MotoGP legend Rossi ends drought

AFP-JIJI

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.

“I am so happy, but I still can’t believe it,” said Rossi, whose first win in any Grand Prix was in the 125-cc category in 1996 in the Czech Republic.

“I will have to look at the images again . . . This is probably the most moving victory of my career. What a tremendous feeling it is to win again. I often asked myself: ‘Will I ever win another Grand Prix ?’ I spent two difficult seasons with Ducati, which were very frustrating (2011 and 2012). However, I never gave up hope.”

Rossi’s teammate, defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo, was also a winner on Saturday as his decision to ride despite undergoing an operation on a broken collarbone early Friday 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.