(Reuters) - Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi claimed his first victory since 2010 at the Dutch Grand Prix on Saturday and world champion Jorge Lorenzo finished fifth two days after breaking his collarbone.
Italian seven-times world champion Rossi took the lead on the sixth lap at Assen and was never overtaken, sealing maximum points ahead of Spain’s Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow, the first Briton to start from pole position since 2002.
Lorenzo made a remarkable return to action following his high-speed crash in wet conditions in practice on Thursday.
The Spaniard underwent surgery on Friday and started 12th on the grid.
World championship leader Dani Pedrosa was fourth to extend his advantage over Lorenzo to nine points after seven of 18 rounds.
Pedrosa has 136 points to Lorenzo’s 127, with Marquez third, a further 14 points behind. Crutchlow is in fourth place with 87 points and Rossi fifth with 85.
Rossi, 34, celebrated his first victory since returning to Yamaha and his 80th win in the premier class.
He moved up to third at the end of the first lap before overhauling the Hondas of Marquez and Pedrosa and holding on to win by 2.1 seconds for his first victory since the Malaysia Grand Prix nearly three years ago.
“I‘m happy but I can’t believe it. It’s a great feeling to be back in first position,” he told www.motogp.com.
”I felt good. I tried hard from the beginning, it was a long race and I fought with everybody. I fought with Marc (Marquez), with (Dani) Pedrosa and with Cal (Crutchlow) but I always had that little bit extra at certain points.
“It’s been a long, long time since Sepang 2010, and during those years I’ve asked myself the question, ‘Can I get back to first position?’ So it’s been a tough period but I’ve never given up and I’ve always worked hard because this is my passion.”
Lorenzo was cleared to race less than four hours before the start, having returned to Assen from surgery in Barcelona. The Yamaha rider rose from 12th on the grid to as high as fourth but fell back one place by the checkered flag.
The next race is in Germany in two weeks’ time.
Writing by Josh Reich in London, editing by Ed Osmond