The battle for the 2010 FIM MotoGP World Championship continues apace this weekend. The TIM TT Assen comes just one week after the excitement of Silverstone, where victory for Jorge Lorenzo gave the Mallorcan a 37-point advantage in the motorcycle racing championship standings.
Lorenzo will be looking to turn the screw on his rivals even further this weekend in the Netherlands, but the Fiat Yamaha rider was adamant that he would be approaching Saturday’s Dutch TT like any other race.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “I arrive here after a great victory, but my approach will not change as a result. I have had three wins here in the past, one on the 125 and two on the 250, so I can say that this is one of my strongest tracks.”
Lorenzo took time out ahead of the press conference to check the modifications to the Ruskenhoek corner, the only changes to the track since the current championship leader finished second in the MotoGP race last year.
“I went out on the scooter to have a look at Ruskenhoek, which is certainly a lot faster than it was before. Having seen the modified corner on television during the Superbike race here I had some concerns about the changes but, now I’ve seen it up close, the corner looks fine.”
Andrea Dovizioso is on a rich vein of form at present, having scored four podium finishes in five races and with his second place at Silverstone last time out moving the Italian up to second in the championship. The Repsol Honda rider will be pushing hard for his first win of the 2010 campaign this weekend, as he looks to close the gap on Lorenzo in the championship.
Andrea Dovizioso says: “The second place in Silverstone was good for motivation, both for myself and the team. At the beginning of the season we were fast, but now we’re also consistent enough to run at the front regularly. Lorenzo and the Yamaha are really strong, but we’ve made big steps and we’re confident we can push to catch him. Now we just need to fight!”
Ben Spies has been something of a revelation in his debut MotoGP season, with new circuits causing no problems for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider. Spies took his first podium finish last time out in Silverstone, but was quick to play down his chances of a repeat performance this weekend at Assen, despite this being one of the few circuits at which he’s raced previously.
Ben Spies says: “It’s good to come to a track I’ve been to before, and one that I like. I think the bike will be good here, but I know it will be tough to fight for a podium again this weekend. Maybe people will expect me to be on the podium every weekend now, but I’m more realistic because I know just how hard Silverstone was.”
Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner has had something of a difficult start to the season, but advanced up the championship standings to eighth position, after fighting back from a disastrous start to eventually claim fourth place last time out at Silverstone. Unlike many of this rivals, Stoner didn’t head out to take a look at the modifications to the Ruskenhoek corner, but the Australian did have a comment to make on the circuit, and the recent changes, during the pre-event press conference.
Casey Stoner says: “Racing here now doesn’t have the same kick as it did when we raced on the old circuit, of which there are only a few parts left. I’ve struggled at Ruskenhoek for the last three seasons, so it’s nice that they’ve changed my bogey corner for this year!”
Alvaro Bautista is another rider who’s had to contend with a difficult start to the season, after the Spaniard sustained a shoulder injury in a motocross crash ahead of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. Highsiding himself off the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R during practice at Le Mans didn’t help matters either, but the former 125cc World Champion now says he’s fast approaching full fitness once again and looking forward to continuing his debut season in MotoGP.
Alvaro Bautista says: “In Mugello I was riding like someone on the street, because the injury meant I couldn’t ride the way I wanted to. At Silverstone the injury was better and it was only at the end of the race that I started to feel pain and struggled to turn the bike. This weekend I don’t know, but I think that for my home race in Barcelona it’s possible the shoulder will be back to 100 percent again.”
Assen Canal Race
Earlier in the day a boat race was staged along the Assen canal, pitching the riders against a handpicked team of journalists from the MotoGP media centre.
With the power to weight ratio being as important in boat racing as it is in motorcycle racing, the riders opted for a lightweight crew consisting of Bradley Smith, Sandro Cortese, Claudio Corti, Jasper Iwema, Shoya Tomizawa and Hector Barbera.
The tactic paid off, with the riders easily beating the slightly heavier journalists, both in the practice run and the race proper.
After the race both teams were treated to drinks and cake on another boat moored at the end of the canal. The cakes were all specially decorated to mark the 80th year of the TT Assen.
Silverstone: MotoGP Top Speeds in Km/h
26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 323.9 Qualifying Practice
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 322.0 Qualifying Practice
33 Marco MELANDRI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 321.9 Qualifying Practice
27 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Team DUCATI 321.8 Race
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP HONDA 320.5 Qualifying Practice
14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 320.1 Qualifying Practice
40 Hector BARBERA SPA Paginas Amarillas Aspar DUCATI 319.1 Qualifying Practice
69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team DUCATI 318.3 Race
65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 317.9 Qualifying Practice
99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 317.6 Qualifying Practice
36 Mika KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing Team DUCATI 317.1 Race
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 316.8 Qualifying Practice
58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 316.3 Race
41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Pramac Racing Team DUCATI 315.4 Qualifying Practice
11 Ben SPIES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 315.1 Race
5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 314.0 Race