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Motorcycling: Rossi ends drought in style

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Italian riding legend Valentino Rossi ended a winless run of nearly three years when he won the Dutch MotoGP at Assen on Saturday.

The 34-year-old - who had not won since the Malaysian MotoGP in October 2010 - came home clear on his Yamaha ahead of Honda's Marco Marquez while Briton Cal Crutchlow, who had been on pole, was third on a Yamaha works bike.

Rossi's team-mate defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo was also a winner on Saturday as his decision to ride despite undergoing early Friday an operation on a broken collarbone paid off as he finished fifth.

The 26-year-old lost only minimal ground in the world title race as series leader Dani Pedrosa, who had never won this race, finished just a place ahead of him.

Pedrosa extended his lead by just two points to nine over Lorenzo, while Rossi is fifth 51 points adrift of the leader after posting his 80th win in the category and 106th in all disciplines leaving him 16 short of all-time overall win leader compatriot Giacomo Agostini.

Pedrosa swooped to take the lead on the first corner in front of Marquez and Stefan Bradl, while Crutchlow had a terrible start and dropped to fifth.

Lorenzo had moved from 12th to seventh by the end of the first of 26 laps, while Rossi was in third passing Bradl to sit behind the Honda duo of Pedrosa and Marquez.

Bradl was in freefall, being passed by Crutchlow and then Lorenzo, who had soared to fifth place after just two laps and performed a superb inside passing manoeuvre on Crutchlow to go fourth with 23 laps to go.

Rossi was also in super form passing Marquez after four laps and set off in pursuit of Pedrosa.

The Italian's devoted fans roars reached fever pitch as the rider nicknamed 'the doctor' passed Pedrosa to lead a race for the first time this season.

Pedrosa clung onto Rossi's back wheel while Lorenzo shadowed Marquez with Crutchlow slightly off the pace of the front four.

Lorenzo's remorseless charge appeared to lose some of its' momentum with 14 laps remaining as he dropped off the back of Marquez and Crutchlow closed on him.

Crutchlow eventually passed Lorenzo on the penultimate chicane into the finishing straight with just over 11 laps remaining.

Marquez started buzzing all over his team-mate Pedrosa, who looked as if he had accepted that victory was Rossi's while the younger Honda rider was keener to go after the Italian.

Marquez duly passed Pedrosa with nine laps to the finish, but Pedrosa regained second at the next corner, only for 20-year-old Marquez to go past him a lap later and set off after Rossi, who had a lead of over a second.

Pedrosa's fortunes suffered another blow as Crutchlow passed him on the same chicane where he had overtaken Lorenzo with just over five laps to go.

Marquez' charge had faded with respect to catching Rossi and instead he had to keep a wary eye out on Crutchlow, who was pressuring him, but both were fortunate to finish the race when they touched on the first corner of the final lap.

It left Rossi to take the chequered flag all alone and he was able to lift both his hands off the handlebars and punch the air with delight.

pi/ak

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130629/motorcycling-rossi-ends-drought-style