Finally "Victory" Back To The Winner at Assen TT

Valentino Rossi has third victory of the year from the hard-fought in Assen today, from 11th on the grid to beat Casey Stoner by 1.9 seconds. And Assen's victory sees Rossi reducing the point’s gap to 21 behind his rival (Stoner).

Stoner had a better start than pole-sitter Chris Vermeulen, with the Ducati reaching the first turn ahead of the Suzuki. In the other Rizla Suzuki, John Hopkins went into third place from his fifth spot on the grid, and quickly overtook his teammate for second. The best start was Nicky Hayden's, who was 13th on the grid. The reigning champion made an amazing move on the outside to go into fifth place at the first corner. In the space of three laps, the Repsol Honda rider was in third place. That's when Rossi started to make up ground on the riders ahead of him. On lap 4 he overtook Marlboro Ducati's Loris Capirossi and Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards; on lap 5 he passed Vermeulen for fifth; and on lap 7 and 8 he overtook the Hondas of Dani Pedrosa and Hayden for third place.

In the space of three laps - in which he set a string of consecutive fastest laps - he reached and passed Hopkins, who previously had a 2.6-second advantage over him. On the same lap 12, Randy de Puniet tried to overtake Chris Vermeulen for seventh position, but the Australian resisted on the outside and the two made contact. The Frenchman slipped off his Kawasaki and both ended up in the gravel trap, but Vermeulen managed to carry on in 16th position while de Puniet retired on the spot. Within two laps Rossi caught up to Stoner and began making several attempts to pass him. After eight laps behind the championship leader, the seven-time world champion managed to take the lead at the entry of the last chicane.

In the four laps Rossi opened up a gap his victory, ultimately finishing almost two seconds ahead of Stoner. Third place went to Hayden, who took his first podium of the season. His teammate Pedrosa took fourth place, ahead of Hopkins in fifth and Edwards in sixth. Alex Barros on the d'Antin Ducati finished in seventh, with teammate Alex Hofmann in eighth, Kawasaki's Anthony West in ninth and Gresini Honda's Marco Melandri rounding up the top ten. Capirossi had another lacklustre race, which ended when he came in the pits and retired towards the end.

Valentino Rossi

"It was a great race," said Rossi. "Today all worked very well. For sure, starting from 11th position, I was quite worried but I know that with these conditions we are fast. Today we improved the setting and my Yamaha worked very well. "At the beginning I didn't know what to expect from the race: I just tried to make a recovery to the top, but I saw my bike was very fast and I remembered to catch Casey who was already in front”. "I had some advantage, so lap by lap I caught up and when I arrived behind him I was very tired and my tyres were sliding because I had to push a lot”. "Casey was very fast. When I arrived behind him he went even faster but in the end I tried and in the last three laps I was very fast and was able to win”. "It's an important victory and I have to thank Michelin because the tyres worked well to the end, and all my guys and Yamaha." The Italian also sent his best wishes to rival Toni Elias, who broke his leg in Friday's practice session. "I want to say good luck to Toni Elias because he is a hard rival but he has a bad injury so I hope to see him back on the circuit very soon," said Rossi.

Casey Stoner

I just don't think we could have gone a lot better with the bike, the tyres and the set-up we had," Stoner told Eurosport. "We did the best job we could and I think Valentino just had a lot more pace. I tried to stay with him for the last couple of laps and the mid-turn speed he had on me was just phenomenal, so I'm really happy with this result. "I saw him catching me and catching me. I was just trying to keep things constant and stay smooth, and when he got there I started to feel a little bit better grips so I tried to go a little bit harder, but that was as much as I could do on the bike today. "We've really got to be happy with what we've done because I think Valentino, with the way he caught us, had a lot more pace, so to come out with a result like this today is really good." Stoner believes the strong wind at Assen was a factor in his defeat. "Unfortunately it was really windy today and with the Ducati's big fairings I was sort of getting blown wide on a lot of corners and I was losing the front," he told the BBC. "I started to feel the front getting too much tyre wear on it, so I was trying to sit back on the rear a little bit and try to use the rear tyre, but we were still sliding around with that, so I don't think I could've gone a lot quicker, especially at the end of the race."

Watch Highlights Speedy Rossi takes Dutch victory (from BBC)

Dutch Grand Prix result:

Pos Rider Make Time

1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 42:37.149

2. Casey Stoner Ducati + 1.909

3. Nicky Hayden Honda + 6.077

4. Daniel Pedrosa Honda + 10.465

5. John Hopkins Suzuki + 13.138

6. Colin Edwards Yamaha + 15.139

7. Alex Barros Ducati + 36.075

8. Alex Hofmann Ducati + 41.768

9. Anthony West Kawasaki + 43.605

10. Marco Melandri Honda + 43.796

11. Carlos Checa Honda + 43.826

12. Shinya Nakano Honda + 47.896

13. Makoto Tamada Yamaha + 54.068

14. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha + 57.718

15. Kurtis Roberts KR +1:28.637

16. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki +1:34.808

Not classified:

Rider Make Laps

Loris Capirossi Ducati 17

Randy de Puniet Kawasaki 11

Fastest lap: Rossi, 1:37.433 on lap 13

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