World Superbike heads to Dutch Holland this week for fourth round of motorcycle racing action in the 2010 WSBK Championship. The TT Circuit Assen, an historic race circuit, originally started on roads back in 1925, while the closed circuit itself was first opened in 1955.
Assen has undergone a number of changes since that day, including a major redesign in 2006, with the exception of the finish line, which has never moved. The typical characteristics of the track include both fast flat out corners and slow corners.
For this year a change to the back section of the track, with a fast flowing corner, means the circuit is now even faster, with national SBK classes already seeing a two second a lap quicker time over the circuit. World Superbikes have raced every year since 1992 at the TT Circuit Assen.
Below the World Superbike riders preview this weekends coming SBK race 7 and race 8.
Noriyuki Haga says: "I was very happy to win at Valencia, my first win of the season and I will do my best to back it up with two great races at Assen. Last year went well for us here, actually better than ever before at this track, and at this point I am very aware that I need two similar results this season in order to close the gap. Every weekend is a battle with so many strong riders but I’m confident we can do a good job."
Michel Fabrizio says: "Testing last week at Mugello was really useful and I’m feeling a lot more positive now that we seem to have found a solution to the brake problem. I’m confident that I can make a fresh start at Assen and be really competitive once more. I haven’t had much luck at this circuit so I’ll be doing my best to turn that around this time."
Jonathan Rea says: "It’s been great hanging out here for the last week and to meet all the Ten Kate fans again at the Pit Stop Day – I’m feeling half Dutch already! We had a great test at Assen last week to work on making a good bike even better. The revised corner is fast but I really like the track anyway and I’ve gone OK here in the last couple of years. We completely re-evaluated the balance of the bike last week and tried shifting a lot of weight to the rear, which helped in delivering grip as it’s accelerating out of corners."
"It’s obviously difficult to know how it’ll transfer to other circuits but it worked OK at Assen and, without getting ahead of ourselves, I found it quite easy to adapt my riding style to suit the change. It’s hard to judge it properly until our rivals take to the track on Friday but it all looked quite positive when we overlaid the data from last year with other parts of the circuit."
Max Neukirchner says: "Saturday’s Pit Stop Day at the Ten Kate workshop was amazing – a very big event! Afterwards I went back to Berlin to celebrate my birthday with friends and family. It was really important to test at Assen after we had another difficult weekend in Valencia. It’s been a tough start to the season so we’ve needed as much track time as possible to find out what’s going wrong."
"The level of competition in Superbike is much higher now so it’s easy to be a long way down even if the lap times are not so far behind. We were able to make some progress during the test and we will try to continue the work when we get back on the track on Friday. I like Assen a lot, although I preferred it before they made the big changes a few years ago. I got on the podium in 2008 and was going OK there last year. I know how hard everyone is working so I’ll try my best to get some better results for the team this weekend."
James Toseland says: "I’ve always loved racing at Assen," said James Toseland. "I’ve had some good results and always gone well there. I’ve won on the Ducati and on the Honda so it would be great to get a win on the Yamaha as well. The bike has come on again from Portugal to Valencia and we knew from the last round what we needed to improve for Assen. We’ve had to do a lot of work to get competitive but on the positive side there is still room for more and we’re not far from the front. We can improve quite a lot more and we’re going to be a strong package."
"On a personal side I always try hard, after the Australia crash where I broke my hand, then my mistake in qualifying in Portugal and missing out on the last Superpole session in Valencia by a thousandth of a second I thought I was going to have one of those seasons. But to go from ninth to third and be up there fighting at the front was a massive boost of confidence for me and the garage so it was good to reward the hard work of the team with a result."
Cal Crutchlow says: "I had a good race in Assen last year in Supersport," said Cal Crutchlow, "but it’s going to be difficult this weekend as a couple of other teams have tested there already with the new circuit changes including the new faster section at the back. Hopefully in the first free practice we’ll get to grips with it. There are some new changes coming this weekend with the bike so let’s hope we’ve made some progress and see how we get on."
Leon Haslam says: "Two wins and three seconds in six races is a pretty good start to the season and I feel confident that I can carry on with this good form. I like the bike and feel very comfortable on it and that lets me push it hard. I used to like the ‘old’ Assen circuit because it was a very flowing and great high-speed track."
"Since they modified it, I don’t like it as much as the old one, but it’s still a good track and very spectator friendly. I hope that the recent travel problems don’t affect the crowds much, because Assen always throws up good racing and it would be a shame for the fans to miss out on what is going to be another great Superbike weekend. I had two podiums in Assen last season and will be aiming to do the same again this year."
Sylvain Guintoli says: "There were some positives from the last race weekend and I need to build on them and do much better in practice and qualifying so that I am in a good position on raceday. I like Assen and think it will suit our bike well, so I am really ‘up’ for the races this coming weekend."
"Despite the changes to the circuit, it is still a good track and it normally provides great racing. I will be going all-out for podiums, but I know I have to be in a good position on the grid if I’m to run with the front guys at the start of the races. I haven’t raced at Assen on a Superbike, so this will be a new experience for me."
Genesio Bevilacqua (Carlos Checa, Shane Byrne) says: "We know that Assen is a track at which the Ducati is not at too much of a disadvantage. So we hope to be able to continue to build on the positive series of results achieved over the first three rounds. I hope to see Carlos on top form once more in Holland and to see Shane fight back, something we already caught a glimpse of in Valencia."
STOP BACK>>> MORE QUOTES ADDED AS WE GET THEM!
Assen Stats and Facts
Name: TT Circuit Assen
Country: The Netherlands
Circuit length: 4.542 km
Pole position: Left
Corners left: 11
Corners right: 6
Length of race: 22 laps = 100.21 km
Lap Record – Haga (Ducati Xerox) 1’38.680 (2009)
Superpole – Spies (Yamaha) 1’37.626 (2009)
2009 WSBK Race 1 Results: 1 Ben Spies (USA-Yamaha), Noriyuki Haga (JPN-Ducati), 3 Leon Haslam (GBR-Honda), 4 Tom Sykes (GBR-Yamaha) 5 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia) 6 Jakub Smrz (CZE-Ducati)
2009 WSBK Race 2 Results: 1 Noriyuki Haga, 2 Leon Haslam, 3 Jakub Smrz, 4 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati), 5 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 6 Tom Sykes