Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding is hoping to renew his vows at the Cathedral of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing at the Motul TT Assen, Holland on Sunday. Last year Redding finished third in the pouring rain at the legendary 2.882 miles Assen circuit that is the only circuit remaining from the original 1949 World Championship schedule. The Pramac Ducati rider returns for the eighth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship after a tough time following a good start to the season. He is 12th in the World Championship and has a good record in Assen with a couple of Moto2™ podium finishes in addition to his podium last year. Some cooler conditions and even some rain would suit him in the 26 lap race and there is every chance in Assen that may well be the case.
Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow returned to points scoring in the previous Barcelona round with a careful 11th place in the searing heat, The LCR Honda rider has finished on the podium this season and has a good record in Assen as he seeks to improve on his ninth place in the championship. He took his first MotoGP pole at Assen four years ago and finished third in the race the same year.
Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith makes a welcome return on the factory KTM after missing the previous round with a badly damaged little finger on his left hand sustained in a practice crash. Not only did he miss the Barcelona grand prix but also the crucial test the next day and so it will be another tough task for the Austrian KTM Team on their first visit to Assen. Smith has previously secured Moto2 and 125 cc podiums in Holland.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes has finished third and fourth in the last two Assen Moto2 races and he certainly could do with some points scoring in the MotoGP race. It’s been tough for Lowes on his MotoGP debut on the Gresini Aprilia. Mechanical problems and crashes have eaten away at his confidence but he has finished the last four races. A couple of points scoring rides before the summer break would do him a power of good.
Scotsman Tarran Mackenzie at last competes at a circuit he knows after three races at new circuits on his Moto2™ debut. It should give him a real boost having competed in the British Supersport Championship in Assen as he continues his grand prix education on the Kiefer Racing Suter.
Another Scotsman, John McPhee, finished just over five seconds behind Moto3™ winner Joan Mir at the previous round in Barcelona but could only finish in 12th place. The amazing Moto3 races are so tight that good qualifying is vital and McPhee has struggled in the last few races on the British Talent Team Honda. After his brilliant start to the season he’s still seventh in the Championship and will be seeking the advice of his mentor Jeremy McWilliams who took his only grand prix win in Holland in the 2001 250 cc race.
DID YOU KNOW
Assen is the only venue that has hosted a grand prix event every year since the motorcycle World Championship Grand Prix series started back in 1949 and below are some facts and figures from the previous events at this famous circuit:
• The Dutch TT became part of the world championship series when it was first created in 1949 and Assen is the only circuit to have been part of the series every year since, making this the 69th Dutch TT that has counted towards the world championship classification.
• In 2016 the Dutch TT was held on Sunday for the first time; all previous Dutch TT events had taken place on Saturday
• The original Assen circuit, that was used up to 1954, measured 16.54 km. This was reduced to 7.7 km in 1955 and then in 1984 further modifications to the circuit reduced the length to 6.1 km. The current layout has been used since 2006, with a few minor adjustments.
• The 500cc race at the 1975 Dutch TT is the only premier-class grand prix race where the first two riders across the line have been credited with the same race time. Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini finished so close that the timekeepers of the day, using manual timing accurate to 0.1 sec, were unable to split them.
• Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer at the Dutch TT since the start of the four-stroke MotoGP formula, with eight victories.
• Honda have had six MotoGP wins at the Dutch TT with six different riders: Valentino Rossi, Sete Gibernau, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner, Marc Marquez and Jack Miller.
• Ducati’s single MotoGP win at the Dutch TT came in 2008 with Casey Stoner. Ducati has had just two podium finishers at Assen in the past six years: Andrea Dovizioso was second in 2014 and Scott Redding third last year.
• The last win by Suzuki at the Dutch TT was in the 500cc race in 1993 with Kevin Schwantz. The best results by Suzuki in the MotoGP era at the Dutch TT are 5th place finishes by John Hopkins in 2007 and Chris Vermeulen in 2009.
• Ben Spies took his one and only MotoGP win at the Dutch TT in 2011 riding a Yamaha.
• The last rider to win the MotoGP race at the Dutch TT in successive years is Valentino Rossi, in 2004 and 2005.
• The rider with most GP victories at Assen is Angel Nieto with 15 wins in the 125cc and 50cc classes, followed by Giacomo Agostini who had 14 wins riding 500cc and 350cc machines.
• Among the current riders, Valentino Rossi has been most successful at Assen with a total of nine victories, seven in MotoGP and one each in the 250cc and 125cc classes.
• Each of the three winners at the Dutch TT last year were first time winners in their particular class: MotoGP – Jack Miller, Moto2 – Takaaki Nakagami, Moto3 – Francesco Bagnaia
• The win in the Moto2 class by Takaaki Nakagami last year at Assen was the first GP victory for a Japanese rider in any class of grand prix racing since Yuki Takahashi won the Moto2 race at the Catalan Grand Prix in 2010. Nakagami is the only rider still competing in Moto2 who has won an intermediate-class race at Assen.
• Moto3 rookie Bo Bendsneyder finished 9th at his home grand prix last year, which was the best result for a Dutch rider in any class of grand prix racing at the Dutch TT since Jurgen van den Goorbergh finished ninth in the 500cc race in 2001.
• At the end of the 22 lap Moto3 race at the Dutch TT last year, Jules Danilo in sixth position crossed the finish line just 0.161 seconds behind race winner Pecco Bagnaia. This is the closest top six finish of all-time in grand prix racing.
• Pecco Bagnaia took his first GP win in the Moto3 race last year at Assen; this was also the first ever grand prix victory for Mahindra as a constructor.
SUNDAY SERVICE FOR DOVIZIOSO AT THE CATHEDRAL
Andrea Dovizioso makes the annual pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing at Assen in Holland on Sunday praying for his third successive grand prix win. The Italian Ducati rider has won the last two grands prix and arrives at the legendary 2.822 miles Assen circuit for the Motul Assen TT as a real championship contender. Following his wins in Mugello and Barcelona he is just seven points behind championship leader Maverick Vinales, but history is against him making it a hatrick of wins at this eighth round of the championship.
Ducati’s only win at Assen came in 2008 with victory for Casey Stoner, with Dovizioso second in 2014 and Scott Redding third in the rain last year. Dovizioso has had two more MotoGP™ podiums in Assen and was in pole last year. After two scorching races in Italy and Spain the Dutch weather on Sunday could play a massive part in the outcome as it did last year. Australian Jack Miller took full advantage of the pouring rain to secure a brilliant first MotoGP win for the Marc VDS team with World Champion Marc Marquez second and Redding third.
Vinales really struggled in the Barcelona heat last time out with the Movistar Yamaha finding no grip and he finally finished in a damage limitation tenth place. The team used a new chassis at a two day test in Barcelona after the race and times suggest they may have found a grip solution in the heat which will be put to the test in the 26 lap encounter on Sunday. It was a good weekend for the Repsol Honda team in Spain with Marquez second and Dani Pedrosa third closing the gap on Vinales at the front. The World Champion is 23 points behind Vinales with Pedrosa just two points behind him. Both overtook Valentino Rossi in the standings after the nine times World Champion limped home in eighth place in Barcelona experiencing the same grip problems as team-mate Vinales. Rossi has an amazing record in Assen winning seven MotoGP races, including that epic finish with Marquez two years ago and also 125 and 250 cc victories.
Rossi is just one point behind Pedrosa with Moto2 World Champion Johan Zarco in sixth place after a memorable start to his MotoGP career on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. The Frenchman won the Moto2™ race two years ago and finished second last year. Jorge Lorenzo is in seventh place to give Ducati further hope after a hard fought fourth in Spain and is getting stronger and stronger each race after his switch from Yamaha.
Alex Rins makes a welcome return to the Ecstar Suzuki team after his crash in Austin to join former Moto2 winner Andrea Iannone.
In similar style to MotoGP the Moto2™ Championship closed right up after the Barcelona race. With championship leader Franco Morbidelli only finishing sixth in the race won by Estrella Galicia Marc VDS team-mate Alex Marquez, Swiss veteran Tom Luthi closed the gap at the front to just seven points. Luthi has only finished off the podium once this season and a win on Sunday would really set him up for the second half of the season but it will not be easy. Marquez’s second win of the season put him 20 points behind Morbidelli while Takaaki Nakagami will be seeking a repeat of his one and only grand prix victory last year.
It’s not so close in Moto3™ after Joan Mir’s superb victory in Barcelona. The Spanish teenager, who joins the Marc VDS Moto2 team next season, opened up an impressive 45 point lead in the championship after his fourth win of the season for the Leopard Racing Honda team. It’s a different story behind him with just 12 points separating Romano Fenati, Aron Canet, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Andrea Migno and Jorge Martin.
Friday 23 June: 7.00 – 15.00
Saturday 24 June: 8.00 – 16. 45
Sunday 25 June: 7.30 -15.30
Highlights Monday June 26 19.00
talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.