2018 Assen MotoGP Preview – Who Will Win at the “Cathedral?”
The 2018 Dutch TT marks the 70th anniversary of Grand Prix World Championship motorcycle racing at the iconic TT Circuit Assen.This year’s championship is creating much history itself, and 2018 Assen MotoGP can make or break some riders based on what happens during Sunday’s 26-lap GP.
Following are some pre-race stats to get the adrenaline flowing for round eight of 19 in 2018 MotoGP.1. Assen is the only venue that has hosted a GP every year since the World Championship began in 1949. This year’s Dutch TT marks the 70th anniversary of GP motorcycle racing, and the track has hosted 265 GPs across all classes since 1949.2. The current layout – 2.82 miles and 18 corners – has been used since 2006.3. The Assen TT was known for hosting the only Saturday race of the modern era of MotoGP that began in 2002, but that changed in 2016 when the race was moved to Sundays.4. The most successful rider at Assen is Angel Nieto, who claimed 15 swins across 125cc and 500cc classes. Next up is Giacomo Agostini with 14.5. The most successful modern rider is Valentino Rossi who has 10 wins in Assen across all classes, including eight in MotoGP. Seven of those premier-class wins were with Yamaha, the other with Honda.6. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot Rossi won last year’s Dutch TT, finishing a mere 0.063 seconds ahead of Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, who replaces Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Ducati in 2019. Finishing third was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, the reigning MotoGP Champ.7. Speaking of Marquez, he has finished on the podium at Assen every season since joining the premier class in 2013, including a win in 2014.8. So far this season Marquez has five podiums that includes three wins that occurred consecutively – Austin, Jerez, Le Mans.9. Heading into Assen, Marquez has 115 points – 27 points ahead of Rossi. In third, 37 points behind is Rossi’s teammate Mavericak Vinales.10. As Marquez and Rossi look for wins, their biggest threat is Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo, who has signed with Repsol Honda for 2019/2020 MotoGP. Lorenzo has won the past two rounds in Mugello and Catalunya. The four-time MotoGP Champion is seventh in points after seven rounds – 49 off the lead, and has achieved 112 total podiums (across all classes), tying him in second with Dani Pedrosa. Rossi has the most with 195.11. If Lorenzo wins in Assen, he will become the only rider since Casey Stoner to win three-consecutive races aboard a Ducati.12. Ducati only has one win at Assen – 2008 with Casey Stoner at the controls of the GP8.13. Lorenzo only has one premier-class win in Assen – 2010 (Yamaha). But Assen is the track that showed Lorenzo’s strength both mentally and physically – in 2013 be broke his collarbone during practice, but raced and finished fifth.14. The Assen TT gets underway Friday with free practice ahead of Saturday qualifying and Sunday’s race. The Dutch TT is scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT. For TV times, visit 2018 MotoGP TV Schedule.
2018 MotoGP Point Standings (after 7 of 19 rounds)
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.