The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team arrived in Assen in high spirits after securing their fourth consecutive victory of the season in Catalunya a little more than two weeks ago.
Riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are looking forward to returning to action at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ this weekend as they aim to take over the lead in the championship standings.
Following a thrilling race and a productive test in Barcelona a fortnight ago, the Yamaha team heads north for the Motul TT Assen with the aim of clawing back points off Repsol Honda’s championship leader Marc Marquez.
Marquez leads the championship by 10 points, 125 to Lorenzo’s 115, while Rossi has 103 points. Marquez’ team-mate Daniel Pedrosa is on 82, with Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales on 72.
Last year’s race in the Netherlands saw Rossi storm to a brilliant victory, whilst Lorenzo made it a double podium for Yamaha.
This year the Factory Yamaha team-mates are again keen to feature at the front of the pack during an extra special eighth round of the MotoGP World Championship as it will be the first time the Dutch GP is held on a Sunday instead of the traditional Saturday race.
Lorenzo is looking to bounce back on Dutch soil following an unlucky DNF in Catalunya at the last round.
The Mallorcan hopes to step on the top step of the rostrum in Assen for the fifth time in his Grand Prix racing career. He previously secured a win in 125cc (2004), 250cc (2006 and 2007) and MotoGP class (2010) and is eager to apply some of the findings from the post-Catalunya test to his set-up for this weekend.
Team-mate Rossi is also looking forward to continuing his battle for the championship. The Italian currently holds the Fastest Lap and Best Pole record thanks to a 1’32.627 lap he set in qualifying last year.
He has won nine times in front of his Dutch fans (125cc x 1 in 1997, 250cc x 1 in 1998, and MotoGP x 7 in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2015) and counts Assen as one of his favourite tracks.
His superb win from last year gives him an extra confidence boost for this weekend as he tried to move up from third place in the championship standings.
The TT-Assen round has featured on the Motorcycle World Championship calendar since its creation in 1949 and draws in thousands of racing fans each year.
The original circuit was over 6km and a favourite among riders, but lay out modifications shortened the track to its current 4,542-meter long format. Thanks to its narrow tarmac and rapid change in direction the track is a true test for riders to show off their skills, whilst being cheered on by spectators on the completely filled grass banks and grandstands alongside the track.
Photo courtesy Yamaha