Márquez takes eighth win in wet-dry Assen thriller

Márquez takes eighth win in wet-dry Assen thriller

28 June 2014 – Marc Márquez claimed his eighth successive MotoGP victory in a scintillating wet/dry Dutch TT at Assen as he fought back from an error to eclipse Andrea Dovizioso by almost seven seconds.

Repsol Honda rider Márquez took the lead in the wet at the start and rebounded from a mistake under braking following a switch to slick tyres to pass Ducati's Dovizioso and extend his winning streak. 

The start of the race was delayed by 20 minutes due to the changeable weather. Riders were given two additional sighting laps before a wet race was declared by race control.

Valentino Rossi began the formation lap as the only rider on slick tyres but realised his gamble would not pay off and dived into the pits for wet rubber, forcing him to start from the back of the field.

Márquez claimed the lead from pole man Aleix Espargaró at the start but had to fend off Dovizioso across the opening lap as the Italian momentarily moved to the front. Espargaró initially slipped to fifth but clawed his way back up to third, ahead of Dani Pedrosa.

Márquez and Dovizioso pulled away from Espargaró before conditions dried sufficiently for all of the riders to dive into the pits and switch to slick tyres. But there was drama for Márquez as he lost the front end of the bike on his out lap and ran wide, handing the lead of the race to Dovizioso by almost four seconds.

Pedrosa battled with Espargaró, while Álvaro Bautista moved into fifth ahead of Broc Parkes, who profited from switching to slick tyres before most of his rivals. Espargaró slipped up the inside of Pedrosa at the chicane, before rain started falling lightly with 14 laps of the race remaining, prompting teams to ready wet tyre shod bikes in case riders needed to pit again.

Márquez ate into the lead of Dovizioso while Pedrosa and Espargaró continued their duel several seconds further back. Meanwhile, Tech 3 sibling Pol Espargaró slid out of proceedings after losing control of his bike at the first corner.

Márquez harried Dovizioso before taking the lead of the race into the final corner with 10 laps left to run, while Rossi gradually rose from his lowly position to battle with rivals inside the top 10. The Italian made his way to the back of a gaggle of riders, which included Andrea Iannone, Bautista, Bradley Smith, Stefan Bradl and Parkes. Rossi picked off his rivals one-by-one to move up into fifth place, but was by now some 12 seconds behind the squabbling Pedrosa and Espargaró.

Dovizioso hung on to the back of Márquez for a couple of laps but the reigning World Champion ultimately upped the pace and pulled away. Behind him, Pedrosa got the better of Espargaró and cemented third place as the rain held off, suiting the factory Honda riders more than their rivals.

Márquez maintained his lead to cross the line first for the eighth time in a row, extending his advantage in the championship standings to 72 points. Dovizioso claimed a morale-boosting second place after a strong ride, while Pedrosa finished on the bottom step of the podium.

Espargaró was fourth, while Rossi's recovery from the pit lane netted him fifth, ahead of Iannone.

Bautista slipped back to seventh and narrowly held off a charging Smith, while Cal Crutchlow was a factor during the early stages in the wet before coming home ninth, ahead of Bradl. The German rider coped well having earlier crashed on his way to the grid.

Parkes finished a superb 11th for Paul Bird Motorsport, while it was a disappointing day for Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, who trailed home in 13th after staying out too long on wet tyres and struggling with his second bike.

The next round of the season takes place at Sachsenring in Germany from July 11-13

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