Dutch TT, Assen – Weekend preview: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

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With only seven points separating Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, the Cathedral of motor racing is braced for a hard fought battle as it celebrates its 65th anniversary of premier-class motorcycle racing at this weekend’s Saturday race at the Iveco TT Assen.

Pedrosa will be keen to get back on top of the podium after Lorenzo has won the last two races and closed the points margin significantly. With both having undertaken post-race testing after Catalunya, the battle is expected to be as tight as ever. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who was stuck to the back wheel of Pedrosa last time out, will aim to get one over on his teammate, as he continues to exceed expectations in his rookie year.

Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow both worked on improving the front-end feel of their M1 under a full fuel tank during testing, and will be hoping this improvement gives them a fighting chance for the podium this time out. For Ducati Team the conundrum continues, as both Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso did not experience the hoped-for change in their new “GP13 lab bike”, meaning that they will most likely contest Assen with their current machine.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl will be buoyed by his two recent good results, whilst GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista will be aiming to make up for two disastrous last races, during which he has both times crashed out on the first lap. Similarly, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone will hope to finish the race in Assen, whilst his teammate Ben Spies is once again replaced due to injury by Michele Pirro on his “GP13 lab bike” in Ignite Pramac Racing colours.

Tech 3’s Bradley Smith heads into the race after scoring his best result in the premier-class to date, and having been operated on his badly damaged little finger. Challenging him, as well as other prototype riders no doubt, will be Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who at the moment looks unstoppable in his bid to be CRT champion, whilst teammate Randy de Puniet, fresh from his Suzuki test, will aim to get one over on the Spaniard.

Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama will unfortunately miss the race due to loosing a fingertip in an accident in Catalunya, and will be replaced by test rider Ivan Silva. Joining him on the grid are teammate Hector Barbera, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti, PBM duo Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty, Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek and Danilo Petrucci, Gresini’s Bryan Staring, as well as Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham.


After a resurgence in form, fans will be braced for a shootout between Tuenti HP40’s Pol Espargaro and Marc VDS Racing Team’s championship leader Scott Redding, as the Moto2™ class lines up for the Iveco TT Assen race this Saturday.

Espargaro re-found some of his old form at the last Grand Prix in Catalunya, and will be hoping to carry it through to Assen in a bid to chip away at Redding’s 35-point advantage in the standings. The Brit, however, will not be easy to stop, as his form this year has shown.

Pons’ Esteve Rabat could be one to spoil the party for both, as he came very close to beating Espargaro in Spain. A constant threat, Rabat may find himself joined by Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Luthi, who scored his first podium last time out since his horrific pre-season crash. The Swiss rider had been concerned about his fitness over race distance, but found that gritting his teeth gets the job done.

The likes of Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami, Marc VDS’ Mika Kallio, Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Simone Corsi are likely to make up strong competition for the front-runners amongst many others, and will be joined by just one wildcard this time out in the form of Gino Rea on his Gino Rea Race Team FTR machine.


Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen will once again see the Moto3™ class fighting it out for lightweight-class supremacy with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom heading in as the championship leader.

He will have a tough fight on his hands with Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales closely behind and looking to make up for a difficult Catalunya race. And with Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins in fine form, the rest of the Moto3™ contingent will not have it easy getting onto the podium.

Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jonas Folger will be hoping his wrist injury, which kept him out of the Catalunya race, does not plague him too much, whilst Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez will aim to stick with the front runners until the end and also fight for a top three spot.

Buoyed by a huge performance last week, Mahindra Racing pair Efren Vazquez and Miguel Oliveira will hope to take the Indian manufacturer yet anther step towards the top, whilst the likes of Caretta Technology-RTG’s Jack Miller and Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder will be squeezing the maximum out of their Honda powerplants.

Two wildcards will be part of the field in the form of Thomas Van Leeuwen of the Racing Team Van Leeuwen on a Bakker Honda, as well as Dutch Racing Team’s Bryan Schouten on the FTR Honda.

Source: motogp.com