Motul Dutch TT 2015

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 by Nick Harris


Smith, Lowes and Kent keeping up the pressure
The British trio of Bradley Smith, Sam Lowes and Danny Kent make their annual pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing on Saturday, determined to keep up the pressure after a brilliant start to their respective 2015 campaigns.

They arrive at the legendary 2.822 miles Assen circuit for the biggest sporting event of the year in Holland, the Motul Dutch TT, in superb form for the eighth round of the 18 round MotoGP™ World Championship.

Andorra – based Oxfordshire rider Smith has hit superb form in his third MotoGP season, riding the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. The 24 year old has finished fifth in the last two grands prix and is easily the best placed Satellite factory and British rider in the championship. He lies sixth, just one point behind World Champion Marc Marquez and 21 points in front of his former team-mate and British rival Cal Crutchlow. The Isle of Man – based midlander has experienced a wretched time of late crashing the CWM LCR Honda in the last three races but is very capable of bouncing back at Assen. He has a great record here, two years ago he took his first MotoGP pole and finished third in the race.

Gloucestershire’s Scot Redding produced his best result of the season with a seventh place in Barcelona on the EG O, O Marc VDS Honda. He will be seeking at least a repeat of this result at the track where he has finished second and third in the Moto2™ class. Irishman Eugene Laverty will be looking to keep on scoring points on the Aspar Open Class Honda. He has scored in the last three grands prix and knows the Assen circuit well from his World Superbike days.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes also knows Assen well from his title winning World Supersport days. Last year he was leading at Assen on the Speed Up machine in the damp conditions in his debut Moto2 season but crashed. He returns in brilliant form and moved into third place in the Championship after his third successive fourth place in Barcelona. Lowes fancies his chances in the 24 lap race of repeating the success he had in Austin earlier this year when he acheived his maiden grand prix victory.

It was 38 long years ago that Barry Sheene brought Great Britain their last World Champion but that could all change. Twenty one year old Wiltshire rider Danny Kent is blitzing the highly competitive Moto3™ World Championship. The Leopard Racing Honda rider leads the championship by a massive 51 points after winning his fourth grand prix of the season in Barcelona two weeks ago. Kent can win from any situation in the fairing bashing, slipstreaming world of Moto3 that has produced some breath-taking racing this season and Saturday will give him another opportunity to close upon Sheene’s record.

Scotsman John McPhee is not having such a good time. Riding the Racing Steps Foundation SAXOPRINT RTG Honda, the Oban – based rider has not scored points in the last three races, after such a promising start to the season. Major set–up problems have been holding him back although there were signs in Barcelona they were finding some solutions before he crashed. It’s a big race for him on Saturday.

Lorenzo's love hate relationship with Assen
The rider who has won the last four grands prix returns to the circuit to which he has a real love hate relationship. Jorge Lorenzo may have won at the legendary 2.822 mile Assen circuit on no less than four occasions but the last two MotoGP™ races at the Dutch TT have painful memories for the Movistar Yamaha rider. Two years ago he crashed on the wet track in practice and broke his collarbone. Incredibly he was flown back to Barcelona, had the broken bone plated and returned to finish fifth in the race. Last year in similar conditions he finished a lowly 13th but returns this week in the form of his life.

After winning the last four grands prix with seemingly effortless ease he trails team-mate Valentino Rossi by a single point and is favourite to make it five in a row to displace Rossi at the top for the first time this season. The 36 year old Italian will not give up that slender lead without a fight. If he can improve his qualifying performances he is confident of taking his ninth win at Assen, which includes six MotoGP victories.

The Ducati fight for third place is just as intense with 11 points separating third place Andrea Iannone and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who has failed to finish the last two races. World Champion Marc Marquez has also failed to score at the last two races and nothing short of a repeat of last year’s win on the Repsol Honda will put his season back on track after two disastrous crashes. He is fifth in the Championship and just one point in front of the impressive Bradley Smith who is comfortably the top satellite factory rider after fifth place on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha at the last two races. Marquez’s team-mate Danny Pedrosa took his first podium of the year in Barcelona and is getting stronger every race after his recent arm pump operation that caused him to miss three grands prix.

Other riders looking to finish in the 26 lap race on Saturday after crashing in Barcelona include Cal Crutchlow, who has fallen in the last three, Barcelona pole setter Aleix Espargaro on the Ecstar Suzuki and his younger brother Pol. Qualifying should be particularly interesting on Friday, after Suzuki with Espargaro and former Moto3 World Champion Maverick Vinales, took full advantage of their softer tyre option to grab an historic one two in Barcelona.

Frenchman Johann Zarco arrives in Assen with an impressive 40 point lead in the Moto2™ World Championship. Riding the Ajo Motorsport Kalex he won his second grand prix of the season in Barcelona. World Champion Tito Rabat knows he must start winning races and beating the Frenchman to have a realistic chance of retaining his title. Britain’s Sam Lowes moved into third place in the championship after his third consecutive fourth place in Barcelona, pushing Tom Luthi back to fourth just four points in front of Alex Rins who was second in Barcelona.

Twenty one year old British rider Danny Kent is running away with the Moto3™ World Championship. After an impressive fourth win of the season in Barcelona on the Leopard Racing Honda he leads Italian teenager Enea Bastianini by a massive 51 points. The big battle is for third with just two points separating Miguel Oliveira, Efren Vazquez and Romano Fenati.

Assen Asides
Assen is the only venue that has hosted a grand prix event every year since the motorcycle World Championship Grand Prix series started back in 1949.

This is the 85th time that a Dutch TT event has been held. The first running of the Dutch TT was before the world championship series was created, in 1925 and it has taken place every year since, with the exception of the years 1940 to 1945 because of the Second World War. The event became part of the world championship series when it was first created in 1949 and is the only circuit to have been part of the series every year since, making this the 67th Dutch TT that has counted towards the world championship classification.

The original Assen circuit, that was used up to 1954, measured 16.54 km. This was reduced to 7.7 km in 1955 and then in 1984 further modifications to the circuit reduced the length to 6.1 km. The current layout has been used since 2006, with a few minor adjustments.

The Dutch TT that took the longest time to complete was the 500cc race in 1950 that took place over eighteen laps of the 16.54 km circuit, a total of 298 km (185 miles). The race was won by Umberto Masetti riding a Gilera in a time of 2 hrs 43.2 seconds.

The 500cc race at the 1975 Dutch TT is the only premier-class grand prix race where the first two riders across the line have been credited with the same race time. Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini finished so close that the timekeepers of the day, using manual timing accurate to 0.1 sec, were unable to split them.

There have been a total of 256 world championship grand prix races for solo motorcycles held at the Assen circuit.

Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer at the Dutch TT since the start of the four-stroke MotoGP formula, with seven victories. Honda have had five MotoGP wins at the Dutch TT and Ducati a single win in 2008.

The last win by Suzuki at the Dutch TT was in the 500cc race in 1993 with Kevin Schwantz.  The best results by Suzuki in the MotoGP era at the Dutch TT are 5th place finishes by John Hopkins in 2007 and Chris Vermeulen in 2009.

Ben Spies’ win at the Dutch TT in 2011 was the last MotoGP race won by a rider other than one of the following; Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo.

The last rider to win the MotoGP race at the Dutch TT in successive years is Valentino Rossi, in 2004 and 2005.

Last year at the Dutch TT, Aleix Espargaro riding the Forward Yamaha started from pole for the first time in his grand prix career on his 150th grand prix appearance.

The rider with most GP victories at Assen is Angel Nieto with 15 wins in the 125cc and 50cc classes, followed by Giacomo Agostini who had 14 wins riding 500cc and 350cc machines.

Among the current riders, Valentino Rossi has been most successful at Assen with a total of eight victories, six in MotoGP and one each in the 250cc and 125cc classes.

Four Dutch riders have won grand prix races at their home circuit; Paul Lodewijkx the 50cc race in 1968, Wil Hartog the 500cc race in 1977, Jack Middelburg the 500cc race in 1980 and Hans Spaan the 125cc race in 1989.

The last Dutch rider to finish on the podium at the Dutch TT is Wilco Zeelenberg – 3rd in the 250cc race in 1994.


Television Times
BT Sport2
Thursday June 25  8.00am – 3.00pm (practise)
Friday June 26  8.00am – 3-15pm (practice and qualifying)
Saturday June 27  7.30am – 3.00pm (warm –up and races)

ITV 4 Highlights
Monday June 29  8.00 - 9.00 pm

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