After a perfect one-two in Catalunya two weeks ago, Yamaha MotoGP riders are at an all-time high ahead of MotoGP Round 8. Both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo currently hold the top slots in the riders’ standings as they look for more victories at Assen and upcoming GPs. Objectives for both riders are fairly straight forward; Rossi intends to maintain the lead at the top of the standings, while Lorenzo wants to claim the lead for himself. However, it won’t be easy for Lorenzo at Assen TT as Rossi holds a very impressive track record at the “Cathedral” of motorcycling, having claimed six wins in the premier class (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2013) as well as a 250cc (1998) and a 125cc class victory (1997).
Fresh from his four wins in a row, Lorenzo is looking to make it five straight at Assen TT. Lorenzo has also enjoyed numerous successes at the TT circuit. He has won at this circuit four times in total; securing a 125cc win in 2004, 250cc wins in 2006 and 2007 and a MotoGP win in 2010.
Both Repsol Honda riders have enjoyed good results in Assen with Dani Pedrosa taking eight podium finishes there including his first victory at the 2002 125cc race. Marquez has a fantastic history at the circuit celebrating victories in all classes: 2014 (MotoGP), 2012 (Moto2), 2011 (Moto2) and also in 2010 (125cc). Following a disappointing race at the Catalan track two weeks earlier, Marquez intends to bounce back to justify his position in the championship chase at Assen. “Assen is a track I like – even if it doesn’t necessarily suit our bike the best. As always we will have to work hard from Friday and hope to make a step with the bike settings. The weather is always unpredictable and this usually plays a part in the weekend, so we will have to keep an eye on it!” Marquez commented.
Ducatis and Suzukis are two squads chasing the top two, with rather consistent performance in the first seven GPs from the likes of Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales. Dovizioso has been on the podium three times in MotoGP at Assen TT, with a third place in 2011 and 2012, and the runner-up slot last year. After a great start to the season, in which he scored four podium finishes in the first five races, the Italian now comes off the back of two successive DNFs at Mugello and Barcelona and is anxious to bring an end to this negative run as soon as possible.
Iannone currently rings in at third place in the riders’ standings, thanks to podium finishes at the season-opener in Qatar and Mugello. The first year Ducati man is obviously on a mission to better his team mate for bragging rights.
Espargaro and Viñales came off a terrific 1 – 2 qualifying performance at Catalunya, last time out. Both Spaniards are confident with their new GSX-RR engines that were introduced for the race on 14 June, and they are positive that the excellent handling characteristics of the Suzuki GSX-RR chassis will suit the twisting TT Circuit of Assen.