Assen is a Grand Prix myth. The Dutch circuit traces its heritage right back to the dawn of Grand Prix racing and is considered one of the most challenging venues of the MotoGP calendar. Of course, the circuit has changed throughout its long life.
Assen is a Grand Prix myth. The Dutch circuit traces its heritage right back to the dawn of Grand Prix racing and is considered one of the most challenging venues of the MotoGP calendar. Of course, the circuit has changed throughout its long life. In fact, a new renovation program has begun which should guarantee Assen stays a classic track well into the 21st century. For the Repsol YPF Honda team, Assen brings back mixed memories. The track as we knew it until this year could be extremely dangerous due to its cambered turns and very complex layout. Assen is a place that rewards riding skill but also requires horsepower.
Alex Crivillé is very aware of the potential risks, and rewards, that Assen can bring. In 1992, for his first year of 500 GP racing, Crivillé won his first 500 race there. In 1995, Assen gave Crivillé his first 500 pole. But in 1997, the circuit turned against him. Crivillé crashed in practice, severely injuring his left hand. The crash ended Crivillé¹s bid for the 1997 title.
"The Cathedral", as Assen is also known, is also an important circuit for the other two Repsol YPF Honda riders. Last year, Tadayuki Okada won the race and Sete Gibernau finished third. This year it may be harder for them to reach such excellent results. The Repsol YPF Honda team has been struggling with some technical problems since the start of the year and hasn¹t had as much to smile about as usual. Crivillé won at Le Mans but is still searching for the kind of man-machine balance that won him the 1999 world championship. "It¹s true that this year things are not going as well as we expected," Crivillé admits. "I had hoped to get back on the right track at Catalunya, two weeks ago, but once again luck was not on my side. Now, I¹m aiming for a much better result at Assen. Despite my accident there, I really like the circuit and I¹ve had some very successful races there."
The Catalunya Grand Prix also brought disappointment for Sete Gibernau. "Although I didn¹t finish the race, I was back up front and fighting for the top positions," recalls Gibernau. "That felt really good and means that I¹ll be feeling a lot more confident going to Assen. It now looks like we¹ve finally found some answers to our problems. All we need is a little luckŠ" As usual, Tadayuki Okada has managed to grit his teeth through the difficult times and continue to be a tough competitor. Catalunya was also a difficult race for him. "We bet on the wrong tyre choice at Catalunya," Okada said. "Now I just can¹t wait for Assen to start turning things around for me and my team."
<pre> Length: 6.049 metres Race distance: 120.98 kilometers
Fastest lap in 1999: Tadayuki Okada 2¹02.471 Circuit Record lap ¹91: Kevin Schwantz 2¹02.443
STARTING GRID IN 1999 1. T. Okada 2¹01.564 2. J. Kocinski 2¹01.856 3. K. Roberts 2¹02.082 4. A. Crivillé 2¹02.131 5. M. Biaggi 2¹02.308 6. S. Gibernau 2¹02.393 7. A. Barros 2¹02.458 8. N. Abe 2¹02.630 9. C. Checa 2¹02.765 10. N. Aoki 2¹02.890 11. J. Borja 2¹02.909 12. T. Harada 2¹02.938 13. J. Vd. Goorbergh 2¹03.189 14. R. Laconi 2¹03.509 15. J. Whitham 2¹03.613 16. L. Cadalora 2¹04.143 17. JL. Cardoso 2¹04.180 18. H. Aoki 2¹04.327 19. S. Gimbert 2¹05.207 20. G. McCoy 2¹05.714 21. M. Willis 2¹06.279 22. M. Ober 2¹06.796 23. M. Rutter 2¹08.249
RACE RESULTS IN 1999 1 T. Okada 41¹12.732 2 K. Roberts 41¹20.048 3 S. Gibernau 41¹20.136 4 N. Aoki 41¹23.673 5 M. Biaggi 41¹23.712 6 N. Abe 41¹29.003 7 J. Kocinski 41¹30.080 8 J. Borja 41¹38.682 9 H. Aoki 41¹38.846 10 A. Barros 41¹43.863 11 T. Harada 41¹48.770 12 R. Laconi 41¹53.748 13 J. vd Goorbergh 41¹53.829 14 S. Gimbert 42¹17.415 15 G. McCoy 42¹23.213 16 JL. Cardoso 42¹33.728 17 M. Willis 43¹13.705 Not Classified A. Crivillé 8¹20.215
2000 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1 K. Roberts 125 2 C. Checa 100 3 N. Abe 85 4 L. Capirossi 73 5 N. Aoki 72 6 G. McCoy 61 7 A. Crivillé 59 8 V. Rossi 57 9 A. Barros 52 10 T. Okada 43 11 R. Laconi 43 12 J. McWilliams 38 13 J. vd Goorbergh 38 14 M. Biaggi 31 15 T. Harada 22 16 S. Gibernau 16