The Binder brothers, meanwhile, flew the South African flag high in Moto3 with a superb seventh for Brad and a fighting 19th for Darryn.
97 000 fans basking in the sunshine at the legendary TT Circuit Assen witnessed one of the most dramatic Grand Prix finales ever, with Marquez making a move on Rossi as they dived into the final chicane on the last lap, colliding with the nine-times world champion and forcing him to run straight on through the gravel.
Rossi managed to stay upright, however, and went on to take the chequered flag 1.242s ahead of Marquez, claiming his third win of the season and first from pole position since Misano in 2009.
Rossi, starting from pole for the first time since Valencia last season, led into the first corner and it didn’t take Marquez long to join him after starting from third on the grid, overtaking Aleix Espargaro on the first lap to move into second.
Marquez was happy to sit behind Rossi for most of the race, before making his move and taking the lead into Turn 1 on lap 20. Rossi bided his time, and then responded with three laps to go to retake the lead at Turn 10, then put in his fastest lap of the race in an effort to pull away, but Marquez responded on the final lap to get within striking distance once again as the duo approached the final chicane.
Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo pulled a brilliant start from eighth on the grid, finishing the first lap in third – but any hope of making it five wins in a row disappeared as Rossi and Marquez disappeared off into the distance.
Lorenzo eventually came home 14.576s back in a lonely third, four seconds ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone, who also rode most of the race on his own.
Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro got the best of a superb four-way battle for fifth with satellite Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith on the second satellite Yamaha M1A and Honda works rider Dani Pedrosa – all of whom finished within 0.4s of each other.
Pedrosa had come back bravely from a nasty crash in the morning’s warm-up session and a disastrous start that saw him down in 12th after the first lap.
The Suzuki duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales were next home in ninth and tenth respectively, ahead of Ducati privateer Danilo Petrucci, the second factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso, Honda privateer Scott Redding, Petrucci’s team-mate Yonny Hernanadez and Loris Baz (Yamaha), who won the Open Class from Honda rider Nicky Hayden.
POINTS AFTER EIGHT ROUNDS
Championship leader Johann Zarco (Kalex) came out on top of a duel with similarly-mounted rival Tito Rabat in a re-started race, after a collision on the first lap between Tech 3 rider Marcel Schrotter, Anthony West (Speed Up) and Luis Salom (Kalex) that saw Schrotter go down, with his bike on its side on the circuit, on fire and leaking oil.
Zarco got bogged down off the line in the restart, as Jonas Folger (Kalex) led into the first corner, quickly building up a lead of almost a second over Tito Rabat in second. Zarco picked his way through the field and tried to make a move on Rabat for second on lap four, but the two banged fairings and Zarco ran wide.
Rabat reeled in Folger and took the lead on lap eight, with Zarco relegating him to third shortly afterwards, before setting off after Rabat.
Zarco timed his move to perfection as he took the lead with three laps to go, giving Rabat a ‘nudge’ in the process, and went on to win his third race of the season by 0.757s. Rabat had no answer to Zarco’s pace, and had to settle for second, with Speed Up rider Sam Lowes third after an excellent ride for his third podium of the season.
The next seven riders were all on Kalex machines, with Alex Rins fourth ahead of Thomas Luthi, Xavier Simeon, Folger, who faded after his excellent start to finish seventh, Mika Kallio, rookie Alex Marquez (Marc’s younger brother) equalling his career best Moto2 finish in ninth and Simone Corsi completing top 10 after his team-mate Lorenzo Baldassari crashed out of the race in an incident with Anthony West.
Works KTM rider Miguel Oliveira took his second Moto3 win by just 0.066s after a sensational race that saw the top seven riders finish in half a second after an epic contest.
The group - Oliviera, 16-year-old French rider Fabio Quartararo (Honda), championship leader Danny Kent (Honda), Jorge Navarro (Honda), Romano Fenati (KTM), 17-year-old pole-sitter Enea Bastianini (Honda) and Binder on the second factory KTM - broke away in the early stages.
The lead changed at almost every corner as the riders put move after move on each other, but it was Oliveira who timed his charge to perfection to snatch the lead just before the final chicane and hold on across the line for KTM’s third win of the season.
Karel Hanika on the third factory KTM led home the chasing pack, 21 seconds adrift, ahead of Honda riders Niccolo Antonelli and John McPhee, who completed the top 10. KTM privateer Niklas Ajo crossed the line 17th in spectacular fashion; he lost control at the final corner in the battle for eighth, came off the bike but managed to hold on, hanging completely off the side, to finish the race on his knees.
Spanish teenager Maria Herrera (Husqvarna) looked on course for her first top 10 finish before Antonelli took her out after losing control under braking while she was leading the chasing group in eighth.
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Original source: Rossi in dramatic Dutch TT showdown