The ‘Cathedral’ beckons as MotoGP touches down in the Netherlands
The MotoGP championship touches down in the Netherlands this week for the Iveco Daily TT at the iconic Assen circuit, a track that is held in such reverence it has earned the title of ‘The Cathedral’. The riders are readying themselves to tackle the 4.542 km circuit with the first free practice sessions beginning tomorrow with the race remaining in its traditional Saturday slot.
The weather is always unpredictable there so we will, as always, work hard from the first session to find a good setup.
The momentum is certainly with Marquez with the championship leaders form this year but out of the main protagonists it is Rossi who is the most successful with eight wins (6 MotoGP, 1 250cc & 1 125cc) with the seven times MotoGP World Champion taking the victory here last year and ending a near three-year barren spell. The victory of Ben Spies in 2011 at the Dutch circuit was the last time any rider other than Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa or Casey Stoner won a MotoGP race.
The circuit holds many special memories for Rossi with the Italian confident that the Yamaha YZR-M1 will suit the track perfectly. Rossi said, “Assen is a great track and a good track for Yamaha. The weather will be very important here. You never know if it will be hot or cold or dry or wet. Last year's race was unforgettable but honestly this year I feel I am strong almost everywhere so we have to try hard to beat the competition.”
Pedrosa looked to be back to his best last time out in Catalunya and narrowly missed out on giving the Repsol Honda team a one-two finish. “It was good to be back at the front and fighting in Catalunya!” Pedrosa said while adding, “I’m looking forward to going to Assen and hope I’m one step fitter again as last year I didn’t really have a good race, so I hope to improve. The weather is usually tricky so you must make the most of any dry track time. I like the track but it’s important to find a good setting and feeling with the tyres as there are a few very fast corners.”
I look forward to racing in Assen; it’s maybe my favorite circuit. It’s a nice layout defined by some quick corners and a short straight that looks good for us, and especially for the Yamaha. In recent years I couldn’t get so many good results but instead I always could find a good set up and ride in my best way. Last season I finished fifth after a surgery on my collarbone and I suffered a lot but finally I could conclude a very special race. Anyway, looking into the future it is the best opportunity to do my best and try to get my first win. We will see!” Lorenzo added.