'THE CATHEDRAL' BECKONS SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI TEAM TO HOLLAND For more than a decade the final Saturday in June has meant only one thing for the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team -- the Dutch TT at the legendary Assen circuit. Known in Europe as...
'THE CATHEDRAL' BECKONS SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI TEAM TO HOLLAND
For more than a decade the final Saturday in June has meant only one thing for the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team -- the Dutch TT at the legendary Assen circuit. Known in Europe as 'The Cathedral' of motorcycle racing, Assen is the only circuit on the MotoGP calendar that has hosted a round of the World Championship since its inception back in 1949. This weekend's Grand Prix is the first of four in just five weekends for the MotoGP class, with races at Laguna Seca, Sachsenring and Donington Park set to follow before a well-earned summer break.
It promises to be a crucial period for the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team riders Alex De Angelis and Toni Elias, who have the opportunity to make up ground on their rivals after a crucial day of testing following the last race in Barcelona. Both riders have been troubled all season by a lack of rear grip and currently lie 13th and 14th respectively in the championship standings, but they are optimistic of climbing the table thanks to progress made with the set-up of their machines in the one-day session.
Over the years since the first running of the Dutch TT, which began much earlier than the World Championship, in 1925, the original road circuit was gradually altered, initially reduced some 59 years ago from 16km to 7.7km. In 1984 it was reduced further, to a little over 6km, before more alterations in 2006 saw it adapted to its current configuration, with the removal of the North Loop bringing the total length down to just 4.5km.
#15 ALEX DE ANGELIS
" I love Assen because it's so fast, as is Laguna Seca, so I'm looking forward to the next two races with optimism. I know the results this season are not as good as the same stage one year ago but the races are much closer and I truly believe that with some small steps forward with the setting of the bike we can make up a lot of positions on the guys in front of us. It is vital that we keep this in mind, stay positive and continue to work because if you drop your guard in this series you can suddenly find yourself behind. I have a great record at Assen in the 250cc class but I crashed out of my first MotoGP race here last year on the opening lap so I want to make up for that with a solid performance this time around."
#24 TONI ELIAS
"Assen has always been my favourite circuit because it is technical, fast and flowing, although it hasn't always been kind to me. I missed the race completely in 2005 because of injury and then the year after that I crashed after just two laps of free practice and broke and dislocated my left shoulder. Then in 2007 I crashed again in free practice and broke my leg! Last year was the first time I had raced on the modified circuit and I finished twelfth, so hopefully that ended the jinx and we can look forward to a much better result this time around. We have been struggling for rear grip this season but we made some progress in the test at Barcelona after the race. It will be very interesting to see how these improvements transfer to Assen because I really feel like we deserve a top result after all the hard work the whole team is putting in."
FAUSTO GRESINI -- TEAM MANAGER
"Our results so far this season have not been good enough but the positive thing is that the whole team has shown their resilience and desire to continue working hard, as was evident in the test at Barcelona. We are working within our means and that is all I can ask of my staff. The goal for the rest of the season is to build and improve so that is all I am looking for in Holland. This is a legendary event and we have some great memories of this circuit, so hopefully a little bit of the magic can rub off on us again this weekend."
-credit: gresini racing