Assen is the only circuit that remains since the inception of the GP championship back in 1949. 50 years ago, road circuits were much different that what we see today. In those days, a road course was really a course on a road. There are many...
Assen is the only circuit that remains since the inception of the GP championship back in 1949. 50 years ago, road circuits were much different that what we see today. In those days, a road course was really a course on a road. There are many things that make Assen special. The circuit was built specifically for motorcycles, which explains why it is smooth and has lots of grip (lots of wet grip, which is very important). The Dutch TT is run on Saturday instead of Sunday. This follows a long tradition which was imposed in order to not conflict with Sunday's religious duties. It's the only round in the calendar to keep the old TT (tourists trophy) reference used in the early days.
As a result, it's no surprise it's referred to as "The Cathedral". Rain and Assen go together like cake and icing, and today was no surprise. Sete, the fish, Gibernau took provisional pole position with authority by gaping second place by 1.2 seconds with a time of 2:12.540.
Gibernau's performance in the wet should come as no surprise, Alex Barros and Ruben Xaus sitting on provisional front row should however. The Brazilian and the Spaniard were only separated by one tenth.
An even bigger surprise was Michel Fabrizio's performance. Riding the WCM R1 prototype, Fabrizio qualified fourth, leading the second row. Qualifying fifth was former WSBK Champion, Troy Bayliss with a time of 2:14.107. Rounding up the second row is Carlos Checa.
Third row is led by Valentino Rossi, followed by Americans, Colin Edwards and Kenny Roberts Jr.
The forecast for Friday looks much like today. However, Saturday may be dry. Since all of the testing and qualifying will be on the wet, if Saturday turns to be dry, it will test the bikes' and teams' ability to setup a bike for a dry race. Which in turn, will make Saturday's TT/GP much more exciting.