Motul TT Assen 2016

Posted on Jun 20, 2016 by Nick Harris


Sunday visit to the Cathedral
After a morale boosting ride in the previous round Cal Crutchlow is relishing a Sunday visit to the Cathedral of grand prix motor cycle racing, the legendary Assen circuit which stages the biggest sporting event of the year in Holland, The Motul TT Assen. For the first time the 26 lap MotoGP™ race around the 2.822 miles will be held on a Sunday to further increase the size of the crowds that flock to North Holland to witness the only event remaining from the original 1949 grand prix schedule.
Isle of Man – based midlander Crutchlow finished sixth in the previous Barcelona round riding the LCR Honda after a wretched start to the season. He has good memories of Assen having grabbed his first pole position there three years ago and then finishing third in the race. Last year Crutchlow finished sixth, one place in front of Bradley Smith. The Andorra – based Monster Tech3 Yamaha rider was side-lined with mechanical problems in Barcelona which halted his return to form after a difficult start to the season. Smith finished third in the 2011 Moto2™ race at Assen, two years after a similar 125 cc result.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding suffered tyre problems in Barcelona on his Octo Pramac Ducati, but like the other two British riders also has good memories of Assen. He secured a couple of Moto2 podiums in 2012/13. While the other Brits have struggled this year Irishman Eugene Laverty has been in the form of his life. Riding the Aspar Ducati he is only one of four riders that have scored points in every one of the opening seven rounds. He’s 11th in the championship just two points behind the factory Ducati of Andrea Iannone. He also knows Assen well from his World Superbike and Supersport days.
This is a big Moto2™ race for Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes and his Federal Oil Gresini team. Lowes is second in the Championship eight points down on leader Alex Rins but both are looking over their shoulders at World Champion Johann Zarco. The Frenchman has won the last two grands prix and the Assen race last year. Zarco is in third place in the championship just two points behind Lowes who finished third last year at Assen. Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent’s return to Moto2 is still a tough experience. The Wiltshire-based Leopard Racing rider retired from Barcelona with mechanical problems but returns to the track where he has finished third on a couple of occasions.
Racing Steps Foundation – supported Peugeot MC Saxoprint Mahindra, Scotsman John McPhee, picked up a well-earned point in the highly competitive Moto3™ race in Barcelona. It’s been a long hard season already for McPhee who will look to continue picking up the points in the 22 lap race on Sunday. Kent – based Danny Webb makes a welcome return to grand prix racing after competing recently in the TT and North West 200 road races. He replaces Karel Hanika on the Platinum Bay Real Estate Mahindra.

Stop Press
Spanish Moto2™ World Championship leader Alex Rins will join Andrea Iannone in the Ecstar MotoGP team next season. He will replace Aleix Espargaro. Maverick Vinales is leaving the team to join Valentino Rossi at Movistar Yamaha next season. Rins has signed a two year deal.

Did you know?
History of the Dutch TT
 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 and below are some facts and figures from the previous events at this famous circuit:

• The Dutch TT became part of the world championship series when it was first created in 1949 and Assen is the only circuit to have been part of the series every year since, making this the 68th Dutch TT that has counted towards the world championship classification.
• At all previous Dutch TT events the racing has taken place on Saturday; in 2016 the event will be held on Sunday for the first time.
• 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 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.
• Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer at the Dutch TT since the start of the four-stroke MotoGP formula, with eight 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.
• 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 nine victories, seven in MotoGP and one each in the 250cc and 125cc classes.
• Valentino Rossi won the Dutch TT last year after qualifying on pole position; this was his first win from pole since the San Marino Grand Prix in 2009.
• Neither Dani Pedrosa nor fellow factory Honda rider Marc Marquez has started from pole in the MotoGP class at the Dutch TT.

Grand Prix racing numbers
102 – Dani Pedrosa’s third place finish in the Catalan Grand Prix was the 102nd time that he has stood on the podium in the MotoGP class; the exact same number of MotoGP podium finishes as his great rival Jorge Lorenzo.
84 – The second place finish by Marc Marquez in Barcelona was the 84th time that he has stood on a grand prix podium, the same number of podiums that five times world champion Toni Mang achieved during his grand prix career. Only thirteen riders in the 68 year history of motorcycle grand prix racing have stood on the podium more often than Marc Marquez, who is still just 23 years old.
37 – After the first seven races of 2016 Aprilia have already scored 37 points in the MotoGP constructers classification, which is one more point than they achieved in the whole of 2015.
35 – Johann Zarco’s win in Barcelona was the 35th time he has stood on the podium in grand prix racing (24 x Moto2 + 11 x 125cc) the same number of GP podium finishes as fellow French rider Olivier Jacque. The only French rider who has stood on a grand prix podium more often than Zarco is Christian Sarron, who achieved 37 top three finishes in his grand prix career.
25 – Jorge Navarro’s win at the Catalan Grand Prix ended a run of 25 successive Moto3 races without a Spanish winner, since Efren Vazquez won in Malaysia in 2014.
15th – At the Catalan Grand Prix, Remy Gardner, son of 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner, finished 15th on his debut in the Moto2 class. He is only the third Australian rider to score points in the Moto2 class, along with Anthony West and Damian Cudlin.
12 – The rider starting on pole has not won in the Moto3 class for the last twelve races. The last time a rider starting a Moto3 race from pole won the race was Enea Bastianini at Misano last year.
5 – Maverick Vinales has finished in the top six in the last five MotoGP races. The last Suzuki rider to have five or more successive top six finishes was Kenny Roberts Jnr on his way to winning the 500cc world title in 2000.
4 – Following Aleix Espargaro’s retirement from the race in Barcelona, only four riders have now score points in every one of the first seven MotoGP races of the year: Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro, Hector Barbera and Eugene Laverty.
2 – Darryn Binder, the brother of Moto3 Championship leader Brad, finished 12th at the Catalan Grand Prix to score his first world championship points. This is the first time that two brothers have both scored points in a lightweight-class grand prix race since Pablo Nieto and Angel Nieto Jnr both finished in the top fifteen in the 125cc GP at the Catalunya GP in 2001.

Rossi and Marquez return to battlefield
Championship leader Marc Marquez and last year’s winner Valentino Rossi return to the scene of one of their greatest 2015 conflicts when they clash again at the Motul Dutch TT at the legendary Assen circuit on Sunday. Last year Rossi came out on top after the two clashed in the final chicane on the race to the line and this year they return for another 26 lap encounter round the 2.822 mile circuit in great form.
Marquez and his Repsol Honda arrive leading the MotoGP™ Championship by ten points after finishing a battling second behind Rossi’s Movistar Yamaha at the previous round in Barcelona. Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi’s Yamaha team-mate, slipped to second place in the championship after being knocked off by the Ducati of Andrea Iannone, with Rossi 12 points adrift of his team-mate. All three have premier class wins at Assen, with Rossi leading the way with seven victories starting 14 years ago.
Following his indiscretions in Barcelona, Iannone starts from the back of the grid and the threat to the big three should come from fourth placed Dani Pedrosa, Maverick Vinales who has secured five straight top six finishes on the Ecstar Suzuki, Pol Espargaro, Cal Crutchlow and Ianonne’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. Ducati test rider Michele Pirro continues to replace the injured Frenchman Loris Baz in the Avintia Racing Ducati team.
World Champion Johann Zarco arrives in Assen chasing his third successive Moto2™ win and a repeat of his victory last year. The French rider struggled in the early part of the season but is now third in the Championship just ten points behind leader Alex Rins and two behind British rider Sam Lowes. Qatar winner Tom Luthi is fourth with the impressive Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin fifth.
South African Brad Binder is running away with the Moto3™ World Championship riding the Red Bull Ajo KTM. He’s built up an impressive 44 point advantage after seven rounds following three straight grand prix wins. The winning sequence came to an end at the previous round in Barcelona where he finished second behind Jorge Navarro who secured his maiden grand prix win. The Spaniard is second in the Championship 23 points in front of Austin winner Romano Fenati. Unfortunately Navarro will miss the race on Sunday after suffering a double break in his leg sustained in a training accident.

Television Times
BT Sport 2
Friday 24th June 08.00pm – 15.00pm (practice)
Saturday 25th June 08.00am – 15.15pm (practice & qualifying)
Sunday 26th June 07.30am – 15.00pm (warm-up and races)

ITV 4 Highlights
Monday 27th June 20.00pm – 21.00pm

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