Valentino Rossi reached yet another milestone in his astounding career as he claimed his 100th victory at grand prix level with a dominant performance in the Assen TT.
The reigning champion led a Yamaha one-two for the second successive race, but unlike Catalunya two weeks ago, no late heroics were required to beat his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, for Rossi had this race totally under control from very early on.
Dani Pedrosa had jumped into the lead from second place at the start, and although Rossi repassed the Honda further around the opening lap, Casey Stoner slipped his Ducati past them both as they diced.
Stoner's time up front was brief, though, as he ran just wide enough for Rossi to sneak ahead at the first corner next time around. Once ahead, there was no stopping Rossi, who soon started disappearing into the distance and duly secured victory and took sole possession of the championship lead.
Having lost several positions at the start, Lorenzo soon moved up to second, but could not catch Rossi, while Stoner had no answer to the Yamahas' pace and finished over 20sec adrift in third.
Pedrosa stayed with Stoner in fourth until crashing out at the first corner after four laps. Honda's frustration then doubled six laps later as Andrea Dovizioso went out at the same spot while also chasing Stoner.
Colin Edwards therefore ended up in fourth for Tech 3 Yamaha, after passing fast-starter Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), who produced his best performance of 2009 so far to take fifth.
The muscular six-bike battle for sixth was the highlight of a large uneventful race. James Toseland equaled his career best result by emerging on top of this incredible dice, but only after Mika Kallio crashed his Pramac Ducati on the final lap when seemingly on course for sixth.
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) recovered from several incidents to take seventh, followed by the charging Toni Elias (Gresini Honda), Nicky Hayden (Ducati) -- who had earlier run as high as seventh - and Loris Capirossi (Suzuki), who never got back into contention after losing ground on the first lap.RESULTS:
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 42m14.611s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha + 5.368s
3. Casey Stoner Ducati + 23.113s
4. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha + 29.114s
5. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki + 33.605s
6. James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha + 39.347s
7. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda + 39.543s
8. Toni Elias Gresini Honda + 39.774s
9. Nicky Hayden Ducati + 39.823s
10. Loris Capirossi Suzuki + 40.673s
11. Alex de Angelis Gresini Honda + 46.100s
12. Marco Melandri Hayate Kawasaki + 57.777s
13. Sete Gibernau Hernando Ducati +1m05.366s
14. Niccolo Canepa Pramac Ducati +1m09.897s
15. Yuki Takahashi Scot Honda +1m09.930s
16. Gabor Talmacsi Scot Honda +1m25.099s
Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 25 laps
Andrea Dovizioso Honda 10 laps
Dani Pedrosa Honda 4 laps