The legendary TT circuit at Assen continues its proud history of hosting a round of the MotoGP World Championship every year since its inception this weekend, with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini feeling confident and content. Marco Simoncelli ...
The legendary TT circuit at Assen continues its proud history of hosting a round of the MotoGP World Championship every year since its inception this weekend, with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini feeling confident and content.
Marco Simoncelli travels to Holland looking to confirm and continue his recent progress at a circuit that has been chopped and changed in recent seasons. The rookie gave another demonstration of his potential at Silverstone on Sunday, when he lapped with some of the best in the business for the majority of the race. The next step will no doubt be the hardest as the youngster shifts his objectives towards a first podium.
One man who had the podium in his sights at Silverstone was Marco Melandri although an early mistake put paid to his chances. The Italian remains confident that he is finding a good way forward with his Honda RC212V and even though there is a lot of work still to be done there were signs from the first session on the English circuit that the breakthrough has been made.
Assen remains the 'Cathedral' of motorcycle racing despite the numerous modifications to the track over the years. The original road circuit that hosted the Dutch TT for the first time back in 1925 has been vastly reduced in length over the years. In 1984 it was taken back to a little over 6km and further alterations in 2006, including the redesigning of the Northern Loop, left the length at a little over 4.5km whilst another small change for this year has shaved off a further 13 metres to leave it at exactly 4.54km.
Marco Simoncelli "I'm starting to feel really good on the bike and I hope to continue with this progression. I have a seventh place finish under my belt and I am finding the right level of confidence with the bike. What I need to do now is be more consistent when the tyre performance drops over the last few laps but overall things are looking positive. Assen is a circuit I like and I hope I can improve on my result from Silverstone and take another leap forward. My past results at the Dutch TT haven't been brilliant -- I remember I was leading one year in 125 and crashed on the last lap after touching with Luthi and was third for the past couple of years in 250. However, as I said it's a circuit I like so I hope to have a good race there. Apart from the first hairpin it should suit the Honda so I am confident."
Marco Melandri "I feel much more confident going to Assen than I have done about the past few races. We had a great weekend at Silverstone up until a small mistake in the race. Finally on the Sunday morning at Mugello we found a better base setting to work from and I am sure we are going to be more competitive in the upcoming races so I'm happy. My opinion of Assen is that they spoiled it in 2005 and I don't like it as much but they have made the corner around the back of the paddock faster now so I prefer it. After the first three turns the track is quite flowing so it should be a place that suits our bike well."
Fausto Gresini "We head to another circuit that should suit the Honda. Assen is a place our riders like and it comes around at a time when things are not going badly for us and I'm sure we can take on the challenge in Holland with the same spirit we had at Silverstone. We will be able to make our concolusions when the race is over but I am definitely feeling positive about the trip to Assen. At Silverstone Simoncelli had a great race and proved that he is making constant progress, whilst unfortunately Melandri missed a fantastic opportunity because he had good pace and could have surely been in the fight for the podium. Despite the crash he is in good spirits and feels sure he has his confidence in the bike back. Assen is his chance to make up for the mistake. For myself the overriding memory of this circuit was Capirossi's victory in 1999 after a great fight with Valentino Rossi. "
-source: gresini racing