Fresh from his two recent wins, Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso is eager to get back on the saddle for another possible win. Dovizioso, however, does not consider Assen to be one of his favorite circuits but he has been on the podium three times in MotoGP, with two thirds in 2011 and 2012 and a second place in the 2014 race. Last year’s race was unfortunate for the Italian as he set pole and led the first part in the rain but then crashed out from second place after the restart.
Team mate Jorge Lorenzo scored a win at Assen in 2010 with Yamaha, as well as a second place in 2009 and a third in 2015, but he will always remember the 2013 race, when after crashing in Friday free practice and breaking his collarbone, the Spanish rider returned to Barcelona for surgery and was then back on track on Sunday for the warm-up before finishing the race in fifth.
Following a productive test in Barcelona a little more than a week ago, Yamaha MotoGP team look forward to an action-packed race at the Motul TT Assen round, where Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are keen to feature at the front of the pack. AViñales is set on making his return to the podium this weekend. He is on a mission of extending his seven-point lead in the championship at a track that he feels suits both the bike and his riding style.
The young Spaniard has enjoyed strong results at the TT circuit in his six years of Grand Prix racing. He has won twice at this circuit and stood on the podium four times in total, securing a 125cc win in 2011, a Moto3 win and second place in 2012 and 2013, and a Moto2 second place in 2014. His best score in the MotoGP class was ninth place in a difficult race last year that was influenced by dramatic rainfall.
Last years downpour at the TT Circuit Assen spoiled Rossis challenge for the win, leaving the nine-time champion determined to make amends. He plans to make a strong comeback at the Dutch track, which he particularly likes, and hes got the results to back up his ambitions. The Doctor holds a very impressive record at the track that is often referred to as “the cathedral” of motorcycling, having claimed seven wins in the premier class on Dutch soil in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2015, as well as victories in the 250cc (1998) and 125cc class (1997). He aims to add another top step finish to his résumé this weekend to close the 28-point gap to his teammate and move up from fifth place in the standings.
At the Assen TT, Repsol Honda team riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa intend to climb up the ranks from third and fourth places currently. They are just 23 and 27 points off Viñales. With Dovizioso second at -7 from the lead and Rossi at -28, this is the closest top-five spread, after seven races, since current points system was introduced in 1993.
Both Repsol Honda riders have good memories from Assen, with Pedrosa having taken his first Grand Prix win (2002 – 125cc) and Marquez having celebrated victories in all classes. “I like Assen. We’ve had some exciting races there, and many good memories. Of course the weather is always unpredictable and makes things change very quickly, so we must be ready to adapt as we did in 2014 and last year. That, coupled with the fact that every race this season also seems quite unpredictable, means we’ll have to keep totally focused and work particularly hard from the beginning,” Marquez said.
Pedrosa added, “This is a race which usually requires great concentration in order to be prepared and deal with every situation the weekend may throw at us! You never know how much dry-track time you’ll get there and having to try several tyres during the weekend you must fully exploit every session.”
The TT Assen schedule gets underway on Friday with the first free practice session, while the 26-lap race is scheduled for Sunday.