Assen, perfect setting for revenge by the Repsol riders
There is no time to waste. The consequences of the rain soaked Britsh GP are still affecting the teams and riders but another race is upon them: Assen will be the venue for another battle in the title fight -- where once again the big stars will be the leader Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa. Although the reigning World Champion, Nicky Hayden, is finally getting the hang of his new bike and can be seen among the leaders.
This the ninth date of the season will be a sort of revenge for the Repsol riders who did not have a good weekend at Donington Park. Pedrosa started the race at the British circuit strongly but in the end had to make do with eighth position. On the other hand, Hayden fell when he was among the race leaders but finished seventeenth.
But both he and Pedrosa know what it is like to perform well in the Dutch GP. Last year the American won afer a very tough battle with Colin Edwards, with the two overtaking each other many times and with one of them going off the track on the final lap. Pedrosa rounded off a good weekend for the Repsol Honda Team with a fantastic third place.
The 250cc category also has a a whiff of revenge in the air. Julian Simon will want to demonstrate that he has a place on the podium, something that was taken away from him in the UK by a fall. In spite of this unlucky incident, Alberto Puig" pupil was capable of getting back on his bike and fighting back to finish seventh. Both he and Shuhei Aoyama will be fighting to get back among the leading positions in Holland.
Bradley Smith and Esteve Rabat must also be thinking about more of the same. The two young riders in the 125cc category are rapidly gaining experience and will want to return to rub shoulders with the stars in this class. Both know what it is like to finish on the podium and they will be hoping to make up for the disappointments they experienced in the rain at Donington Park last weekend.
The World Championship in the Cathedral
Assen is known in the world of racing as the Cathedral since it is one of the legendary circuits in the calendar. This is because since 1949 when the World Championship started it has always been the venue of a GP race. The track in the Netherlands is part of the living history of motorcycling, where the skills of the rider on the twisty track are more important than the motorbike.
Assen is special ever since it became a fixture in the calendar; the race is held on a Saturday instead of a Sunday and the public which packs out the stands is especially fanatic. The Dutch circuit lives and breathes competition, respect, nostalgia and just oozes passion. Winning here means that you enter the elite in the world of motorcycling and all the riders know it.
The circuit of Assen is one of the most difficult around, a demanding circuit because of the curves and chicanes. It is one of the longest in the calendar, and so any loss of concentration, owing to the narrowness of the track and the changes of direction, can have very expensive consequences. The ability of the riders will be the key in the fight for a victory.
The overriding characteristic of the Assen track is the diversity of the curves, 17 in total (6 left-handers and 11 right-handers). Although the most spectacular zone is the final curve before the home straight where the victory will be decided.