Yamaha MotoGP Team Heads to The Cathedral

Valentino Rossi heads to 2016 Assen MotoGP
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

For MotoGP fans, Assen isn’t just a household name, it’s far more than that. To earn the moniker of “The Cathedral,” means that it’s hallowed ground in the world of MotoGP.

But for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, they’ll be walking onto the fabled course with some confidence underfoot. Since 1949 MotoGP riders have taken descended on the Dutch circuit, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t speak to the history of the track and for that, we’d like you to check out this video:

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Last year at Assen MotoGP we witnessed a double Yamaha podium, with Rossi claiming victory and Lorenzo standing beside him. And things don’t look to be shaping up any differently, with the Yamaha riders moving into the top five during Friday Assen MotoGP free practice, despite the unpleasant weather.

What exactly will the either round of the MotoGP World Championship have in store? We’re not sure but let’s put on our speculation hats and give the betting man some encouragement.

Jorge Lorenzo is certainly on the prowl for some points. At Catalunya, the Italian Ducati pilot, Andrea Iannone, collided with Lorenzo. It was a disappointing result for Lorenzo, who has been in title contention for the 2016 season.

Jorge Lorenzo heads to Assen MotoGP 2016
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo

Lorenzo currently holds the second place position in the point standings and with wins coming in the form of: 125cc (2004), 250cc (2006 and 2007) and a MotoGP class victory (2010), Lorenzo is looking like a strong checkered flag contender.

He shared some thoughts on the upcoming race, “Barcelona was a great pity. I knew it was going to be a tough race especially after feeling that the tires were struggling after five or six laps, but then the crash ruined everything. Now we need to forget the incident and try to fight again in Assen. Racing in Holland is always a kind of bittersweet feeling.

“It’s a track I love but on the other hand I’ve experienced both good and bad results. The layout is always good for our YZR-M1s so we are willing to have another go to get a great result again. I look forward to racing there!”

While Jorge Lorenzo has done well at Assen in the past, I happen to be a man of prudence. Given Rossi’s track record, six-premier class victories at Assen, I’d gamble in that direction. The Italian rider currently holds Fastest Lap and Best Pole records due to the 1’32.627 lap he got down in the books last year. With the switch to Michelin, I’m not sure we’ll see those kinds of times this year but Rossi is one of the few riders that seems to be negotiating the tire situation well.

Will we see another GP machine dual-sport adventure? One can only hope. However, a positive finish here would see him move up from third place, in which he currently sits. He shared his thoughts on the season earlier this week with the press: “Last year I fought for the title until the last race, but sometimes in the race I was faster as Lorenzo and Marquez.

This year I seem to be stronger, even though I have less points.” Rossi also shared this with the official Yamaha release, “I used this short break to rest a bit and now I’m ready for the next race. I love Assen, it is one of my favourite tracks, but that doesn’t mean anything because every race this year is very open and very uncertain. We just have to stay focused, try to work in the best way possible and see what happens. In Barcelona we had a good race and also the test went well. I really want to get back on track and prepare for the upcoming race with my team.”

We’ll be watching the Assen round, as I’m sure you all will. So for the latest updates regarding MotoGP, keep your browsers open to Ultimate MotorCycling.

Photos by Luciano Bianchetto