Valentino Rossi extended his lead at the top of the MotoGP championship standings on Saturday after edging out Marc Marquez to win the Dutch TT at Assen.
After scoring his first pole position of the season on Friday in the Netherlands, Rossi retained the lead at the start ahead of Marquez.
The Spaniard had managed to slip into second place ahead of Aleix Espargaro, and remained within one second of Rossi for much of the race.
Marquez moved into the lead of the race on lap 19 when Rossi made an error at the final chicane, but the nine-time world champion managed to get back in front with three laps remaining.
The battle went down to the final lap, and when Marquez made a late lunge on Rossi in the final sector, the two clashed, sending the Italian across the gravel trap.
Rossi remained upright, though, and was able to cross the line to win the race by 1.2 seconds from Marquez, who had kept on track and taken a wide line at the chicane.
“I arrived in the last chicane on the limit, I entered and saw Marc’s bike try but it was too late,” Rossi said after the race.
“We touched so I had to cut the corner and I was lucky to control the bike on the gravel, it’s hard to know how deep the gravel is. I think it was a great battle as the last time we fought he won.”
Marquez admitted after the race that he did not think Rossi would cut the corner as he did, but was still pleased to have returned to the podium after a four-race absence.
“I was quiet and calm during the race and studied Rossi a lot, learning when I could overtake him and attack,” Marquez said. “I made a mistake with three laps to go, but I made it back.
“The whole race I focused on studying the last chicane perfectly, I knew where to put the bike to limit his space but I didn’t think he’d cut the corner.
“In the end I feel we won the race, but five points don’t really matter for me.”
The next MotoGP race takes place in two weeks’ time at the Saschenring in Germany.