As the series headed to the Dutch GP, the immediate favorite was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi. The 37-year-old Italian had nine wins across all classes at Assen, and was looking to redeem himself from eighth two weeks at the Catalunya.Rossi did just this; he redeemed himself in a dominating fashion at 2017 Assen MotoGP, claiming his 115th win across all classes after a dramatic 26-lap Grand Prix.Starting from fourth on the grid, Rossi would take the lead on lap 12, and claim victory after fending off challenges by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, and Ducati Team’s Andrea DoviziosoWhen the race was complete, Rossi earned the win by a mere 0.063 of a second ahead of Petrucci. Marquez claimed the final podium position, 5.201 seconds behind, just beating LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow by 0.042 of a second.Besides Rossi’s win—his first of 2017 MotoGP—the other big news was Rossi’s teammate Maverick Vinales crashing out while battling for fifth. Vinales lost the points lead to Dovizioso, who finished fifth at 2017 Assen MotoGP.“I’m so happy, and for different reasons, because it’s a very important victory for the championship, but especially the feeling of coming back to the number one spot after one year is fantastic,” Valentino Rossi says.“Sincerely, I race with motorcycles for this feeling: for what I feel in the five or six final laps of the race. That’s always great and especially after a year without a victory. It was a great race and a great battle with Petrucci and everybody else. I’m also happy from a technical point of view, because we worked a lot on the bike and we changed the chassis and now I feel like I can ride the bike more in my own manner, in a better way. Everything is open and this year we discovered that, from one track to the other, the situation can change a lot. We have to wait for next week and try to be competitive also at the Sachsenring.”When the race began, Zarco got to turn one first from his first premier-class pole position. The Frenchman was followed by Marquez and Rossi, who qualified fourth. Petrucci was shuffled back to fourth from his third-place start after being passed by the “Doctor.”As these four began a race of their own out front, a battle for fifth began between Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Dovizioso, Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati), Vinales, Crutchlow and Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).Rossi stalked Zarco closely, waiting for a mistake. Rossi made his pass with 14 laps to go. On the next lap, Rossi ran wide at turn four, and Zarco bumped into him, nearly sending them both crashing. Both riders remained on their prospective YZR-M1 prototypes, but Zarco was shuffled back to third behind Marquez and leader Rossi, and eventually slotted into fourth after Petrucci passed him.Around this same time, Vinales crashed out at turn 17 while in fifth place and battling with Dovizioso. The crash – his second of the season – immediately ended the Spaniard’s position as points leader.Rain began falling, and the white flag came out. The rain bikes were ready, but only a few pitted, including Zarco; this was ultimately a bad decision considering Zarco finished the race dead last.Out front, Rossi was able to hold off Marquez, Petrucci and Dovizioso to claim the win. Petrucci would claim second, achieving his second podium of the season including third at Mugello.Three-time MotoGP Champion Marquez held of Crutchlow for the final podium, and Dovizioso claimed fifth. The top five riders were within 5 seconds of each other; the next closest finisher was Miller, who finished 23.390 seconds behind Rossi.Rounding out the top 10 were Pull&Bear Aspar Team’s Karel Abraham, Reale Avintia Racing Ducati’s Loris Baz, Iannone and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro.Besides Vinales, five other riders suffered DNFs: Redding; Bautista; Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing); Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3); and Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).With his fifth-place finish, Dovizioso now has the MotoGP points lead with 115, four ahead of Vinales, seven ahead of Rossi, and 11 ahead of Marquez.The 2017 MotoGP series now heads directly to Sachsenring in Germany for round 9 of 18 ahead of the month-long summer break.
2017 Assen MotoGP Results:
2017 MotoGP Point Standings (after 8 of 18 rounds):