen 125GP.

The British rider made a solid start in his bid to add to his first podium of the season at Silverstone last week when he slotted into second place behind Marc Marquez on the opening lap.

But unable to match the blistering pace set by Marquez and fellow Spaniard Nicolas Terol, Smith quickly dropped back to fifth on lap three.

The Aspar Aprilia rider was promoted back into fourth place on lap four when Efren Vazquez suffered a nasty high-side but the 19-year-old was unable to chase down Pol Espargaro to claim his second rostrum finish of the season.

Marquez continued his stunning form to claim a third successive victory to bring him firmly back into title contention.

He got the holeshot from Smith and never got overtaken despite coming under constant pressure from Terol.

The pair were untouchable at the front and only two of the 22-laps had been completed when they held a commanding lead of over two seconds.

Marquez eventually won by a comfortable 2.332s after the intervention of a backmarker at a decisive stage of the race.

Marquez had just posted his best lap of the race on lap 16 to stretch his advantage to 0.544s. But any hopes Terol had of responding were killed off when he tangled with Dutch wild card Jerry van de Bunt on the 17th lap.

Terol lost 1.4s and Marquez was left to cruise to a win that makes him the second youngest rider in history to win three races on the trot.

Crucially for Marquez he is now piling the pressure on Terol and Espargaro in the title hunt.

He’s now only 11-points behind Terol, who regained the series lead with his fifth podium in the opening six races. And Marquez’s win extended Spain’s incredible success in the 125GP class.

The last time a non-Spanish rider won a 125GP race was back in Catalunya over a year ago when Italian Andrea Iannone triumphed – a run stretching 16 races.

Terol leads the standings by three-points with Espargaro unable to match the pace at the front. He finished in a distant third and close to six seconds off second place.

Danny Webb was denied his first top six finish in over two years when he lost a titanic battle with former team-mate Randy Krummencher on the penultimate lap.

Sixth for the majority of the race, Webb was unable to hold off Krummenacher and he finished in seventh, 0.306s behind the Swiss rider.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt