Assen Preview Facts
With both Valentino Rossi and Hiroshi Aoyama out of the 2010 MotoGP line-up, due to crashes and injuries, the starting grid for the TIM TT Assen race will consist of just 15 riders. These are not just any 15-motorcycle-racers; these are the world’s best, who worked through rubber and tarmac to reach the pinnacle of the motorcycling world.
Each is qualified by a long list of road scars and accomplishments. Most raised and breed by race enthusiast and all focused on the single goal of winning the MotoGP World Title from a very young age. Below you will find quick blurbs on the men who will face-off for the 62nd World Championship competition at the TT Assen.
1) Jorge Lorenzo has had three wins at Assen in the smaller classes; the 125cc race in 2004 and the 250cc races in 2006 & 2007, both times from pole position. In his first ride at the circuit on a MotoGP machine in 2008 he finished in 6th place while still recovering his confidence from a succession of crashes in the previous few races. Last year he finished second at Assen – his 50th podium finish in Grand Prix racing.
2) Dani Pedrosa’s only win at Assen was in the 125cc race in 2002, which was also his first-ever Grand Prix victory. He has had two podium finishes from four starts in the MotoGP class at the Dutch TT, 3rd in 2006 and 2nd in 2008. Last year he qualified in second place on the grid but crashed out at turn 1 on the fifth lap.
3) Andrea Dovizioso’s only podium at Assen came in 2006 when he finished 3rdin the 250cc race. In 2008, in his debut at the track on a MotoGP machine, he finished 5th after qualifying down in 11th on the grid. Last year he crashed on lap eleven at the same place as his teammate Pedrosa. Following his second place finish at Silverstone, Dovizioso is holding second place in the championship table, which is his highest position since moving up to the MotoGP class.
4) Prior to last year, Nicky Hayden has finished in the top four at Assen for four successive years, including a victory in 2006 and 3rd in 2007 from 13th place on the grid. In 2008 he was in 3rd place exiting the final corner, but ran short of fuel before the finish line and ended up 4th. Last year he qualified down in 13th place but had a great start to end the first lap in eighth, which is where he eventually finished -his first top ten on the Ducati.
5) Casey Stoner has finished on the podium for the last three years at Assen. In 2007 he was second after leading the race up to four laps from the end, in 2008 he qualified on pole and set a new lap record on his way to giving Ducati their first MotoGP win at Assen. Last year he took the final podium slot, while showing signs of the illness that was to affect his season.
6) Randy de Puniet has not had much success in the MotoGP class at the Dutch TT; in 2006 he finished 14th after starting from pit lane on his spare bike after a problem on the warm-up lap with his race bike, in 2007 he crashed out after a collision with Vermeulen and in 2008 he was a victim of Rossi’s first lap mistake. Last year was much better and he ended up being the first Honda rider across the line in seventh.
7) Ben Spies qualified on pole for the world superbike race at Assen last year and won the first race. In the second race he crashed out on lap two while leading. At the Silverstone Grand Prix Spies took his first MotoGP podium in just his ninth start in the class. This was the first podium in MotoGP by a non-factory rider since Alex de Angelis was second at the Indianapolis GP last year.
8) Marco Melandri finished on the podium in the MotoGP class at Assen in both 2004and 2005. He also won in both of the smaller classes at the Dutch TT; the 125ccrace in 1998, when he became the youngest ever GP winner, and the 250cc race in2002. He has had less success in the last two years; he was 13th and last finisher on a Ducati in 2008 and in 2009 he was 11th suffering with a broken bone in his hand as a result of a crash during testing. His crash at Silverstone on the first lap resulted in his first none finish of the year.
9) At Silverstone, Marco Simoncelli had his best result since moving up to the MotoGP class, finishing in seventh place. He has been third for the last two years at the Dutch TT in the 250cc class, which are his only two podium finishes at the Assen circuit.
10) Colin Edwards has twice finished on the podium at the Dutch TT; finishing 3rdin both 2005 and 2008. He was also leading the race on the final corner in 2006before dramatically crashing out then restarting and finishing 13th. Last year he was fourth at Assen, equaling his best dry weather result of the year.
11) Last year at the Dutch TT, Hector Barbera qualified on pole for the 250cc race and finished second – his best ever result at the Assen circuit.
12) Aleix Espargaro made his first GP appearance of 2009 in the 250cc class at the Dutch TT and finished fourth, which is his best-ever Grand Prix result.
13) Mika Kallio’s only podium at Assen was a victory in the 125cc race from pole position in 2006. Last year he was battling for sixth when he crashed on the final lap and damaged his hand that resulted in him missing the next race at Laguna Seca.
14) Loris Capirossi finished on the podium in the 500cc class at Assen in both 200and 2001 but has not had a podium finish here on a four-stroke MotoGP machine. After competing at eighteen successive Dutch TT races, Capirossi missed the race in 2008 due to an injury sustained in a crash during free practice. Last year he was sitting in sixth going into the final chicane but was knocked of the track by Toni Elias and finished ninth. He had his first ever 250cc GP win at Assen back in 1993and won again there in the 250cc class in 1999.
15) Alvaro Bautista finished on the podium on three occasions at the Dutch TT when competing in the smaller classes, including winning the 250cc race in 2008 when he also qualified on pole and set a new lap record.