Sun July 1, 2012 12:09am
AUSTRALIAN Honda rider Casey Stoner has won the Dutch Moto GP after a terrific battle with Spain's Dani Pedrosa, also on a Honda.
Stoner started on pole but soon found himself behind Pedrosa before retaking the lead with nine laps remaining and surging clear to win by a comfortable margin.
Italy's Andrea Dovizioso finished third ahead of Ben Spies, the American who won here last year.
However the race was overshadowed by an early crash involving Alvaro Bautista and Jorge Lorenzo that forced the world championship leader out of the race and denied him the chance of a fourth successive victory.
Lorenzo was furious after being taken out at turn one and the race direction later launched an investigation into the crash as the Spaniard was forced to watch Stoner join him at the top of the overall standings.
An apologetic Bautista said: "I was behind Dovizioso and I tried to go on his side and I missed the break point.
"At the end I arrived so fast into the corner and I tried to stop the bike to stop Lorenzo from dropping out. I'm so sorry for him."
Stoner, for whom this was a second win in Assen following his success here in 2008, admitted that his strategy of tracking Pedrosa and then pouncing paid off as he went on to win by a margin of almost five seconds.
"I didn't see the crash (involving Lorenzo), I was just focused on the front," the 26-year-old Australian told the BBC.
"What a difference a day makes. This morning things weren't looking too good, but the team put a bike under me that was capable of winning. Hats off to the team.
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