MotoGP racing action preview for Dutch TT Assen
Saturday Guide – Alice TT Assen – Dutch TT Assen – Saturday 27 June
• Valentino Rossi, who is aiming for his 100th GP victory, starts from pole for the second time this year. Rossi has not won from pole since the Indianapolis Grand Prix last year.
• Second on the grid, Dani Pedrosa starts from the front row for the third time this year. He is the only Honda rider in MotoGP to have qualified on the front row in 2009. There have been seventeen races since the last Honda victory in MotoGP – Pedrosa at the Catalan GP last year.
• With third place, Jorge Lorenzo has maintained his record of qualifying on the front row at every race in 2009. A top three finish for Lorenzo would be his 50th podium finish in Grand Prix racing.
• Casey Stoner, the winner here last year, has failed to qualify for the front row of the grid for the first time this year. The last time that Stoner won after failing to qualify on the front row was the first race of last year in Qatar, when he was also 4th on the grid.
• Fifth fastest in qualifying equals the best grid position of the year for Colin Edwards which he achieved in Japan. Edwards has not stood on the podium since he was 3rd last year at Assen.
• Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen will be aiming to give the Suzuki four-stroke MotoGP machine its first top four finish at the Dutch TT.
• Ninth on the grid equals James Toseland’s best qualifying result of the year which he achieved two weeks ago at the Catalan GP.
• Randy de Puniet’s only race finish on a MotoGP machine at Assen was 14th in 2006.
• Eleventh on the grid is the best qualifying result for Alex de Angelis since he was 9th fastest qualifier at the opening race of the year in Qatar.
• Gabor Talmacsi will be aiming to become the first Hungarian to score points in the premier-class since Arpad Juhos finished 9th at the East German GP in 1972.
• Hector Barbera starts from pole for the second successive race. Barbera’s very first 250cc win in China in 2006 is the only 250cc race that he has won from pole position. Barbera’s only podium at Assen was 3rd in the 125cc race in 2003.
• Second on the grid, Hiroshi Aoyama will be aiming to be the first Honda rider to win the 250cc race at the Dutch TT since Tohru Ukawa in 2000.
• By starting third, Alvaro Bautista, the winner at Assen last year, maintains his record of starting from the front row at every race in 2009. Bautista has finished on the podium fourteen times in the last sixteen races since he was 2nd at the Catalan GP last year.
• Marco Simoncelli will be starting from his lowest grid position of the year in fourth. Gilera have not had a win at the Dutch TT since John Hartle took victory in the 500cc race back in 1963.
• Aleix Espargaro has qualified in 5th place on his first GP appearance of the year.
• Alex Debon finished just off the podium in 4th place at Assen in both 2006 and 2008.
• Sandro Cortese starts from pole for the first time in his Grand Prix career in what will be his 73rd GP start. His previous best qualifying result was 3rd in Malaysia in 2007.
• This is the first pole for a German rider since Steve Jenkner was fastest qualifier for the 125cc race at the Italian GP in 2004.
• Second on the grid, championship leader Julian Simon starts from the front row for the sixth time in 2009.
• Nico Terol is aiming to finish on the podium at three successive races for the first time in his GP career.
• In fourth, Stefan Bradl has qualified on the front row of the grid for the first time since the second race of the year in Japan.
• Bradley Smith and Sandro Cortese are the only two riders in the 125cc class to have scored points at every race this year.
• Sixth on the grid, Andrea Iannone has finished on the podium four times in his GP career and on each occasion he has stood on the top step.
• Seventh place on the grid for Simone Corsi is his best qualifying result of the year.
• Aprilia riders have won the last eight 125cc Grand Prix races – the longest ever sequence of successive wins in the 125cc class by Aprilia.