Jaume Masia batted away the advances of Ayumu Sasaki to secure victory in a breathless Moto3 encounter at Assen , as series lead Daniel Holgado crashed on the opening tour.

Masia was part of a leading gaggle of ten riders that managed to break away from the rest of the field approaching half-distance, the Leopard Racing ace swapping the lead with the likes of Sasaki, Deniz Oncu, Romano Fenati and David Munoz amongst others around the fast and flowing Assen venue.

The Spaniard managed to place himself well though and led the way across the final couple of laps as chaos ensued behind him, though a determined Sasaki – who was keen to make up for losing victory last weekend at the Sachsenring at the final bend – battled his way past Oncu at Turn 5 on the last lap to chase down leader Masia.

The Husqvarna pilot closed him down across the final lap and got himself well within range as the leaders approached the rapid Turns 14, 15 and 16 that signified the end of the tour – Sasaki firing through on Masia with a bold move at 16.

Masia wasn’t done with yet though and positioned himself nicely to fire back down the inside of Sasaki on entry to the final chicane, a move he pulled off to perfection as he enjoyed a good exit to the complex to take the chequered flag just 0.081s clear of Sasaki – who lost supremacy at the death for the second time in an many races.

Oncu managed to get come out on top in the fight for best of the rest to complete the rostrum in third ahead of Ivan Ortola, who did well to get back to fourth after dropping to seventh at the start of the last circulation after running wide at Turn 1 – the MTA Angeluss rider having also taken a long-lap penalty in the early laps.

Pole-man David Munoz rounded off the top five for the BOE team ahead of Jose Antonio Rueda and Colin Veijer, while Fenati dropped to eighth in the final reckoning having been third and looking for the leadership with only a handful of bends remaining.

Joel Kelso fell to ninth having led the race at times early on, while Stefano Nepa ran wide on the final lap and fell to tenth as the final man in the leading group.

Holgado’s weekend meanwhile went from bad to worse having qualified last of the 27-rider field, the series leader crashing at Turn 10 on the opening lap as he tried to make swift progress through the pack – his incident leaving him pointless after re-mounting.

This means his series lead has been slashed to just 16 over the victorious Masia, while Sasaki’s fourth-consecutive podium finish sees him close to within 26 markers of Holgado heading into the summer break.

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