The Cathedral awaits MotoGP riders

After the Catalan race, the MotoGP circus is ready to face Assen TT; the only round featuring just MotoGP class. The fast and flowing nature of the 4.5km long circuit has traditionally produced some of the most exciting races of the year.

In the current championship scenario after 7 rounds, Reigning Champion Marc Marquez and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso battle for the honors in the riders’ standings. Marquez leads Doviioso by 37 points.

Marquez knows he can’t relent for a second at Assen TT, so you bet he’ll give it all at one of his happy hunting grounds.  Marquez has an impeccable record in Assen having finished on the podium in each of his six premier class starts.

Team mate Jorge Lorenzo has improved over the 7 races and is looking to inch closer and closer to the front. He has recovered from the crash at previous test and looks to up his game at Assen.  

The race marks Honda’s 60th anniversary in the business. To mark the occasion, a number of legendary bikes and riders will be on display and in attendance over the weekend.

The Catalan GP saw Danilo Petrucci capture a third place, while Dovizioso was involved in a crash that forced him to retire. Dovizioso needs to recover precious points to get close to Marquez in the standings. Both Petrucci and Dovizioso have second place each in 2014 and 2017 at this Dutch circuit.

Petrucci is  keen to make the most of the technical upgrades tested after the race at Catalunya to score as many points as possible and cut the gap in the rankings. Ducati is second among Manufacturers with 131 points, while the Ducati leads the Team standings with 201 points. 

Yamaha riders have drifted further and further away from the championship standings. Rossi crashed out at Catalunya and went pointless, however Assen presents a good hunting ground for the 9-time champion. The Italian holds a very impressive record at what is often referred to as “The Cathedral” of motorcycling. He claimed eight wins there in the premier class (in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017), as well as one second place (2001) and one third place (2003). He also scored well in the lower classes, collecting victories in the 250cc (1998) and 125cc class (1997), and a 250cc second place (1999). He’s chasing Petrucci in the standings, from fifth.

For Vinales, his mission is to keep the positive vibes going, take the podium he was gunning for at the previous round, and improve his current 11th place ranking. The number-12 rider has enjoyed strong results at the TT circuit in his past eight years of Grand Prix racing. He has won twice at this circuit and enjoyed a four-podium streak on Dutch soil, 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 the third place he secured in last year’s close battle.

As always, the action starts with the practice sessions then qualifiers on Saturday and the race on Sunday.