It may surprise you, but I really enjoy planning and researching my blog even before race day. Assen was no exception, but then it all went terribly wrong until along came Pecco Bagnaia to save the day. A masterclass of total MotoGP™ supremacy at the Cathedral. World Champion by name and action. No wonder the Italian has the outline of Assen tattooed on his right arm. For the last seventy-three laps of Grand Prix racing, he has not been headed. His sixth Dutch TT win and his third successive MotoGP™ win at the legendary venue. The last rider to win three in a row was there to applaud. Mick Doohan won five in a row between 1994 -1998.

It had all looked so simple. Fifty years ago, the Che-Guevara of Grand Prix racing had made his debut at Assen. In 1974 Kenny Roberts arrived in Europe and life was never quite the same. With fellow American Joe Roberts winning the Moto2™ race in Mugello last month, and lying second in the World Championship, this was the perfect time to remember the past and predict the future. The time is ripe for the revival of American riders in the World Championship and ultimately to return to the pinnacle, which they dominated for so long. With the surname of Roberts, how could you fail

Kenny took pole position for that first 250cc Grand Prix, crashed in the race but remounted to finish third. The rest is history. He was so passionate about Grand Prix racing. He led a revolution from the front both on and off the track. A sliding style, honed on the dirt tracks back home, had never been witnessed on European racetracks. Much to the chagrin of the Grand Prix regulars and World Champion Barry Sheene in particular, Kenny won three successive 500cc world titles for Yamaha. That was just the start. He took on the organisers and promotors who had shown so little respect for fellow riders’ safety and welfare. Together with journalist Barry Coleman they threatened, with the support of all the top riders, to form a rival World Series in 1980. It never happened, but the very threat brought a 500% prize fund rise and a massive increase in all aspects of safety.

Kenny had built the bridge across the Atlantic for the American riders to compete. So much talent arrived in the opposite direction to the Pilgrim Fathers. They loved those fearsome 500cc two-stroke rocket ships. World titles flowed for Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz and his own son Kenny Junior. It was the golden age for America but slowly the source of talent started to dry up.  Nicky Hayden was the last American World Champion in 2006. Ben Spies was the last Grand Prix winner in 2011. For a while unbelievably there were no American riders in any of the Grand Prix classes, but then along came Joe Roberts. That second Moto2™ win gave him a competitive chance of winning the World title and a real opportunity to move up to the MotoGP™ class.

All my ideas were blown apart on Friday afternoon. The unfortunate Roberts crashed and broke his collarbone in Moto2™ practice. The OnlyFans American Racing Team rider was declared unfit, but hopefully will be back for the Sachsenring.

While walking my dog Candy, after watching the demolition of the Tissot Sprint race by Bagnaia, I had another inspiration. Later that afternoon Italy were playing Switzerland in the knock-out stages of the European football Championship. Compare the European Champions defence of their title to that of the defence of their World title by Bagnaia and his Lenovo Ducati team. At Mugello they switched from the traditional Ducati red to Azzurri blue to show their support to the national team.

Two hours later it was back to square one. Switzerland comfortably beat the Champions who were on their way home after a two-nil defeat. Pecco, your brilliance saved the day. I have got some ideas for the Sachsenring, but I think it is best I keep them to myself as I can’t keep relying on the World Champion.