The following is from Yamaha...The all-conquering Fiat Yamaha Team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo move north through Europe this weekend for the historic Dutch TT at Assen. Following their show-stopping performance in Spain last time out, which saw Rossi better Lorenzo by just a split second, the pair will be targeting a repeat performance this weekend. With two wins apiece already this season the World Champion and the Leading Rookie of 2008 currently share the championship lead with Casey Stoner - all three are tied on 106 points with six races gone.After two wins this season Rossi is approaching yet another incredible milestone in his charmed career; he now lies on 99 wins and another on Saturday would see him as only the second rider in Grand Prix history to reach 100 wins, the other being the great Giacomo Agostini. The Italian maverick has six victories to his name at the track but has had a turbulent last few years there. Following a brace of wins in his first two years with Yamaha he injured himself in practice in 2006 but rode through the pain to finish eighth, before winning in stunning style from 11th on the grid in 2007. Last year he made a rare mistake and crashed on the first lap but made up a gap of more than 20 seconds with a damaged bike to finish 11th. Following a set-up overhaul in Barcelona the 30-year-old is in blistering form and will be hoping to make it two on the bounce at one of his favourite tracks.Assen is 22-year-old Lorenzo's favourite circuit and the youngster certainly has an impressive track record there, having won there once in 125cc and twice in the 250cc class on the way to his two world championships. He finished sixth there last year but after his stunning performance at home last time out he will not be happy with anything but a return to the podium for the sixth time this season and he will be doing everything possible to take back the advantage from his team-mate following their Montmeló ´¨riller. A hard day's work at the post-race test in Barcelona has put the Mallorcan on an even sounder footing with his M1-Bridgestone package and he is confident that he will once again be a part of the story in Assen.One of the most technically and physically demanding circuits on the calendar for the MotoGP riders, Assen has barely a straight piece of tarmac in sight. Handling is a major focal point due to high-speed chicanes and dramatic camber changes - the latter, in some places, resembling the profile of the public roads that the original circuit was based around - features that have traditionally favoured the nimble YZR-M1.Valentino Rossi - "A special track"
"Assen is a very special track for all riders and it is a wonderful place to ride a MotoGP bike, even if it was better before they changed the layout. Last year I had my worst point of the season there so I want to make up for that with a good performance, because the fans are very passionate and they deserve a good show. After Barcelona we know how strong we are but also our rivals are strong too so we can't afford to relax, we have to keep pushing. Montmeló ·¡s fantastic, one of my best wins ever, but the championship is very close between the three of us and so we have to try to win again to take the lead. There is still a long way to go but we have to remain consistent."Jorge Lorenzo - "My favourite track"
"I could never have imagined after the crash in Jerez that I would have the opportunity to become leader again so quickly, but here we are at the front with Casey and Valentino! The last three races have been fantastic and almost unbelievable, and now for the three of us it's almost like we're starting the championship all over again. Assen is my favourite track and I am going there feeling very confident in my bike and my Bridgestone tyres and with all the team feeling very motivated. Last year I was sixth so the most important thing is to improve on that, but of course I am aiming for another podium, because consistency is the way to remain close to the top of the standings. We had a positive test in Barcelona and now I will hope to show our improvements with an even better performance in Holland."Davide Brivio - "See what happens next!"
"After such a great race in Barcelona we're excited about getting back on track and seeing what happens next! We had a good test after the race and it was well worth the effort to go back out on track, even after such a hard day's racing. We did some good work and collected important information, which we hope will be useful over the next few races, because now we have a very busy period with four races in five weeks. Valentino has had some great races at Assen, last year was a bad moment but we are feeling very strong right now and we're confident that we will be able to put on another great show."Daniele Romagnoli - "On a roll"
"We're approaching Assen on a roll and following a useful day's testing in Barcelona. The race there was fantastic and we were able to make more progress on the Monday in order to improve our setting further for the next five weeks, which will be very intense. We need to keep working and keep focused, as we have since the start of the season, because this year is shaping up to be a great battle of which Jorge is a part. Assen is a totally different track to Montmeló ¡®d Mugello and it will require a different set-up we're confident that we will be able to find a good balance straight away, It's one of Jorge's favourite tracks so we're looking forward to seeing him put on another great show there."The following is from Repsol Honda...The Repsol Honda Team heads to this weekend's Dutch TT at Assen with a spring in its step after the promising results from the test session that followed the last race in Catalunya. With the latest modifications to the RC212V allowing Andrea Dovizioso to set the fastest time of all the MotoGP riders a week ago - significantly quicker than race pace the previous day - hopes are high within the factory Honda squad that both riders will be competing at the front this weekend.
Dovizioso made full use of the modified chassis he tried at the Catalunya test and will be eager to see if the improvements to handling he experienced at the Spanish track will translate to the famous curves of the Assen circuit. The 23-year-old Italian has finished each of the last three races less than a second from the podium and his motivation will be high this weekend. And though he has scored only one podium finish from his previous outings at the Dutch TT - a third place in 2006 in the 250cc class - his determined fight from 11th on the grid to 5th at the finish in the MotoGP race last year proves that Dovizioso has what it takes to master the challenge of Assen.Dani Pedrosa arrives in the Netherlands having taken some valuable time to rest after his remarkable injury-defying performance at the last race in Catalunya. The tough Spaniard is determined to reignite his championship challenge after a tough few weeks. Depending on the feeling from his injured hip as he prepares to take to the track on Thursday, he will decide with his doctors whether to once again make use of painkilling injections this weekend. Pedrosa took his first ever Grand Prix victory at Assen - at the age of just 16 on a 125cc Honda in 2002. In last year's race he retook the lead of the World Championship by finishing second and, if he is able to ride at full pace this weekend, the 23-year-old triple World Champion is sure to figure at the front of the pack.The Dutch TT marks the first of four races in just five weekends and launches the Repsol Honda Team into the busiest part of the 2009 MotoGP season. Dovizioso and Pedrosa, who lie fourth and fifth in the World Championship for the factory Honda squad, know that the next few weeks will do much to shape the outcome of their season. As is traditional, the Dutch TT takes place on the last Saturday of June, meaning that the weekend programme begins a day earlier than usual, with first practice starting at 13.55 on Thursday afternoon.ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - World championship position: 4th, 69 points
"I've been really looking forward to getting back on the bike since we left Catalunya last week. We had a positive test on the Monday after the Barcelona race and that, combined with the constant improvement we've been making race after race, means I'm very confident. So I'm look forward to getting back in the garage with the team, continuing to work on our machine package and to getting a good result in Assen. I've been really close the podium in the last three rounds and at the same time closing the time gap to the race winner, so I'm determined to get into the top three as soon as possible - hopefully this weekend. Assen is not actually one of my favourite tracks though. Since the layout modifications, the fascination of the circuit has been lost a little, but still I have good memories of last year's race where I finished fifth after qualifying 11th. It's a circuit of two sections - the first part is quite slow while the second part is more technically demanding - and the weather can also play its part in the Netherlands too. But whatever happens, I'm looking forward to another strong weekend for me and the team."DANI PEDROSA - World championship position: 5th, 67 points
"Since the race in Barcelona I've basically been resting, trying to give my hip as much chance to improve as possible. Obviously there hasn't been a lot of time - just over one week - but I certainly feel a lot better now than immediately after the last race when I was totally exhausted. I'm feeling positive about the weekend and we'll just have to see how it goes when riding starts on Thursday. My intention would be to ride without receiving any pain-killing injections because gradually they lose their effectiveness and they are not something I want to rely on - we'll see how the feeling is when I start to ride. Assen is a track with good memories for me because I won my first GP here and I've had quite a few podiums here too. The recent changes where they shortened the circuit have removed some of its character but it still requires a lot of commitment to ride it well - especially through the fast direction changes where you need an agile machine set-up. The atmosphere is always special here because it's such a historic place, so I'm looking forward to getting out on track again."The following is from Suzuki...The MotoGP ‘Cathedral' of Assen in the Netherlands awaits Rizla Suzuki this coming Saturday, as the MotoGP field descends upon the famous circuit for the Dutch TT.Chris Vermeulen heads to the land of his ancestors determined to return a good result at the 4,555m Assen circuit. He has had some promising performances at the Dutch track - including pole position in 2007 - but has yet to break into the top-six in a MotoGP race. Vermeulen had a successful post-Catalunya test and will be using many of the improvements he took from there as he prepares his assault for glory.Loris Capirossi will be planning to build upon the form that has seen him take successive fifth places at the last two events. Capirossi is eager to get back on track and carry on from where he left off at Catalunya, believing that a lot of the data collected at the Spanish track will stand him in good stead at Assen. Capirossi will also be determined to extinguish the memory of the crash he suffered at last year's Dutch TT that kept him out of the race and forced him to miss the next MotoGP event.Assen is one of the most famous circuits in Grand Prix racing, and although the venue has altered considerably from the original road track, it is the only location on the current calendar that has staged Grand Prix races since the inception of the championship in 1949. Although numerous changes were made to the present circuit layout in 2007 for safety reasons, it still retains its magic and most riders look forward to racing there.Rizla Suzuki takes to the track for the first free practice session on Thursday afternoon, followed by the second - and final - free session on Friday morning. Vermeulen and Capirossi will be out in the Friday afternoon qualifying session to challenge for the best grid positions for Saturday's race. The 26-lap Assen Grand Prix is the only venue on the MotoGP calendar that holds the race on a Saturday and the main event gets underway at 1400hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).Chris Vermeulen:
"I really look forward to going to Assen. Holland is where my family came from so there are always people around that remember my Grandfather and tell me how they are related to me - so I feel like a bit of me is coming home! We had a good test after the Catalunya race and if we can translate that into the forthcoming weekend then I am sure we can be competitive. I enjoy riding at Assen and I have won there in World Superbikes, but I have never quite got the results I think I've deserved - or certainly wanted - in MotoGP. I hope this will be the weekend when that all changes!"Loris Capirossi:
"I am still very happy from my performance in Catalunya, but this is a whole new race and we have to begin again. We used the new engine specification in Spain and then did a lot of testing with new parts on the Monday so we have a lot of data to use for this weekend. We hope we'll use the new spec engine again at Assen but it is still being developed and Suzuki needs to check everything, so we will just have to wait and see. I really want to carry on with the good progress we are making, especially at Assen because I didn't get the chance to race there last year. I also want to do well for Rizla - they deserve a good result at what is really their 'home' racetrack."The following is from Honda...This weekend the thrilling 2009 MotoGP World Championship goes into action at its most historic event, the Dutch TT at Assen. This year the Assen world round celebrates its sixth decade as a Grand Prix event, indeed it is the only race that survives from the World Championship's inaugural year in 1949.Honda has been winning races at Assen since 1961, when Mike Hailwood and Tom Phillis won the 250 and 125 races, two years after Honda first entered World Championship competition. This year the factory's hopes are in the hands of its fastest riders in the MotoGP and 250 classes - Repsol Honda RC212V riders Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa and Scot Honda RS250RW rider Hiroshi Aoyama.Dovizioso and Pedrosa currently hold fourth and fifth places in the MotoGP points standings, behind series leaders Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and Casey Stoner (Ducati) who are all exactly equal on points after six of 17 races.Dovizioso has been building speed since the start of the season and is knocking on the door of his first podium with the Repsol Honda squad. The 23-year-old Italian has finished fourth at the last three GPs, on each occasion crossing the line tantalisingly close to a third-place finish.At Le Mans he was half a second behind team-mate Pedrosa and at Mugello and Catalunya he was less than a tenth behind Rossi and Stoner. There is no doubt that Dovi is both capable and deserving of a top three at Assen, especially after he topped the post-Catalan GP tests using a modified RC212V chassis.Pedrosa has had a tougher time in recent weeks.The 23-year-old Spaniard had put himself in the thick of the title battle with three consecutive podium finishes at the Japanese, Spanish and French GPs, only to suffer ill luck at the Italian and Catalan GPs. He crashed out at Mugello and then fell again during Catalunya qualifying, heroically riding through the pain barrier to finish sixth. Pedrosa has been resting his injuries since then and is hopeful he will be strong enough to compete at the front at Assen, where he finished second last year.Honda's MotoGP satellite team riders arrive at Assen determined to turn promising progress into better results. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) has had some good runs lately, reinforcing his place as one of the championship's top privateers.Eighth at the last two races, the Frenchman is determined to get closer to the front, as he did at Jerez where he finished a storming fourth.San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Alex De Angelis and Toni Elias continue to work hard at extracting the maximum from their RC212V machines but so far have yet to reap the reward their input deserves. Both men know that they are on the verge of scoring results, they just need another step forward to improve rear grip and a little luck. Things seemed to be looking up for Elias at Catalunya, where he rode brilliantly in qualifying to start from the second row, only to slide off in the race.Italian squad Scot Honda go into their second GP as a two-rider MotoGP team with rookie Yuki Takahashi and newcomer Gabor Talmacsi assigned one RC212V each. Takahashi has had a couple of tough races, falling at Mugello and at Catalunya, where he cracked a finger in his right hand when he fell on the first lap of the race.Talmacsi had a baptism of fire at Catalunya, throwing a leg over a MotoGP bike for the very first time in the opening practice session.
Initially slightly overawed by the 200-plus horsepower machine, the former 125 World Champion was getting up to speed by the end of the weekend and went even faster during the post-race tests.The diminutive Hungarian made crucial machine adjustments during the tests, like moving his seating position forward. Talma loves Assen - he was winner of the 2005 and 2008 Dutch 125 TTs.Assen used to be called ‘The Cathedral' because its sinuous, high-speed layout was the crowning moment of the GP season. But the venue underwent major modifications in 2006, the track shortened from 5.997km (3.726 miles) to 4.555km (2.830 miles). Since then Assen is more like a conventional GP circuit, though the final section of the current track retains some of the old circuit's character with fast, sweeping corners that test rider ability and machine set-up like nothing else.Assen is the only GP circuit to have remained on the calendar since 1949 but the venue is much, much older than that. Races were first held at Assen in the 1920s, though on a different circuit. The current track has hosted races since the 1950s, though the layout has been much modified and gradually reduced in length since then. Assen is the only MotoGP round that goes under the name of a TT, or Tourist Trophy, a common nomenclature for motorsport events in the early 20th century.Honda has won 11 of the last 20 premier-class races at Assen, the marque's last MotoGP victory at the track scored by Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) in 2006, one of the American's two victories on his way to that year's world title.This year's Dutch TT is the start of MotoGP's busiest period, with four races in five weekends.HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTESAndrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) says: "I've been really looking forward to getting back on the bike since we left Catalunya last week. We had a positive test on the Monday after the Barcelona race and that, combined with the constant improvement we've been making race after race, means I'm very confident. So I'm looking forward to getting back in the garage with the team, continuing to work on our machine package and to getting a good result in Assen. I've been really close to the podium in the last three rounds and at the same time closing the time gap to the race winner, so I'm determined to get into the top three as soon as possible - hopefully this
weekend. Assen is not actually one of my favourite tracks though. Since the layout modifications, the fascination of the circuit has
been lost a little, but still I have good memories of last year's race where I finished fifth after qualifying 11th. It's a circuit of two sections - the first part is quite slow while the second part is more technically demanding - and the weather can also play its part in the Netherlands too. But whatever happens, I'm looking forward to another strong weekend for me and the team."Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) says: "Since the race in Barcelona I've basically been resting, trying to give my hip as much chance to improve as possible. Obviously there hasn't been a lot of time - just over one week - but I certainly feel a lot better now than immediately after the last race when I was totally exhausted. I'm feeling positive about the weekend and we'll just have to see how it goes when riding starts on Thursday. My intention would be to ride without receiving any pain-killing injections because gradually they lose their effectiveness and they are not something I want to rely on - we'll see how the feeling is when I start to ride. Assen is a track
with good memories for me because I won my first GP here in 2002 and I've had quite a few podiums here too. The recent changes where they shortened the circuit have removed some of its character but it still requires a lot of commitment to ride it well - especially through the fast direction changes where you need an agile machine set-up. The atmosphere is always special here because
it's such a historic place, so I'm looking forward to getting out on track again."Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) says: "Assen is another amazing track on the MotoGP calendar. I like it very much although it was modified two years ago, which took away some of its character. I have been very fast at Assen in the past - even last year I was fast there but in the beginning of the race Rossi hit me and I ran off the track into the gravel. The straights are not very long and the high corners required speed suit my riding style and my bike set-up. Considering the competitiveness of my machine package and my
positive results at recent races I think we can again finish in the top ten this weekend."Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says: "I love Assen because it's so fast, as is the next track at Laguna Seca, so I'm looking forward to the next two races with optimism. I know the results this season are not as good as the same stage one year ago but the races are much closer and I truly believe that with some small steps forward with the setting of the bike we can make
up a lot of positions on the guys in front of us. It is vital that we keep this in mind, stay positive and continue to work hard, because if
you drop your guard in this series you can suddenly find yourself behind. I have a great record at Assen in the 250cc class but I crashed
out of my first MotoGP race here last year on the opening lap so I want to make up for that with a solid performance this time around."Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says: "Assen has always been my favourite circuit because it is technical, fast and flowing, although it hasn't always been kind to me. I missed the race completely in 2005 because of injury and then the year after that I crashed after just two laps of free practice and broke and dislocated my left shoulder. Then in 2007 I crashed again in free practice and broke my leg! Last year was the first time I had raced on the modified circuit and I finished twelfth, so hopefully that ended the jinx and we can look forward to a much better result this time around. We have been struggling for rear grip this season but we made some progress in the test at Barcelona after the race. It will be very interesting to see how these improvements transfer to Assen because I really
feel like we deserve a top result after all the hard work the whole team has put in."Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda) says: "I never liked Assen too much when I was a 250 rider. But I didn't used to like Barcelona either on a 250, but I have to say that all tracks are different on a MotoGP bike, and this year I've enjoyed tracks I didn't used to like so much. My finger injury stopped me from taking part in the post-race tests at Catalunya but this is not going to affect my performance. We tried some new solutions during the race weekend, so I could express my opinion to the team, so we know what we want."Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) says: "Assen is a circuit I like very much. I'm satisfied with my performance at the GP of Catalunya, and with the job done at the test, the following Monday. Everything is new, for me. But if I continue to progress as I did, I'm confident I can do well in MotoGP. When I first tested the RC212V, I immediately realised it was something totally different from what I used to ride. Sometime I practice with a tuned CBR1000RR, but there is no comparison. I have to say that at the very beginning I was a little scared. But it's been exciting from the first moment. Having tasted a MotoGP bike, I'll never be back to 250. It's great!"