Rossi and Vinales Anticipate Action-Packed MotoGP TT Assen
Following a productive official MotoGP test in Barcelona a fortnight ago, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team is in good shape to start the Motul TT Assen round. After the disappointing double DNF at the previous round, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales are keen to retaliate.
A multiple-rider incident ended Rossi‘s challenge for the win in Catalunya on only the second lap, leaving the nine-time World Champion determined to make amends. He plans a strong comeback at the Dutch track to move up from fifth place in the championship standings.
The Italian holds a very impressive record at what is often referred to as “The Cathedral” of motorcycling. He claimed eight wins there in the premier class (in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017), as well as one second place (2001) and one third place (2003). He also scored well in the lower classes, collecting victories in the 250cc (1998) and 125cc class (1997), and a 250cc second place (1999).
“After the unlucky race in Barcelona we are ready for the two consecutive GPs of Assen and Sachsenring,” Rossi said. “In Montmeló we did a good job in the garage, we worked well, and were very fast. I felt good during the two laps in the race, so in the Netherlands this week we will work hard to get ready for the fight at the front again. The Catalunya test was positive, and I think the conclusions can help us have a good race weekend here. We will do our best.”
It was an unfortunate end to his home race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for Viñales as well, getting caught up in the same accident as his teammate. However, he set the record straight the following day at the Catalan Test, posting the fastest time. This weekend it‘s the Spaniard‘s mission to keep the positive vibes going, take the podium he was gunning for at the previous round, and improve his current 11th place championship ranking.
The number-12 rider has enjoyed strong results at the TT circuit in his past eight years of Grand Prix racing. He has won twice at this circuit and enjoyed a four-podium streak on Dutch soil, securing a 125cc win in 2011, a Moto3 win and second place in 2012 and 2013, and a Moto2 second place in 2014. His best score in the MotoGP class was the third place he secured in last year‘s close battle.
“After the test in Montmeló we arrive in Assen with high motivation,” Viñales confirmed. “The test was very positive for us and confirmed the good feeling I had at the last GP. I think we have achieved the best set-up of the season, as was demonstrated in the Catalunya GP before the accident. I really want to get back on the M1 to confirm that the bike is working well and that we can be competitive. The championship is unfortunately already slipping away and it‘s practically impossible to win, so we are going to concentrate on finishing the season by getting as many podiums as possible, with an eye on the future and the next season.”
The TT Circuit Assen was especially built for the Dutch GP in 1955. However, Assen has been part of the Motorcycle World Championship calendar every year since 1949, where it was originally held on public roads. The current Assen track measures 4.5km and remains a favorite among riders thanks to its rapid changes in directions, coupled with a mixture of high- and low-speed corners (six left and 12 right). The Geert Timmer chicane, right before the start-finish straight, makes for great entertainment and superb racing maneuvers in front of the grandstand, when it‘s all to play for on the final laps.
For those who want to get to know the circuit better, check out Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s official Factory MotoGP eSport Rider Lorenzo Daretti as he puts in an e-lap of the TT Circuit Assen.