MotoGP: Valentino Rossi breaks year-long drought with stunning Assen win

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Valentino Rossi has launched himself right back into 2017 MotoGP title contention with a stunning victory at the Dutch TT in Assen, holding off a sustained challenge from fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci in wet conditions as teammate and championship leader Maverick Viñales crashed out of the race.

Rossi and Petrucci were able to make an early break in the race with Honda rival Marc Marquez behind pole position man Johann Zarco, but with Viñales hunting them down from a poor qualifying Rossi made his move and tried to make a break at the front – until disaster struck Viñales and he went down at the final chicane.

However, there was more drama still to come as rain started to fall on the Assen circuit, and with Zarco electing to pit for wet tyres (in what turned out to be a bad move), Rossi and Petrucci’s battle to the line went down together, with the veteran winning by just 0.063.

Behind them, Marquez was caught first by double race winner Andrea Dovizioso and then by Brit Cal Crutchlow, but was able to hold off the pair of them for third, with Crutchlow getting ahead of Dovi for fourth.

Jack Miller, Karel Abraham and Loris Baz had an impressive ride for the satellite machines behind them to fill out the top eight, with Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaró rounding out the top ten.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer