Iveco Daily Assen TT 2014
Posted on Jun 23, 2014 by Nick Harris
ROUND EIGHT 2014 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY 28 JUNE
After a disastrous last grand prix the British riders are praying for a change of fortune at the cathedral of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, The Van Drenthe circuit in Assen that stages the legendary Iveco Daily Assen TT in Holland on Saturday.
Last year Cal Crutchlow qualified on MotoGP™ pole and finished third in the race behind Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez but the Isle of Man based Midlander returns to the 2.822 mile Van Drenthe circuit in Northern Holland just seeking a decent finish to kick start his first season with Ducati. He was forced out of the Barcelona race with electrical problems and is 16th in the championship.
Bradley Smith has been beset with rear grip problems and finished tenth in Barcelona on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. Just one day later he completed 75 testing laps at the Barcelona circuit and was second fastest to Marc Marquez. His last five grands prix have been tough pushing him down to tenth in the championship and the Oxfordshire rider is looking for a couple of good results before the Summer break.
“Hopefully Assen will be the springboard to get my season back on track. Monday’s test was so positive, as we achieved everything we set out to as well as clarifying a few mysterious problems from Sunday. I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike plus I did 75 laps with my fastest time at the end. We tested a lot of different things such as geometry settings, electronics, engine braking plus a new tyre from Bridgestone. Our main focus of the day was to improve braking stability and the engine-braking situation; we certainly achieved both of these factors. For me to be able to do a 1m 41.2s lap time was really encouraging.”
Last year Scott Redding was second in the Moto2™ race in Assen and returns disappointed with a ruling that he cut a corner in Barcelona which pushed him down to 13th place in what has been a solid start to his MotoGP career riding the GO&FUN Gresini open class Honda. Ulsterman Michael Laverty returns to a circuit he knows well and deserves his first points of the season after some very consistent performance on the Paul Bird Motorsport machine.
World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes also knows Assen well and the 23 year old Lincolnshire rider will be hoping for a crash free weekend on his first Moto2 ride at the legendary venue. He crashed out in Barcelona but has made a promising start to his Moto2 career on the Speed Up machine and lies tenth in the championship. Gino Rea is getting closer and closer to his first championship points of the season and some Dutch rain would be very welcome on Saturday.
The only bright light in Barcelona was the performance of the 19 year old Scotsman John McPhee in the Moto3 race. Riding the SaxoPrint RTG Honda he was ninth after a tremendous four rider battle and after leading at the previous round in Mugello he has the confidence to really push on from his 13th place in the championship. Wiltshire’s Danny Kent continued to struggle on his return to the Moto3 class riding the Red Bull Ajo Husqvarna. He finished 17th in Barcelona and the double grand prix winner knows what he can achieve at this difficult time.
Marquez arrives at the cathedral with a full house
Twenty one year old Marc Marquez arrives at Assen, the cathedral of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, chasing a staggering eighth consecutive victory this season at the legendary Iveco Daily Assen TT on Saturday. In the last two epic grands prix the likes of Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa have thrown everything at the World Champion but the Repsol Honda rider has stood firm to re-write the history books every weekend.
The 2.822 mile Van Drenthe circuit promises to follow those last two epic encounters in Mugello and Barcelona by providing another battle royal at the track where Marquez has a great record in the smaller classes winning the 2010 125 cc race followed by two Moto2 victories. Last year he was second in the MotoGP race behind Valentino Rossi who secured his last grand prix victory at the circuit on which he has won eight times. The 35 year old Movistar Yamaha rider is in superb form with four consecutive podium finishes pushing him into second place in the Championship but still a massive 58 points behind Marquez but five in front of Dani Pedrosa in third.
Pedrosa, Marquez’s team-mate, looked back to his best in Barcelona only finishing third after a touch on the last lap while challenging Marquez for the win. He has only won once at Assen in the 125 cc class in contrast to fourth placed Jorge Lorenzo who has four wins including a MotoGP victory in 2010. Hard on the heels of Lorenzo is fifth placed Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati. The former 250 cc World Champion has done a brilliant job for the Italian factory who are still struggling to be competitive and he may well be looking for some of that infamous mixed Assen weather to help his cause.
The two Espargaro brothers Pol and Aleix are locked in a tremendous battle for sixth with younger brother Pol leading the way on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha by just four points. He won the Moto2 race last year on route to the world title while other former Moto2/250 cc winners Andrea Iannone, Alvaro Bautista and Hiroshi Aoyama line up in the 26 lap race in the only Saturday grand prix of the season.
Nicky Hayden secured his only MotoGP victory outside the USA winning a dramatic 26 lap at Assen in 2006. Hayden, riding the Honda, was locked into a tremendous last lap battle with fellow American Colin Edwards who crashed on the last corner of the 2.822 miles circuit on the last lap of the 26 lap race. Hayden crossed the line a comfortable 4.884s winner from the Kawasaki of Shinya Nakano. Edwards remounted to finish 13th. Haydon’s two other MotoGP wins came at Laguna Seca in the USA in 2005 and 2006.
The Van Drenthe circuit is the only track that has staged a grand prix race every year since the start of the world championship in 1949. Motorcycle racing started on the roads round Assen in 1925 on a 17.11 miles circuit. The circuit was shortened to 10.275 miles between 1926 –1954 although there was no racing between 1939 - 1946 because of the Second World War. It was halved in length in 1955 to 4.787 miles and further shortened in 2002. Today the circuit is just 2.882 miles in length but still retains some of the original corners. Traditionally the Dutch TT has always been staged on the last Saturday in June and is still one of the biggest sporting events of the year in Holland.
Two riders have won three grand prix races in one day at the Dutch TT in Assen. In 1964 Jim Redman won the 125, 250 and 350 cc races riding Honda machinery in all three races. He completed an amazing 259 miles of racing in just one day. Three years later at the Dutch TT Mike Hailwood won the 250, 350 and 500cc races. Once again all three.
In the 1975 500cc race Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini could not be separated on time when they crossed the finishing line in the 16 lap race. Both recorded a time of 48.01.00s at an average speed of 96.708 mph. Sheene was awarded the win by the finish line judges. It is still regarded as the closest ever finish in the Premier class. It was the first of Sheene’s 19 500cc grands prix victories.
Facts and Figures
Circuit Length: 4.542 kms/2.822 miles
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 487m/0.303 miles
Left Corners: Six
Right Corners: Twelve
Pole Position Record: Casey Stoner/Honda 1.34.713 (2012)
Lap Record: Dani Pedrosa/Honda 1'33.713 (2012)
BT Sport Schedule (unless stated this will be on BT Sport 2)
Thursday 26th June
8.00am – TT Assen – FP1 - LIVE
12.00pm – TT Assen – FP2 LIVE
Friday 27th June
8.00am – TT Assen – Free Practice/Qualifying LIVE
Saturday 28th June
9.30am – TT Assen - Moto3/Moto2/MotoGP Races LIVE
Tuesday 1st July
8.00pm - MotoGP Tonight: (BT Sport 1)
Monday 30th June
8.00pm – MotoGP Highlights Programme