Jeffrey Herlings may have won the battle of Assen with a double MXGP race win but his team-mate Tony Cairoli won the war as he clinched his ninth world championship.
The 31-year-old Italian led the opening race until Herlings got by, but then the pair raced hard together to the finish line in the wet and sandy conditions. Herlings held on for the win, leading Cairoli over the line by a second.
But that meant Cairoli clinched his ninth world title, and he threw his bike down in celebration. Max Anstie took third place after nipping past Romain Febvre on the charge to the flag. Shaun Simpson took 11th and Tommy Searle 14th.
Second time out Max Nagl led but Herlings soon stalked him down and began to pull away to a huge and unchallenged win. Nagl held on to second for the whole race, fighting off challenges from Cairoli who had to give up the chase as his goggles were covered in sand and he struggled to see.
With a couple of laps to go, Cairoli slipped off and let the chasing Febvre, Anstie and Jeremy Van Horebeek past. Cairoli took sixth, which saw him off the podium and disappointed at not being able to challenge for the win.
Febvre took third in front of Anstie. It meant the pair tied on points, but Febvre was awarded second overall and Anstie third thanks to the results of the final moto.
Tommy Searle went down in a multi-bike crash on the second corner and retired with a damaged ankle, though it’s thought he’ll be fit for the next round in France next week. Simpson took 13th.
Clement Desalle and Tim Gajser both crashed hard in the opening moto and didn’t make the start of the second races.
The MX2 class saw Spaniard Jorge Prado take the overall win thanks to one-two finishes, as his team-mate Pauls Jonass moved to within a handful of points of clinching his first world title.
Jonass took second overall, with one point more than his title rival Jeremy Seewer. Jonass now has a 41-point lead with 50 still up for grabs.
Conrad Mewse showed he has the speed to run up at the front, leading the second moto. But little mistakes cost him his chance of a podium finish and he had sixth and 12th place results.