CRUTCHLOW FILLS UP FOR BETTER STARTS IN ASSEN
Cal Crutchlow has been working hard to improve his starts and early laps before this Saturday’s Iveco Dutch TT in Assen. The Isle of Man based Midlander took full advantage at the one day test following the Aperol Grand Prix of Catalunya in Barcelona to ride his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha with a full fuel load to improve his pace in those vital early laps. He crashed in the Barcelona race chasing the leaders as he pursued his third successive podium finish in what has been a superb season. The former World Supersport Champion lies fourth in the championship and fancies another top result in the 26 lap race round the legendary 2.822 miles circuit where he has plenty of experience in the World Superbike and Superbike Championships.
His team-mate Bradley Smith has 125 and Moto2™ podium finishes in Assen and hopes a repeat of his sixth place in Barcelona, his best MotoGP result in his rookie season. After the Barcelona test he had a screw inserted into the cracked scaphoid in his left wrist and a skin graft on his injured little finger. Both injuries were sustained in a crash during practice for the Italian Grand Prix. Ulsterman Michael Laverty failed to finish for the first time this season when he crashed in Barcelona and arrives in Assen chasing another points scoring ride on the Paul Bird Motorsport CRT machine.
Twenty year old Gloucestershire rider Scott Redding rode into a mature fourth place in the Barcelona heat to lead the Moto2 World Championship by an impressive 35 points. The Marc VDS rider was chasing his third consecutive grand prix win but racked up the safe points to keep the pressure on his pursuers led by pre-season favourite and Barcelona winner Pol Espargaro. It was also a great day for Wiltshire teenager Danny Kent. The double Moto3™ grand prix winner secured his first ever Moto2 points with a hard fought 13th place on the Tech 3 machine. Spanish –based British rider Kyle Smith is also getting nearer to his first world championship points after finishing 17th.
Any points in the ultra competitive Moto3 World Championship are hard to come by and Kent-based Danny Webb returned to points scoring in Barcelona with a battling 14th place, four places in front of Scottish teenager John McPhee. Both will be hoping for some mixed Assen weather to bring them nearer the leaders in the 22 lap race on Saturday.
“The double operation was a success and I can’t thank Dr Mir and his team enough. They have done a fantastic job and they told me that the wrist and finger surgery were both a success. Everything went as well as expected and now I am just resting my arm as much as possible. The wrist shouldn't give me any problems now hopefully but we need a few more days to see whether the skin graft has taken. Dr Mir seems happy though and I am sure it is going to be fine. I tried to race on without surgery but it wasn't possible but I am glad it is done now because I can just concentrate on riding pain free. I’ll have an assessment when I get to Assen but 100% I will be riding there and I am really looking forward to it. The last two races have not been easy given my physical condition but the top six in Catalunya was great for my confidence and hopefully I can build on the momentum gained with another strong ride in Assen."
“It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and now I need to build on this result and make sure I am challenging inside the top 15 at every race. To finish in the points despite losing 1.5 seconds when I was hit by another rider is a great step forward and I found a really good feeling with the bike following the test we had at Mugello.”
THE CATHERDRAL TO SOUTH AMERICA - A 65 YEAR JOURNEY
As the Van Drenthe cicrcuit in Assen rightly named the Catherdral of Grand Prix motorcycle racing celebrates its 65th successive world championship event this weekend a new grand prix venue comes under the spotlight next week.
Riders and teams travel to Argentina after Assen to test at the brand new Circuitoi Internacional Termas de Rio Hondo which hopes to join the 2014 MotoGP schedule. The brand new circuit sitauted in the Santiago del Estero province would be the first track to stage a MotoGP event in Argentina since the 1999 event in Buenos Aires.
On July 9th 1949 the Assen circuit staged its first world championship race and it’s being so ever since making it the oldest world championship venue on two or four wheels in the world. Racing actually started on the streets surrounding the town in Northern Holland in 1925.
LORENZO GOES FOR THREE IN A ROW
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo chases his third successive grand prix win at the legendary Iveco Dutch TT in Assen on Saturday. The Spanish Yamaha rider, who has won the last two grands prix in Italy and Spain, has mixed emotions about the world famous 2.822 miles Van Drenthe Assen circuit in Northern Holland. Last year he was brought down on the very first corner of the 26 lap race but admits it’s one of his favourite circuits winning the MotoGP race in 2010, the 250 cc twice and 125cc once. He now trails countryman Dani Pedrosa by just seven points after one third of the 18 round championship.
Pedrosa has only a 125 cc win at Assen and will be flat out to halt Lorenzo’s run and will also be wary of his Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez. The 20 year old Spaniard chases his fourth successive win in Holland having won the Moto2 race for the last two years after victory in the 2010 125 cc race. He lies in third in his MotoGP rookie season 23 points behind Lorenzo.
British rider Cal Crutchlow is desperate to get his impressive season back on track after crashing out at the last round in Barcelona while chasing his third successive podium. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider knows the Assen circuit well from his World Supersport and Superbike days and is very capable of returning to the podium. He has an 11 point advantage over Valentino Rossi, the undisputed King of Assen. The Italian Yamaha rider has no less than seven wins including five MotoGP victories. The nine times World Champion finished a lonely fourth in Barcelona and knows he must improve in the new qualifying format to have any chances of running with the leaders.
The Ducati pairing of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden have made solid starts to what was always going to be a tough season and lie sixth and seventh respectively in the championship. Dovizioso has never won in Assen while Haydon secured his only grand prix victory outside America in his 2006 championship year. Former Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl has bounced back after a difficult start to the season on the LCR Honda and has finished fourth and fifth in the last two races but it’s not the same story for former 125 cc World Champion Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard has crashed out of the last two races on the Go and Fun Gresini Honda and also has memories on his first bend crash last year that brought down Lorenzo in Assen.
Former Moto2 winner Andrea Iannone hopes to get back to points scoring after crashing out in Barcelona and once again will be partnered by Italian Michele Pirro replacing the former Assen winner Ben Spies on the Ducati lab bike in the Pramac Ducati team. Aleix Espargaro continues to dominate the CRT battle after two very impressive eight places on the Power Electronics Aspar ART machine but there was an encouraging ninth place for former World Superbike Champion Colin Edwards in Barcelona on the NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki. Former 250 cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama who injured a finger in a Barcelona crash will be replaced by Spaniard Ivan Silva in the Avintia Blusens FTR team.
Scott Redding’s superb Moto2 season continues and the British rider holds a 35 point lead in the championship after a sensible fourth place in the Barcelona heat. The Marc VDS rider will be keeping a wary eye on Barcelona winner and pre-season favourite Pol Espargaro who moved into second place and his team-mate Tito Rabat who was second last time out. Redding’s team-mate Mika Kallio, who was a 125 cc Assen winner seven years ago, held onto fourth place in the championship after finishing ninth in Barcelona, but is being squeezed by the likes of Dominique Aegerter, Nico Terol and Johan Zarco.
The Moto3 Championship is turning into a battle royal between Spaniards Luis Salom and Maverick Vinales. Salom, riding the Red Bull Ajo KTM machine, won his third grand prix of the season in Barcelona to re-take the championship by a slender five points but Vinales has pedigree in Holland. The Team Laglisse KTM rider has won at Assen for the last two years in the 125 and then Moto3 classes and don’t rule out Spanish teenager Alex Rins. Apart from a crash in Jerez he has finished on the podium in every race including victory in Austin and trails Vinales by 21 points. Fourth place Jonas Folger hopes to return after breaking his wrist in a motocross accident following the Italian Grand Prix.
ASSEN FACTS AND FIGURES
Circuit Length: 4.542 kms
Width: 14 m
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 487m
Left Corners: Six
Right Corners: Twelve
Pole Position Record:
Nick Harris Media Communications