TT Assen: Series preview

MotoGP action to intensify at historic Assen The 2010 MotoGP World Championship gathers further momentum this week as the TIM TT Assen heralds the sixth round on the calendar. Taking a 37-point Championship lead into the Grand Prix is Jorge ...

MotoGP action to intensify at historic Assen

The 2010 MotoGP World Championship gathers further momentum this week as the TIM TT Assen heralds the sixth round on the calendar. Taking a 37-point Championship lead into the Grand Prix is Jorge Lorenzo, and the Spaniard will aim to turn the screw further as he chases a fourth win of the season having finished inside the top two in every race so far.

Just six days after his win at Silverstone Lorenzo will attempt to replicate the three previous victories he has scored at the Dutch circuit (two in 250, one in 125), and last season the Fiat Yamaha rider finished second at Assen on his way to runner-up spot in the 2009 Championship.

Pushing ever harder for his first win of the campaign will be Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso however, after the Italian's second place in the previous round lifted him to second spot in the standings -- his highest position since joining the premier class. Dovizioso is also in a rich vein of form, having scored four podiums in the opening five rounds, and has a best finish of fifth at Assen from his debut season in the elite class.

Just five points behind him team-mate Dani Pedrosa will be targeting a bounce back from eighth place at Silverstone, and he has two podiums in the premier class at Assen, the most recent being second place in 2008. It was also the site of the Spaniard's first ever World Championship win in the 125cc class in 2002.

Nicky Hayden again missed out on a podium as he took his fourth fourth place of the season, and prior to last year he had finished inside the top four at Assen for four successive years which included victory in 2006. His Ducati Marlboro team-mate Casey Stoner is also still in search of a first podium of 2010, and has been inside the top three at Assen for the last three years, delivering Ducati their first MotoGP win there in 2008. His aim will be a repeat in an attempt to improve on his current standing of eighth.

Randy de Puniet had a fine weekend at Silverstone as he took his first front row grid start in three years, and last season at Assen he was the first Honda rider across the line in seventh. The LCR Honda rider is sixth, just six points behind Hayden and is the highest placed private team rider at the moment.

Fresh off the back of his first MotoGP podium in Britain, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies continues his learning curve in the premier class which appears to be making rapid progress, whilst San Carlo Honda Gresini pair Marco Melandri -- who became the youngest ever GP winner at the time when he took victory in the 125cc race in 1998 -- and Marco Simoncelli are both level on 32 points in the Championship.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took his best dry weather result of last season at Assen with fourth and will want to up his current points haul, as will Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Aspar), Aleix Espargaro, Mika Kallio (both Pramac Racing) and Rizla Suzuki pair Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista.

Interwetten Honda MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama will be absent following a crash in the warm up session at Silverstone in which the Japanese rider fractured a vertebra and will be replaced by Kousuke Akiyoshi, Honda's test rider, for the race. Valentino Rossi continues his recovery from a broken right leg. Italian legend Giacomo Agostini will be present as a guest of Yamaha and will ride some display laps on his 1975 YZR500 OW23 machine.

The TIM TT Assen takes place from June 24th-26th, with the opening MotoGP practice session starting at 1.55pm local time on Thursday.

-source: motogp

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Ben Spies , Randy de Puniet , Giacomo Agostini , Marco Melandri , Hector Barbera , Alvaro Bautista , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Marco Simoncelli , Casey Stoner , Kousuke Akiyoshi , Mika Kallio , Hiroshi Aoyama , Aleix Espargaro , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Pramac Racing , Tech 3