After a three-week hiatus, MotoGP™ returns this weekend to the Netherlands and the famous Assen circuit. Breaking from tradition, this year’s race will be held on a Sunday versus its regular Saturday slot.
One thing is for certain this weekend; expect drama. Since its inception, the Dutch TT has provided us with some magical moments down through the years, from Colin Edwards crash on the final chicane in 2006 when leading the race, to Valentino Rossi’s masterclass in motorcycling ability a year ago when carving through the field to claim a memorable victory from the middle of the pack.
The track, known as “The Cathedral”, is the longest running event on the MotoGP calendar. Having been held here for the first time in 1925, the event has taken place every year with the exception of the years 1940 to 1945 because of the Second World War.
This year’s renewal will see Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi go head-to-head once again on the same track where both clashed on the last-turn last year. Rossi beat Marquez after the Honda rider lunged for the lead at the final chicane, bumping Rossi, who straight-lined the exit of the corner and rode to victory. Race Direction confirmed Rossi would have made the corner without the contact and that Marquez was never in front, meaning the result was unchanged.
In Words: Rossi and Marquez
This year, Rossi goes to the Dutch venue 22 points down on the Championship leader, Marquez, but is full of confidence following a victory last time out in Barcelona. Competitiveness of the field, Rossi says, makes it near impossible to pick a winner.
“I used this short break to rest a bit and now I'm ready for the next race. I love Assen, it is one of my favourite tracks, but that doesn't mean anything because every race this year is very open and very uncertain. We just have to stay focused, try to work in the best way possible and see what happens.
“In Barcelona we had a good race and also the test went well. I really want to get back on track and prepare for the upcoming race with my team” the Italian said.
While Rossi’s tone seemed cautious rather than over confident, rival Marquez goes to Assen quietly confident.
“We’ve had two weekends off after Catalunya, and it has been good to be able to disconnect a bit, spending a little time with my family and friends. Anyway, I’m happy that the time to go racing at Assen has arrived, as it’s a track I really enjoy and, importantly, the first in a series of circuits that suit my riding style quite well! Step by step, we’re making some small improvements to the bike, so in Assen we’ll keep working hard from the first session to find a good setup and try and fight for the podium again.”
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With just 22 points separating the top three riders, we are moving towards the business end of the season!
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