Assen: Yamaha preview

Yamaha head to the iconic Assen TT circuit for round four Assen circuit The Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team head to Assen this week for round four of the World Superbike Championship. The team prepare for the Dutch round with renewed ...

Yamaha head to the iconic Assen TT circuit for round four

Assen circuit The Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team head to Assen this week for round four of the World Superbike Championship. The team prepare for the Dutch round with renewed confidence following rider James Toseland's first podium of the year last week in Valencia and a second Superpole of the season by Cal Crutchlow, signalling both sides of the garage have made significant improvements in making use of the increased performance of the 2010 WSB R1. Toseland's podium in particular was key in moving him several places up the championship table, he arrives in Assen now sixth in the standings and looking to go higher this weekend.

Assen is an historic race circuit, although road racing started in the area in 1925, the closed circuit itself was first located there in 1955. It's undergone a number of changes since that day, including a major redesign in 2006, with the exception of the finish line which has never moved. The typical characteristics of the track include fast flat out corners and slow corners. For this year a change to the back section of the track with a fast flowing corner means the circuit is now even faster, with national classes already seeing a two second a lap quicker time over the circuit.

"I've always loved racing at Assen," said James Toseland. "I've had some good results and always gone well there. I've won on the Ducati and on the Honda so it would be great to get a win on the Yamaha as well. The bike has come on again from Portugal to Valencia and we knew from the last round what we needed to improve for Assen. We've had to do a lot of work to get competitive but on the positive side there's still room for more and we're not far from the front. We can improve quite a lot more and we're going to be a strong package. On a personal side I always try hard, after the Australia crash where I broke my hand, then my mistake in qualifying in Portugal and missing out on the last Superpole session in Valencia by a thousandth of a second I thought I was going to have one of those seasons. But to go from ninth to third and be up there fighting at the front was a massive boost of confidence for me and the garage so it was good to reward the hard work of the team with a result."

"I had a good race in Assen last year in Supersport," said Cal Crutchlow, "but it's going to be difficult this weekend as a couple of other teams have tested there already with the new circuit changes including the new faster section at the back. Hopefully in the first free practice we'll get to grips with it. There are some new changes coming this weekend with the bike so let's hope we've made some progress and see how we get on."

Assen technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi, James Toseland's Crew Chief

"We managed to make a major breakthrough at Valencia, and are looking for further improvement. We found a good base engine map with a user friendly torque delivery. We also found a traction control setting that uses ignition cut, allowing James to control the spin of the rear tyre. We were on the dyno as early as Monday morning after Valencia to progress further with areas of our electronics. At Assen we will concentrate on tyre life, especially for warmer conditions, as this was an area we suffered in Valencia. Assen has numerous changes of direction, some at very high speeds so we will be also working on making a quick but stable bike. We will be looking to be on the podium both races as we can't afford to lose any more points for the championship!"

Assen technically speaking according to Marcus Eschenbacher, Cal Crutchlow's Crew Chief

"Assen has more grip than Valencia so it should suit our bike better than the last track. Assen has fast sweeping corners which are banked so you have to set up the bike to suit these areas. The rear end needs enough damping support and spring rate to keep it under control in the long fast corners. We will also try a new clutch to improve our starts which is arriving from Japan. We will also try some new electronic adjustments to help with Cal's starts from the line using the launch control system; these include new ignition mappings for Cal's engine management system."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager

"I think Assen can be a good weekend for us, the characteristics of the track are well suited to our bikes, which is an advantage we have to make the most of. The developments focussed on our electronics areas from the last two races have been steadily progressing forwards which gives me a confidence that we can achieve some good results with both James and Cal. The step forwards with our mapping means we should be able to deliver better corner exits for both riders, and the new clutch we'll be trying this weekend will hopefully mean we can get them off the line quicker to stay at the front in the crucial first corner."

-source: yamaha

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers James Toseland , Cal Crutchlow