Miller scores shock maiden MotoGP victory at Assen

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Jack Miller picked up his maiden MotoGP victory in Sunday’s thrilling Dutch TT race at Assen.

Rain in the lead-up to the start of the race in the Netherlands resulted in the track being declared wet, equalizing the difference between the factory and satellite bikes.

The track dried early on, allowing Yonny Hernandez shot into a shock lead in the early stages of the race as pole-sitter Andrea Dovizioso dropped back.

However, a heavy shower hit Assen on lap nine that would turn the race on its head. Hernandez crashed out just after Dovizioso passed Valentino Rossi for second place, handing the Italian the lead again.

The torrential rain forced officials to red flag the race and wait for conditions to improve, before ultimately forming the grid for the restart with 12 laps to run.

Dovizioso led the field away, but was swamped by Honda’s Marc Marquez and Rossi, the latter moving into a steady lead. However, the nine-time world champion slid off the track just as his led started to swell, forcing him to retire.

Marquez now led but had Miller – racing on a satellite Honda bike – closing quickly. The MotoGP rookie threw his bike down the inside at the final chicane to take the lead.

Miller slowly began to eke out a lead, with Marquez not willing to push too hard given the plight of his rivals and the points advantage at stake, allowing the gap to grow to over two seconds.

With the final corner turned, Miller turned to check that Marquez was not close by before tipping his bike up into a wheelie and crossing the line to clinch his first MotoGP victory.

The Australian made the leap up from Moto3 to MotoGP at the beginning of the season, but after just eight races, he has added his name to the list of grand prix winners. Miller’s win also marked the first victory for a satellite bike in MotoGP since Portugal 2006.

“I don’t know what to feel at the moment,” Miller said after the race with a catch in his voice.

“A lot of people said that this project wouldn’t work. I just hope that we showed them wrong and I can ride a bike and I’m not an idiot. Thank you to Honda for taking a risk on me.”

Marquez seemed elated with second place, punching the air while crossing the line after extending his championship lead to 20 points thanks to Rossi and Lorenzo’s struggles, the latter ultimately fighting back to finish 10th.

Scott Redding rounded out the podium, finishing ahead of Pol Espargaro and Andrea Iannone. Hector Barbera finished sixth, with Eugene Laverty and Stefan Bradl following in P7 and P8. Maverick Vinales and Lorenzo rounded out the top 10.