A year ago, Valentino Rossi had the crowds at the TT Circuit Assen go wild as he delivered a stunning victory. He is eager to enhance his key protagonist status again this year, and has his eyes fixed on the top step of the podium to celebrate Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.’s 63rd anniversary in style.
The Doctor holds a very impressive record on Dutch soil, having assembled eight wins in the premier class (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017) as well as victories in the 250cc (1998) and 125cc class (1997). Based on these statistics, he feels confident he can decrease the 27-point gap from his second place in the championship standings to first.
After a challenging weekend at his home GP a fortnight ago, Maverick Viñales made a good step at the one-day Catalunya test the Monday after, working on opening laps and riding with a full tank. He arrives in Assen holding third place in the standings and is set on making up for last year’s DNC.
The young Spaniard is well acquainted with the Assen rostrum from his time spent in the lower classes. He stood on the steps four times in total, having secured a 125cc win (2011), a Moto3 victory and second place (2012 and 2013), and a Moto2 second place (2014). This weekend he plans to return to the podium as a premier class rider and start bridging the 38-point margin to the leader in the rankings.
The TT Assen Circuit is often referred to as ‘The Cathedral of Speed’ and is loved amongst the majority of the racers, Rossi and Viñales being two of its biggest fans. The circuit was especially built for the Dutch GP in 1955 (previous events were held on public roads) and has staged a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since.
The current Assen track measures 4.5km and is known to be technical, with rapid changes in direction, a mixture of high-speed and low-speed corners (six left, twelve right), no elevation changes, and has more than 100,000 enthusiastic fans visiting the event every year.