Marc Marquez claimed his fourth victory of the MotoGP season in an epic Dutch TT at Assen, breaking away from a frenetic six-way scrap at the head of the field in the closing stages.
Honda rider Marquez’s winning margin of 2.269 seconds did not do justice to how close the race was for almost all of its 26-lap distance, with the reigning champion only taking the lead with four laps to go.
Leading the opening half of the race was Jorge Lorenzo, who made a sensational getaway from 10th on the grid to exit the Strubben in second behind poleman Marquez and then pass him later on the opening tour, helped by his unorthodox soft front tyre selection.
Lorenzo held the lead while Marquez became embroiled in battle with Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Alex Rins and later Maverick Vinales for second place, although the Spaniard was never able to extend his gap at the head of the field by more than a few tenths.
At one stage Lorenzo was rear-ended by Rossi approaching the final chicane, an incident that both riders somehow survived without losing places.
Rins briefly grabbed second after muscling Marquez wide on the 12th lap exiting the Strubben, a move he was investigated but not penalised for, with Marquez repaying the favour two laps later.
Moments prior, Dovizioso moved up to second and then passed Ducati teammate Lorenzo to lead on lap 15, the Italian holding the advantage until a resurgent Vinales passed him on lap 19.
Immediately, Vinales suffered a moment which brought Marquez and Dovizioso on to his tail, before Marquez grabbed the lead for the first time since the opening stages on lap 20.
The following lap, Marquez and Vinales both ran wide at Turn 9 debating the top spot and allowed Dovizioso and Rossi into the top two places, with Rossi momentarily leading after passing Dovizioso into the last chicane.
Rossi’s spell at the front of the field was short-lived, however, and by the time the field came through the Strubben on lap 22, Marquez was back ahead and into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish until the finish.
Behind, a titanic scrap for second was ultimately won by Suzuki man Rins, who managed to overcome Vinales on the final lap to secure his best-ever MotoGP finish by just 0.039s.
Dovizioso dropped to fourth on the penultimate lap and fell just a tenth short of making it back on to the podium, while Rossi was ruled out of victory contention when he ran wide at Turn 1 on the same lap – dropping to sixth but managing to get back past Cal Crutchlow for fifth place.
Lorenzo faded to seventh place in the closing stages, losing contact with the leading group, and was followed home by Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Alvaro Bautista (Nieto Ducati).
The second Suzuki of Andrea Iannone was never a factor and finished 10th on the road, which became 11th behind the Pramac Ducati of Jack Miller after a two-second penalty for corner-cutting was applied.
Completing the scorers were Pol Espargaro (KTM), Aprilia pair Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding and the second works Honda of Dani Pedrosa.
Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) was the sole crasher, although satellite Ducati men Karel Abraham and Xavier Simeon also both failed to go the distance.