DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM DASHES TO DUTCH TT The Ducati Marlboro Team dashes across the English Channel for Saturday's Dutch TT, the fourth MotoGP event in just five weekends and the 2007 World Championship's halfway point. Casey Stoner's brilliant...
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM DASHES TO DUTCH TT
The Ducati Marlboro Team dashes across the English Channel for Saturday's Dutch TT, the fourth MotoGP event in just five weekends and the 2007 World Championship's halfway point. Casey Stoner's brilliant fifth win of the year in last Sunday's damp British Grand Prix increased his series lead to 26 points and takes him to Assen in good spirits. Team-mate Loris Capirossi also goes into the Dutch race in optimistic mood, following a hard-charging ride in Britain.
With eight races gone and ten to go, Ducati continues to lead the constructors' World Championship and the Ducati Marlboro Team is still ahead in the MotoGP teams' World Championship.
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project director
"We go into this race feeling quite optimistic, aiming to be competitive whatever the weather brings, because conditions can be very changeable at Assen, just like they were at Donington. Casey is riding brilliantly, his Donington victory was amazing. Loris also rode a strong race at Donington, and even though he fell we can see that he is feeling better on the bike and growing in confidence. Assen is half distance in the season, but we are not thinking about the championship, we are working at it race by race, always aiming to take the maximum possible from each weekend."
CASEY STONER, World Championship leader on 165 points
"At Donington we again proved that the Ducati has got more than just power. The bike and tyres are working well for me and we are competitive at pretty much every circuit. I'm really enjoying the races and I'm going to keep working at it like that because if you look start looking at the championship maybe you'll get too involved in it. I'm sure there's going to be some great races at Assen this year, but the new circuit is disappointing because the old layout was unbelievable, really good fun to ride. They even ruined what was probably my favourite corner in the world [De Bult], it was a great banked left-hander and now they've flattened it out and destroyed it. Anyway, we were quite competitive there last year. I think I came from 14th or 15th at the first corner to fight for the top three and I got fourth, so it was a really good race for us. I think this year we can go there with slightly higher expectations. The new Assen is really confusing for set-up, it's got flat corners, banked corners, long corners and tight little dinky corners, so it's really hard to find out what you need though you can pretty much go with any bike and it'll work. You have to find the right tyres that will last the race with the right amount of grip."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 9th overall on 57 points
"Assen is always interesting, I still like really it. The new layout isn't too bad, though the old one was much, much better, it was the best track in the world. There's no doubt that they've destroyed some of its character with the shorter layout but anyway it should be good for us and good for our bike. Of course, I've got bad memories from last year when I raced with the injuries I'd received at Barcelona. This year we go there in much better shape, with a good opportunity to get a good result. I may have crashed at Donington last Sunday but overall things are going much better for us now. Our front-end set-up is improving, which is very important for all the high-speed corner entries at Assen. We may also continue working with our new engine spec this weekend - we didn't get the chance to try it at Donington because the weather conditions kept changing. Although the new Assen is very different from the old layout you still need similar bike characteristics - you need stability, good brakes and good front-end feeling. I'm really looking forward to making up for the disappointment of Donington - we will work hard as always and I will do my best as always."
Assen is MotoGP's oldest racetrack, in fact it is the only venue surviving from the motorcycle world championship's inaugural 1949 season. Last year Assen underwent huge change, with much of the northern section lost to make way for a new entertainment and leisure facility, called 'TT World'.
But the remainder of the circuit remains the same as before, which means it still offers a special challenge to MotoGP riders. Unlike most racetracks, which feature wide straights and mostly slow to medium-fast corners, Assen is a narrow, meandering venue, dominated by high-speed corners and rapid direction changes. Its surface is also special, because it is crowned like a public road for improved drainage, whereas other racetracks are flat. This greatly complicates riding, since riders must cope with several changes of camber as they enter and exit most of Assen's corners.
DONINGTON PARK DATA
Lap record: Nicky Hayden (Honda), 1m 37.106s, 168.867km/h-104.929mph
2006 pole position: John Hopkins (Suzuki), 1m 36.411s