ASSEN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi won MotoGP’s Dutch TT race from pole position on Saturday after a thrilling duel with world champion Marc Marquez in which the pair clashed at the final corner.
Rossi extended his championship lead to 10 points, with closest rival and team mate Jorge Lorenzo finishing in third place after qualifying eighth for Yamaha’s fifth double podium of the season.
The Italian great, who celebrated the 111th victory of his career and third win of the season, had led until seven laps from the end, when Marquez squeezed past at the first corner.
But Rossi kept on the Honda’s tail and retook the lead with three laps to go.
Marquez then made another move, with the two bikes making light contact at the final corner and Rossi skimming across the gravel with a front wheel in the air before cutting the corner and rejoining the track to take the chequered flag.
Rossi has 163 points to Lorenzo’s 153.
While Rossi celebrated, rolling on the grass in front of his cheering fans, Marquez was unhappy about the Italian winning after cutting the corner.
”I feel that we won the race,“ the angry Spaniard told reporters. ”I don’t think anybody wanted the contact, but I think what I did was the perfect last chicane.
“What I know is I did (it) the correct way because I didn’t go outside the track.”
Rossi maintained he had been in front, however, and had been left no choice.
“I wanted to make the chicane and I was on the line. Unfortunately his touch put me on the outside and I didn’t have a chance to stay on the line,” he said.
“When I went into the gravel my first reaction was to open the throttle because I didn’t know if it was deep. I was lucky to control the bike.”
The two riders were called to race direction afterwards to review video footage, with stewards deciding it was a racing incident. No appeal was lodged.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond