/ Motorsport

Valentino Rossi takes chequered flag at Assen

Updated: Sunday, 30 Jun 2013 16:54 | Comments

Valentino Rossi: 'It is a great feeling to be back in first position. It's been a long time since Sepang 2010'
Valentino Rossi: 'It is a great feeling to be back in first position. It's been a long time since Sepang 2010'

Valentino Rossi brought an end to a three-year winless streak by taking the chequered flag for Yamaha in today's Dutch TT at Assen.

The seven-time MotoGP champion came through from fourth on the grid to claim his 80th premier-class win, and first since the Malaysian Grand Prix in October 2010.

Pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow had to be content with third place on the Tech 3 Yamaha, while Marc Marquez came home in second place for Repsol Honda.

Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was hugely impressive as he took fifth place despite suffering a broken collarbone that required surgery yesterday.

"I didn't know if I could win again. It was a tough period but I never gave up" - Valentino Rossi

But the day belonged to Rossi, who returned to winning ways in his first season back with Yamaha after two barren campaigns with Ducati.

"I'm happy and I cannot believe it," the 34-year-old Italian told reporters.

"It is a great feeling to be back in first position. It's been a long time since Sepang 2010.

"I didn't know if I could win again. It was a tough period but I never gave up."

He added: "Thanks to Yamaha for giving me another chance. It took time to find the right balance with the bike, but I knew I had a great chance today."

Rossi made a good start from the second row and passed the Honda of championship leader Dani Pedrosa on lap five before going on to control the race from the front.

He came home two second clear of Marquez, who himself had to work hard to fend off the attentions of Crutchlow, who yesterday became the first Briton to claim pole in MotoGP for 11 years.

"It was too little, too late again," said Crutchlow, who was lucky not to crash in the closing stages after brushing Marquez's rear wheel.

"I am pleased for Valentino Rossi. I wish it was me but my time will come."

Pedrosa was strangely off colour, and after leading early on found himself a frustrated fourth at the flag due to front-end grip problems.

He finished just ahead of title rival Lorenzo, who only got the green light to race this morning after undergoing an operation in Barcelona to set the broken left collarbone he sustained in 120mph practice accident on Thursday.

Lorenzo's decision to ride may have been as painful as it was gutsy, but in the event it proved a masterstroke.

The Spaniard dropped just two points in the title race to Pedrosa, who with 136 points now leads by nine.

Stefan Bradl, who qualified in a career-best second place, came home in sixth for LCR Honda, while Alvaro Bautista was seventh and Aleix Espargaro eighth.

Crutchlow's team-mate and compatriot Bradley Smith was ninth, ahead of Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.

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