Assen, The Netherlands

2017 Assen Moto2 FP2 Result: Morbidelli Makes His Comeback

With the threat of rain looming large after a few tentative drops hit both the Moto3 and MotoGP sessions, Franco Morbidelli remembered he’s the man to beat this season, the Italian taking top position soon after the start of a dry FP2.

After the rain flag showed up but appeared undecided whether to wave or not, Takaaki Nakagami became the closest threat to the Italian, the Japanese rider getting as close as one and a half tenths, in second position.

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2017 Assen Moto3 FP2 Result: Martin Reclaims Top Spot

The lightweight class dodged the threat of rain for their second practice session and even enjoyed a few extra degrees in temperature. Less enjoyable was the wind that picked up slightly, but with the prospect of rain on Saturday, the Moto3 riders had to make the most of their time on track today.

Despite several cancelled laps for adventures outside track limits, Jorge Martin reminded us he’s the one-lap expert in the field, the Spaniard posting the fastest time just as a few drops of rain decided to fall in the final two minutes.

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2017 Assen Moto2 FP1 Result: Luthi Leads Nakagami

Things were slowly heating up despite the clouds in Assen, but the action in the intermediate class did not see many surprises. Tom Luthi grabbed the lead early in the session and never let it go, his reign at the top of the timesheets as big as three tenths of a second.

Takaaki Nakagami chipped away at that gap late in the session to go second. Miguel Oliveira had a better start to his weekend in the Netherlands, the Portuguese rider finishing third in the session. The last man within three tenths of a second off Luthi was Marcel Schrotter, the Dynavolt rider taking fourth spot from championship leader Franco Morbidelli on the final lap.

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2017 Assen MotoGP FP1 Result: Petrucci Leads After Red Flag

After a relatively carefree Moto3 session, MotoGP practice was off to a sketchy start. Barcelona winner Andrea Dovizioso ran out of luck early in the session, his Ducati smoking away and leaving a trace of oil in its wake on the outlap.

Following a significant delay, all the riders were able to get out and give it another try. With the rain always being a concern in Assen, the final ten minutes saw a bit of a windy shootout to ensure top ten positions. Danilo Petrucci had an interesting morning, the Italian ending the session in top position but having a mechanical problem on the final lap, adding to Ducati’s worries.

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2017 Assen Moto3 FP1 Result: Oettl Sneaks Ahead Of Bastianini

Assen was always going to give us a bit of a cool down after the soul-crushing heat of Barcelona, and a kind eighteen degrees welcomed the lightweight class to the first day of practice. Add a few clouds and some breeze and you get the usual recipe. Although, one different ingredient was Philipp Oettl fighting his way through traffic to pop up at the top of the timesheets in the final two minutes of the session.

Behind him, Enea Bastianini proved why he was the poleman in Assen for the past two years and why his name is scribbled next to the fastest Moto3 lap around the circuit. The Italian seems to be recovering some form of late and this second position serves to prove that.

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2017 Assen MotoGP Preview: Grip, Glory, And Sheer Guts

For the first ten years I spent writing previews for the Dutch TT at Assen, I would start have to start off on a tangent, with a brief summary of the schisms and splits of the Dutch Reformed Church. Without the background to the religious topology of The Netherlands, it is hard to explain why the race was held on Saturday. Last year, when the MotoGP race was held on a Sunday for the first time, I had to recap that, to explain why it was a big deal for the race to be held on Sunday, and to be moved from Saturday.

This year, 2017, I can leave aside the history of Dutch Protestantism and its aversion to any activity on the Sabbath. This will be the second time the race will be held on Sunday, and so the novelty of the change has worn off. It has fallen in line with the rest of the calendar, and so it is just another race weekend, same as any other. Although of course, being Assen, it is still something a bit special.

If anything, the switch from having a Saturday race to a Sunday race has been a positive boon. Though some feared the traditionalists would stay away, offended by change, visitor numbers were up last year, especially on Friday and Saturday. More people came for the race as well, despite taking place in an absolute downpour. Over 105,000 fans packed a flooded Assen, because being Assen, it is still something a bit special.

Diminished, but still glorious

Though the track has been neutered, the former glory of the North Loop removed to raise funds to improve facilities, three and a half of the circuit's four and a half kilometer length is still a unique and challenging layout. The banking and camber may be reduced, but the weird snaking layout and subtle dips and bumps make it a tough track to get absolutely perfect. It is still fast too, with corners like the Ruskenhoek, Meeuwenmeer, Hoge Heide and Ramshoek demanding both courage and skill. And it has one of the best final chicanes in the world, the GT Chicane or Geert Timmer Bocht offering the perfect final shot at a pass to win the race.

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2017 Assen MotoGP Preview Press Releases

Preview press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin:

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Anticipate Action in Assen

Following a productive test in Barcelona a little more than a week ago, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team look forward to an action-packed race at the Motul TT Assen round, where Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are keen to feature at the front of the pack.

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2017 Assen Moto2 & Moto3 Preview Press Releases

Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:


After two days of testing at Aragon, the talents of the Sky Racing Team VR46 are on track on the historic circuit of Assen.

Assen (Netherlands), June 21st, 2017 - History and speed at the Cathedral in Assen for the 8th race of the 2017. The legendary Dutch track is one of the most loved circuit by the riders of all categories and has a particular significance for the guys of the Sky Racing Team VR46.

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Pecco Bagnaia Stays In Moto2 With Sky VR46 For Another Year

Pecco Bagnaia is one Moto2 rider who will not be moving up to MotoGP in 2018. The Italian rookie, who has been impressive in his debut Moto2 season, scoring a podium at Jerez, is to remain with the Sky Racing Team VR46 for the following season.

Bagnaia had been linked to a couple of rides in MotoGP. Both Pramac and especially Aspar were keen to see the Italian youngster move up to MotoGP for next season, after his strong rides in Moto3 and impressive start to his Moto2 career. Bagnaia has chosen stability, however, remaining with the Sky VR46 team for a second season in Moto2. 

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Assen, née The Cathedral

Assen was despoiled some years ago, just like Catalunya more recently, but then the history of racing is a history of epic race tracks disappearing

Being an old MotoGP journalist is a bit like being a very old man. You keep losing the people you love, or in this case, the circuits you love. This week the paddock goes to Assen, once the most fascinating circuit on the championship calendar because it was entirely unique, offering a special challenge to riders and engineers alike.

The old Assen (shown above in all its glory) had all kinds of tricks hidden in its 3.7 miles of serpentine curves, from devilishly tricky cambers to 160mph direction changes that had to be ridden just so to prevent your machine from convulsing into the mother of all tank-slappers. The brainwork needed to solve these conundrums involved everyone, from riders to engineers to mechanics, tyre technicians and suspension twiddlers. If a rider won at Assen, his crew knew as well as he did that they had done something very special. Not for nothing was the place called The Cathedral.

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