Retiring Stoner on top at Assen
STONER AGAIN: Australia's Casey Stoner took top spot from the 2005 Netherlands MotoGP at Assen.
Assen, Netherlands - Australian Honda rider Casey Stoner won Saturday's 2012 Dutch Moto GP here 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 was 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.
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...
"I decided to follow Dani because I knew we were pulling away from the rest and I needed to save every ounce of energy."
'MAYBE A LITTLE TIRED...'
Pedrosa, who moves to within 19 points of Lorenzo and Stoner in the overall standings, was gracious in defeat.
"I think I used a lot of energy in the beginning," said the Spaniard. "I tried to pull away from Casey but he was very close to me all the time. He improved his rhythm. Basically I think he saved some energy driving behind.
“At the end I had some problems changing direction. I was maybe a little bit tired. I think he saw that and took advantage of it."
Dovizioso said that finishing on the podium was an "unbelievable" feeling, while Spies could also be pleased with what was his best performance of the season so far.
And Cal Crutchlow, who broke and dislocated his left ankle at Silverstone two weeks ago, was fifth.
However, seven riders failed to finish the race despite conditions that were a far cry from the rain that twice interrupted Friday's qualifying session.
It was also a miserable day for Valentino Rossi, with the Italian eight-times World champion ending up at the back of the field after being forced into the pits to get a new rear tyre with 10 laps remaining.
MotoGP results from the Dutch motorcycling Grand Prix at Assen on Saturday
1 Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda 41min19.855
2 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 41min24.820
3 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Yamaha 41min31.849
4 Ben Spies (US) Yamaha 41min34.630
5 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha 41min41.929
6 Nicky Hayden (U.S) Ducati 41min51.515
7 Hector Barbera (Spain) Ducati 42min18.962
8 Randy de Puniet (France) Aprilia 42min24.296
9 Michele Pirro (Italy) Honda 42min26.835
10 Mattia Pasini (Italy) Aprilia 42min44.942
11 Danilo Petrucci (Italy) Ioda 42min51.958
12 Ivan Silva (Spain) Kawasaki 42min53.652
13 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Ducati 25 laps
14 James Ellison (Britain) Aprilia 25 laps
15 Aleix Espargaro (Spain) Aprilia 14 laps
MotoGP standings after the Dutch motorcycling Grand Prix at Assen on Saturday
1 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 140
2 Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda 140
3 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 121
4 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha 77
5 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Yamaha 76
6 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Ducati 61
7 Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati 59
8 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda 58
9 Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda 51
10 Ben Spies (US) Yamaha 48
11 Hector Barbera (Spain) Ducati 46
12 Aleix Espargaro (Spain) Aprilia 20
13 Randy de Puniet (France) Aprilia 19
14 Michele Pirro (Italy) FTR 16
15 Mattia Pasini (Italy) Aprilia 12
Race report shortly.
Netherlands Grand Prix MotoGP qualifying on Friday
1 Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda 1min33.713
2 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda 1min33.828
3 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 1min34.001
4 Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda 1min34.035
5 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha 1min34.486
6 Ben Spies (U.) Yamaha 1min34.644
7 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Yamaha 1min34.698
8 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda 1min34.722
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati 1min34.751
10 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Ducati 1min35.057
Moto2 results from the Dutch motorcycling Grand Prix at Assen on Saturday
1 Marc Marquez (Spain) Suter 39min43.170
2 Andrea Iannone (Italy) Speed up 39min43.575
3 Scott Redding (Britain) Kalex 39min50.501
4 Esteve Rabat (Spain) Kalex 39min50.800
5 Alex de Angelis (San Marino) Suter 39min51.022
6 Bradley Smith (Britain) Tech3 39min51.748
7 Dominique Aegerter (Switzerland) Suter 39min53.187
8 Johann Zarco (France) Motobi 39min57.651
9 Toni Elias (Spain) Suter 39min57.884
10 Mika Kallio (Finland) Kalex 39min57.904
11 Randy Krummenacher (Switzerland) Kalex 39min58.114
12 Takaaki Nakagami (Japan) Kalex 40min05.276
13 Xavier Simeon (Belgium) Tech3 40min06.238
14 Julian Simon (Spain) Suter 40min06.702
15 Mike Di Meglio (France) Speed up 40min06.903
Moto3 results from the Dutch Grand Prix on Saturday
1 Maverick Vinales (Spain) Honda 38min45.432
2 Sandro Cortese (Germany) KTM 38min46.263
3 Danny Kent (Britain) KTM 38min46.274
4 Luis Salom (Spain) Kalex 38min46.275
5 Louis Rossi (France) Honda 38min46.784
6 Alex Rins (Spain) Honda 38min50.465
7 Alexis Masbou (France) Honda 38min53.249
8 Niklas Ajo (Finland) KTM 38min53.287
9 Efren Vazquez (Spain) Honda 38min53.469
10 Miguel Oliveira (Portugal) Honda 38min53.675
11 Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Malaysia) KTM 38min53.810
12 Romano Fenati (Italy) Honda 38min53.991
13 Jakub Kornfeil (Czech Republic) Honda 38min57.565
14 Toni Finsterbusch (Germany) Honda 38min57.790
15 Hector Faubel (Spain) Kalex 38min57.965
Moto3 standings after Saturday's Dutch Grand Prix at Assen
1 Maverick Vinales (Spain) Honda 130
2 Sandro Cortese (Germany) KTM 123
3 Luis Salom (Spain) Kalex 88
4 Romano Fenati (Italy) Honda 65
5 Louis Rossi (France) Honda 56
6 Alex Rins (Spain) Honda 54
7 Alexis Masbou (France) Honda 51
8 Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Malaysia) KTM 49
9 Danny Kent (Britain) KTM 42
10 Miguel Oliveira (Portugal) Honda 39
11 Niccolo Antonelli (Italy) Honda 38
12 Alberto Moncayo (Spain) Kalex 36
13 Arthur Sissis (Australia) KTM 31
14 Efren Vazquez (Spain) Honda 29
15 Hector Faubel (Spain) Kalex 29