MotoGP: Up To Our Assen In Previews

Press Release | June 22, 2010

The following is from Honda…Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) return to the Netherlands for the Dutch TT on the legendary Circuit van Drenthe where they’ll work to continue Honda’s impressive record of a podium finish in every grand prix of the 2010 MotoGP season as it now heads into its most intense stretch.A change of venues didn’t bother Dovizioso in England. One year after his breakthrough win in the rain-hit British Grand Prix at Donington Park, Dovizioso scored a brilliant second place in the first British GP at Silverstone since 1986. The Italian swapped second with fellow Honda rider Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) for the first 10 of 20 laps before seizing the position for good on lap 11. Once in second, Dovizioso became the rabbit for a pack of riders that would number five as the race entered the crucial final few laps. The 24-year-old Italian came under direct attack from Nicky Hayden (Ducati) on the final lap, but Dovi brushed off the move and sped to second.With his fourth podium in five races, Dovizioso was promoted into second in the championship standings behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). Now he heads to Assen “motivated and confident” and hopeful of taking another step forward in the constant development of the Honda RC212V.Team-mate Pedrosa is now third in the championship after a difficult weekend which he’ll put behind by the time practice begins on Thursday for Saturday’s race, the only Saturday race on the calendar. It’s also the second of three races on consecutive weekends. And, after a one week break, the series continues with two more back-to-back races, in Germany and the U.S., making five races in six weeks on two continents.Pedrosa, who’d scored a dominant win at Mugello prior to Silverstone, started quickly in England, but was frustrated to find he couldn’t keep pace with the leaders. From the start of the race he suffered from a lack of rear traction on the track surface, which was a relatively cool 29C.

Though he didn’t achieve the finish he’d hoped for, Pedrosa came away content that a pair of crashes hadn’t affected his race pace.Having finished third and second in Assen, Pedrosa will be looking to climb to the top step of the podium and feels that the Honda RC212V is well suited to Assen. He said that it was “a circuit which requires an agile machine because there are several fast direction changes – as there are at Mugello – so it would be nice if we get another result like in Italy.”De Puniet continues to impress in what is his best season to date. The LCR Honda rider put his Honda RC212V into the mix with the factory riders in Silverstone and will be looking for more of the same in Holland. The Frenchman likes the flowing nature of the 4.555kms track, which he believes has a number of corners that have the same feel as the best of Silverstone. With five races run, de Puniet is the highest placed non-factory rider, currently sixth in the points standings.


Team-mates Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) arrive in Holland after divergent fortunes in the United Kingdom. Melandri was off to a flying start when he fell on the first lap, an outcome he’s happy to be able to so quickly brush off. Simoncelli was in the thick of the battle for second until the final few laps when he secured seventh place, his best MotoGP finish to date and the fourth race in a row where he’d improved his finishing position. Assen will be yet another circuit that the class rookie will be seeing for the first time from the saddle of a MotoGP machine, but his ability to adapt quickly on a track where he’s finished on the podium the past two years should serve him well.Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) will miss the Dutch TT after suffering a fracture of the T12 vertebra in a vicious high-side in the Silverstone Sunday morning warm-up. Following a preliminary examination at the track’s medical center, the decision was made to transfer Aoyama to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.The Japanese rider is expected to return to his European base in Barcelona on Tuesday to get a second opinion. Only then will a course of action for his rehabilitation and date for his return to racing be determined. Further updates are expected in the coming days.The Moto2 World Championship produced the tightest racing of its short existence at Silverstone. The class, which features control Honda engines in prototype frames, was designed for close racing and none was closer than Silverstone’s. First to fourth was separated by only .520s with the margin of victory a scant .057s. And fifth through eighth was covered by only .438s.Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing Suter) took his first win in a race that had eight lead changes at the line, the final one coming on the last lap. Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2) made a mistake while defending his lead on lap 18 with Cluzel taking advantage and becoming the fourth different winner in five races. Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar, Suter) was third, with Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Suter) a shadow fourth. Cluzel’s teammate Claudio Corti, one of five race leaders, crashed out of second on the penultimate lap.Championship leader Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) had a season worst finish at Silverstone, finishing 10th after qualifying 18th. Still, on the strength of his two wins, in Jerez and Le Mans, he maintains the championship lead with 80 points to 65 for Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter). Elias believes dry track time is paramount at Assen, so he and the team can find the optimal settings for the sixth race of the year. Tomizawa, the winner of the first ever Moto2 race in Qatar, did well to finish sixth and in the thick of the four rider battle for fifth. The Japanese rider lost valuable practice and qualifying time with a pair of crashes, which are especially damaging because class rules mandate the use of only one motorcycle. This will be only his second visit to Assen and he also knows he’ll have to maximize his track time, which means no crashes. Luthi’s second in Silverstone, his best finish of the year, kept him third in the championship with 58 points.Marcel Schrötter (Interwetten Honda 125) is determined to finish in the points for the third time this season. One key to that is qualifying.

In Silverstone he was 20th on the grid and wasn’t able to mount a sustained challenge for a points-paying position. But on track he knows well and likes, the German believes he can add to his championship tally.The 2010 running of the Dutch TT is the 62nd at the only circuit to host a grand prix since the birth of the World Championships in 1949. Assen was always known as ‘The Cathedral,’ a flowing, high-speed track that demanded concentration to link the various corners and bravery into the final chicane where races were often decided in full view of the always packed main grandstands. The track has been gradually shortened and the most recent changes, in 2006, took away some of the circuit’s personality, though the final section and chicane remain. Adding to the Dutch experience is the unpredictable weather. It will almost certainly rain at some point on the weekend, though the track drains well, which makes for exciting wet weather racing.European marques won every race from 1949 to 1965 before Honda’s breakthrough win in 1965 with the legendary Jim Redman. A year later Mike “The Bike” Hailwood won the last of his four Assen titles, and first on a Honda, by beating the great Giacomo Agostini on the 7.704kms layout. Randy Mamola gave Honda their next two victories, in 1984 and ’85 on the now 6.134kms circuit. World Champions Wayne Gardner, Alex Criville, Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi, and Nicky Hayden have also won for Honda in Assen, along with several others, including Tady Okada, Sete Gibernau, and Alex Barros. From 1984 through 2009, Honda is the wins leader with 15, by far the most of any manufacturer. Hayden’s 2006 victory came on the 4.555kms track, shortened from 5.997kms the previous year.HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTESAndrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) says: “We go to Assen very motivated. After the second place in Silverstone on a new track, we look forward to race on the historical track of Assen. It’s not one track that I particularly like after the modifications, but we feel strong and we will be strong also there. The characteristics of the circuit are not so favourable for us, because it has a lot of corners with high speed, but we are really confident and we look forward to do another step forward. We are improving race after race, so I’m happy and we will work hard to be faster and be able to fight for the win.”Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) says: “It’s good that we are going to Assen straight after Silverstone because it gives me and the team an early opportunity to put the last race behind us and work towards another strong result like we had at Mugello. We will learn from what happened at the British Grand Prix and then move on. It’s fortunate that I’m not hurt after Silverstone and I’m confident we can get right back on the pace this weekend. Assen is a good track – even if it was better before they changed it a few years ago – and I like riding there. It’s a circuit which requires an agile machine because there are several fast direction changes – as there are at Mugello – so it would be nice if we get another result like in Italy. The team is working really hard and I’m confident we can make a good start in first practice at Assen and have a competitive weekend. The crowds and the history create a special atmosphere at Assen so I’m looking forward to getting out on track again.”Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) says: “I like the Assen circuit very much as it is a floating track and suits my riding style; some corners are the same as the Silverstone track. Last year I finished seventh, but I presume we can get a better result this year because I can rely on my machine. Assen could be another good track for us to maintain the sixth position in the classification.”Marco Melandri (San Carlo Gresini Honda) says: “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.”


Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Gresini Honda) says: “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.”The following is from Yamaha…Having barely had time to catch their collective breath after Jorge Lorenzo’s brilliant MotoGP win at Silverstone in the UK yesterday, the Fiat Yamaha Team arrives at Assen in the Netherlands today to set-up for the Dutch TT, which celebrates its 80th Anniversary this weekend. As tradition dictates the race is always held on the last Saturday in June, after which the paddock heads directly to Barcelona for the third race in this punishing triple-header.Once again the team will be missing Valentino Rossi, with the Italian now entering his third week of recuperation at home in Italy following his accident at Mugello. Lorenzo however is doing a superb job of steering the ship single-handedly and he now holds a 37-point lead in the championship over Andrea Dovizioso. Three wins and two second places from just five races is impre ssive even when compared to Rossi’s soaring standards and the imperious way in which the young Mallorcan won on Sunday is proof that he is running at the top of his game as the season heats up. The 23-year-old finished a strong second to his team-mate at Assen last year and has two 250cc and one 125cc wins there to his name as well, claiming it as one of his favourite tracks.Assen has long been thought of as a somewhat magical track in the minds of Grand Prix racers and it remains a popular destination today, despite undergoing some drastic alterations a few years ago. It is still one of the most physically demanding circuits on the calendar and, with its constant twists and turns, is also one of the most technical. It was originally based around the public roads and the camber changes in some places still reflect that. These, added to the high-speed chicanes, traditionally favour the nimble Yamaha M1. The 80th Anniversary of TT racing at the tra ck is the 62nd time it has formed a part of the Grand Prix World Championship and it remains the only track on the calendar that has held a race every year since the Championship’s inception.Jorge Lorenzo”MY FAVOURITE TRACK””We have started this run of three races in a row as perfectly as we could have wished and Silverstone was a great race and very important for the championship. But now we move on and we just have to try to continue in the same way. Next we arrive at Assen, my favourite track, and once again we’re aiming for the podium. The team is working very well together and now we will just concentrate on trying to improve the M1 even more; it’s important to keep growing. I’ve won at Assen in 125 and 250 so I’d really like to try to win in MotoGP!”Wilco Zeelenberg”WE CANNOT RELAX””Jorge likes Assen a lot and he and our whole team are going there feeling very strong. We have no worries with the bike and a comfortable cushion in the championship. That said we cannot relax and Jorge must stay focused at this busy time of the championship, which I am sure he will. Of course the weather is always a question in Assen but we were lucky in Silverstone so hopefully we will find the same in Holland.”The following is from Ducati…The Ducati MotoGP Team makes the short trip from the UK to Holland this week as the legendary Assen circuit prepares to host the 80th edition of the Dutch TT this Saturday. The sixth race of the season comes in the middle of an intense period of races for the MotoGP world Championship, which moves directly to Spain next weekend for the GP of Catalunya.Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden are happy for the opportunity to get back on track so quickly, however, with both riders still feeling like they have a lot to prove on the Desmosedici GP10. The pair have special MotoGP memories of Assen with podiums and victories to their names there – Hayden having taken the win in 2006 and Stoner in 2008.CASEY STONER, Ducati MotoGP Team

“I have made some mistakes at times this year and at other times we have struggled to find the right set-up but for one reason or another things have not worked out as they should done despite the fact we have had opportunities to do well and even win races. We have the pace, we have a competitive technical package and the whole team is doing a great job, as always, so hopefully we can put everything together at Assen. We found a good set-up in the warm-up last Sunday – we could have maybe done with a little more grip but in general I was happy with the bike so in theory we should be on the pace in Holland too. I don’t want to make any predictions, just keep working well with my team and see if together we can turn this situation around.”NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati MotoGP Team

“Assen is a unique and special circuit and I have had some of my best races there. It has been changed a lot over the years – some sections are better and some are worse – but there are a lot of long sweeping corners and the grip is good so you can use it to generate speed. The best part of the track is the last “left-right” switch, a place where you can make a decisive pass on the brakes if you get it right. I’m not happy with the result from Silverstone and at Assen I’d love to be able to take advantage of our recent progress with the set-up of the bike to get a better result.”VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager

“Whenever I think of Assen I smile because it was the track I made my final World Supersport win at as a rider and because both our riders have won there in MotoGP! Joking aside, even though the latest modifications have taken a little of the excitement away it is still a nice track, similar to Silverstone in the way the corners link together but without the bumps and with good grip. Since we found a good set-up for the British track we hope we can start practice well on Thursday and make the most of the potential we know we have for the race.”THE TRACK

This weekend marks the 80th edition of the Dutch TT, which also formed part of the first World Championship season back in 1949 and has stayed on the calendar ever since. In 2006 the track under went major alterations, with the removal of the majority of the Northern Loop section, making way for the TT World fans’ area. The rest of the circuit retains much of its original character, making it one of the most technical and physically demanding tracks on the calendar. Unlike a lot of other circuits, which feature long straights and medium-fast corners, Assen is tight, flowing and characterised by high-speed corners and quick changes in direction. Even the surface is unusual, with many sections cambered in the style of a public road to aid drainage, which is often required due to the frequently inclement weather.

By Press Release