It's been a rather happening weekend at Assen. Yesterday, Aleix Espargaro took his first-ever MotoGP pole ahead of the Repsol Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Today, Marquez went down in the morning practice session, thanks to the greasy conditions out there caused by the slightly inclement weather. Rain fell in brief spells as riders decided what tyres did they want to run for the race.
Of all riders, only Yonny Hernandez and Valentino Rossi chose to ride on slicks, but Rossi changed his mind on the warmup lap, and started the race from the pitlane.
For a rain-affected race, the start was actually pretty smooth. Marquez slotted into the lead right at the beginning, but Andrea Dovizioso was in hot pursuit. Both exchanged places on Lap 1 itself, before Marquez took the lead for good, and held it until the track had dried up, and it was time to switch bikes.
Followed into the pits by Dovi, A. Espargaro and Pedrosa, Marquez came back out and almost immediately had a massive moment which he just about managed to contain. Dovizioso was in first place by then, having eked out a gap of over four seconds. But it was only a matter of time before Marquez would hunt him down. And that's just what happened. Ten laps remained as MM93 passed the Ducati to snatch his eighth consecutive victory this season.
Dovizioso tried his best, but second place is all he could manage. Still, he'd be happy with his best result as a Ducati rider.
There was a fascinating battle for third place between Espargaro and Pedrosa, but the Repsol man came out on top at the end. Rossi, having started the race right at the back, powered through the crowd to take fifth, ahead of Andrea Iannone, Alvaro Bautista and Bradley Smith. Ducati's Crutchlow secured ninth, and Stefan Bradl took tenth to deny Aussie Broc Parkes his first-ever top-ten finish.
Before you say we forgot about Jorge Lorenzo, we'll add that he finished 13th after struggling all through the race. He'd want us to forget this one, if anything.
With this result, not only has Marquez equaled Giacomo Agostini's record of eight consecutive premier class wins, he's also extended his lead further in the world championship. Rossi and Pedrosa are tied in second with 128 points, 72 behind the world champion.
As Marquez crossed the finish line, he bent over on his bike, and motioned as if he were swimming. And it was fitting - apart from Dovizioso's inspired run and the looming rain clouds, it all went swimmingly for the young Spaniard. Is there any way at all to stop him?
1. Marc Marquez
2. Andrea Dovizioso
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Aleix Espargaro
5. Valentino Rossi
6. Andrea Iannone
7. Alvaro Bautista
8. Bradley Smith
9. Cal Crutchlow
10. Stefan Bradl