And best-placed rider at this stage of the competition is Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), who claimed his fourth win of the season at Assen and is now leading the standings by 34 points over fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco (Ducati).
Quartararo took another dominant win at Assen, this time ahead of his team-mate Maverick Vinales, while Suzuki’s defending world champion Joan Mir (pictured above) claimed third overall.
The rostrum finish for Spain’s Mir also moved him up one place to fourth in the championship standings, just behind Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia.
Quartararo led into turn one at Assen on Sunday (Monday morning NZ time), but was passed on the same lap eight corners later by Italian rider Bagnaia.
Quartararo was stuck behind the Italian for the opening five laps as he described overtaking Bagnaia as ‘impossible’.
However, Quartararo proved it was indeed possible to get around the Ducati as he made the race winning overtake just one lap later at turn 12.
From then on, things looked to be a replica of his dominant win at Mugello, but it was far from easy as the 22-year-old called the 26-lap race a ‘really tough one’.
“To be honest it was a tough one. When I had Pecco [Bagnaia] in front; he’s impossible to overtake. I have no words to say what is the possibility to overtake,” added Quartararo.
“He was already closing the lines, and with the power out of (turn) six is so fast and I tried many times out of (turn) 12.
“I hit many times the outside of his bike and then I see that I had the potential to go on the inside of 12. I never expected to overtake there, but finally it was the perfect spot.
“Really tough one because I made two big mistakes; out of 12 the bike was shaking until turn 15, and one on turn six where I go too much lean angle on the line and almost lose the rear, but the most important is the position we finish today and we bring 25 points.”
The biggest change to Quartararo’s 2021 campaign compared to last season has been the consistency, which he says has come from always learning something even when you cannot ‘have the result’ – something he struggled with in 2020.
Speaking after his first premier class win at Assen, Quartararo added to this by saying: “I’ve learned a lot! For me this is always a great thing to learn when you have not the result, but you can always take something.”
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World Championships standings after 9 rounds:
|1||Fabio Quartararo, Monster Yamaha||156 pts|
|2||Johann Zarco, Pramac Ducati||122|
|3||Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team||109|
|4||Joan Mir, Suzuki Ecstar||101|
|5||Jack Miller, Ducati Team||100|
|6||Maverick Vinales, Monster Yamaha||95|
|7||Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM||85|
|8||Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Gresini||61|
|9||Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM||60|
|10||Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda||50|
|11||Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda||41|
|12||Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda Idemitsu||41|
|13||Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha||40|
|14||Alex Rins, Suzuki Ecstar||33|
|15||Enea Bastianini, Avintia Ducati||27|
|16||Alex Marquez, LCR Honda Castrol||27|
|17||Danilo Petrucci, KTM Tech3||26|
|18||Jorge Martin, Pramac Ducati||23|
|19||Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha||17|
|20||Luca Marini, Sky VR46 Avintia Ducati||14|
|21||Iker Lecuona, KTM Tech3||13|
|22||Stefan Bradl, Repsol Honda||11|
|23||Lorenzo Savadori, Aprilia Gresini||4|
|24||Michele Pirro, Pramac Ducati||3|
|25||Tito Rabat, Pramac Ducati||1|