2011 MotoGP Assen Press Release Previews - Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki

Press release previews of the Dutch TT in Assen from the factory Yamaha team, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, Rizla Suzuki, Repsol Honda, San Carlo Gresini Honda and Bridgestone:

Next stop Assen for Rizla Suzuki and Bautista

Publish Date: Monday, June 20, 2011

Rizla Suzuki is on its way to ‘The Cathedral of Motorcycle Racing' as it heads to the Netherlands for the Dutch TT in Assen, and round seven of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.

Álvaro Bautista is in a positive mood as he travels to the 4,542m Dutch circuit – a track that he tasted 250cc GP victory at in 2008 – following a confidence-building display last time out at Silverstone. Bautista performed well in the cold and wet conditions at the English circuit and he is convinced the Suzuki package has made a major step forward, which will enable him to push forward and get the GSV-R a lot nearer the front of the pack.

Assen is the only venue that has staged a Grand Prix every season since the start of the championship in 1949 and is unique in being the only race staged on a Saturday. The track is located in the north of The Netherlands, near the town of Groningen, and although the circuit has undergone some changes to make it safer in recent years, it is still a very technical, twisty layout with little room for error and one that riders really enjoy racing at. The Assen circuit was originally constructed in 1955 – previous to that the races were run on the open roads around the area – and it is the only road-racing circuit in the MotoGP series that was specifically designed for motorcycle racing. It is commonly known as ‘The Cathedral' of motorcycling to fans and racers alike as it is held in such high esteem by both.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will take to track on Thursday this week for two free practice sessions, followed by another practice and qualifying on Friday. The 26-lap race gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT) On Saturday 25th June.

Álvaro Bautista:

"We will be looking to continue with the same progress we had at Silverstone when we get to Assen this week. We made big steps in England, because it was very cold all weekend and we were able to be competitive and went a long way forward from where we were last year. It was cold at Assen in 2010 and we struggled, so we are hoping that what happened last week will help us if the conditions are the same – I hope it's a lot warmer though and that won't be an issue! The two circuits are quite similar, they are very fast with some good corners and it will be like continuing our work from where we finished at Silverstone. I won at Assen in 2008 and although it will be tough to try and repeat that, I believe we now have the package to start to run nearer the front on a regular basis."

Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 7: Netherlands, TT Assen

Monday 20 June 2011

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard

Round seven of the MotoGP World Championship takes the paddock to the historic Assen circuit for the Dutch TT, one of the longest-standing races on the calendar and a race with great history in motorcycle racing. The 81st TT Assen weekend takes place on Saturday 25 June, and marks the 62nd time the race had appeared on the Grand Prix calendar having been included every year since 1949.

The circuit has appeared in various guises over the years, including as the historic TT road course, and last year underwent another change in the form of the re-profiling and smoothing of the Ruskenhoek kink. Allowing riders to carry more speed through the fast right-handed kink, the change made the circuit 13 metres shorter and the laptimes two seconds faster.

The result of all these changes though is that Assen's track surface is inconsistent and the mix of newer and older asphalt offers differing levels of grip and abrasion, where the new sections of tarmac are slippery and the older parts abrasive. This makes it hard for riders to get a consistent feeling throughout a lap, and very tricky in the wet.

Generally, Assen is not so demanding for front tyres so the soft and medium compounds can be used to generate more grip and more positive feeling for the riders on the slippery tarmac. Loads are high on the right shoulders of the rear tyres though because of the circuit's fast and flowing nature and specifically the long and fast succession of corners from turn ten to thirteen when the right shoulders of the rear tyres have very little respite. The circuit is fast, especially with last year's slight change, and now average race speeds are faster than Mugello and Silverstone making it the second fastest race on the calendar.

The asymmetric medium and hard compound rear slicks will again be used at Assen, meaning Bridgestone's tyre allocation is unchanged from this race last year.

Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

"The Dutch TT is one of motorcycle racing's most historic, and although it has greatly changed over the years, it has a special place in the hearts of many, including the fans. The season is really taking shape now, and especially with this run of six races in eight weeks the momentum is really building. Casey arrives in Assen with the championship lead just ahead of Jorge who won there last year, and we also hope that the recoveries of Dani and Cal are going sufficiently well to see them return to action soon."

Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division

"Assen is a smooth circuit that requires asymmetric tyres because of the high loads placed on the right shoulders of the rear tyres. Following its modification in 2006 there are two distinct types of tarmac; the new part is slippery whilst the old is abrasive, making it particularly tricky in the wet. The circuit was also changed slightly for last year's race when the Ruskenhoek corner was smoothed out to reduce the total lap length by 13 metres. The tyres have to cope with a wide range of corners from very slow to high speed and shoulder grip is crucial. The first few corners are linked as one and gradually tighten, requiring good right shoulder durability, and corners such as the 200km/h+ Ramshoek demand absolute commitment and generate relatively high tyre temperature."


Héctor Barberá looking for a good result at the scene of his first career podium

The MotoGP teams and riders have had a week to recover from the first back-to-back races of the season (Catalunya - Silverstone) and now they must prepare for another pair. The first is one of the most prestigious of the season, taking place at the 'Cathedral' of modern motorcycle racing. The Dutch TT at Assen, which will be quickly followed by the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, takes place in its regular slot of the final Saturday in June and is the seventh round of the current season. The championship has a new leader in the shape of Casey Stoner, who will try to extend his advantage over current World Champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Héctor Barberá heads to Assen in high spirits. The MAPFRE Aspar rider has fond memories of the circuit, having scored the first podium of his career there and after a chaotic race at Silverstone because of the weather and a poor set-up choice the Spaniard is desperate to make up for it. Héctor is keen to re-establish himself as a force in the top ten and a change in luck will no doubt see him do that.

Héctor Barberá: "The good thing about having races so close together is that you don't lose your rhythm and if things don't go your way in one race you quickly have the opportunity to put things right. That is the case for us because Sunday at Silverstone was a bit of a disaster. We tried a couple of things for the wet conditions but they didn't work out. Now we can keep working hard and I am sure that at Assen, one of my favourite circuits, I can be fast with the Ducati. I had my first podium there and I always like it. Assen has some fast corners like Silverstone and I can adapt well. We had a good feeling at Silverstone in the dry so hopefully we can recreate that this weekend."

Yamaha Prepare to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix Racing at Assen

The historic circuit of Assen welcomes MotoGP back this week for what is a very special occasion for Yamaha. The 2011 Assen TT will witness a full livery change by Yamaha Factory Racing as part of ongoing activities to celebrate the iconic Japanese manufacturer's 50th year of Grand Prix racing. The beautiful red and white colour scheme will be launched to the media on Wednesday close to the Assen circuit, signaling the start of the Yamaha Expo which will run the full TT week.

Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will be looking to put the previous race at Silverstone behind them and focus on delivering strong results at Assen, a track favoured by both. Lorenzo has won on the Dutch circuit in all three GP classes; team mate Spies took pole and a race win in 2009 in World Superbike and finished fourth last year in his rookie GP visit.

The Assen circuit, sometimes referred to as the ‘cathedral' by race fans due to its status and historical significance in racing, is the only circuit to have been part of the Grand Prix World Championship calendar since its inception. The circuit, which celebrated the 80th Anniversary of TT racing last year, has undergone many changes over that time. Initially run on public roads it has evolved into one of the most physically demanding and technical tracks in Grand Prix with high speed chicanes and varied camber changes.

Jorge Lorenzo

"Assen is my favourite track where I've won in all categories and also last season. This year it is very special coming here because we celebrate the 50th Anniversary! Now we are in second position in the championship, we come here looking to put pressure on the leader. I need to do the same job as I've done before with maximum effort. The team is focused and I wish to come back to finish at least on the podium."

Ben Spies

"I've really been looking forward to coming to Assen again. It's a track I love and the Yamaha M1 seems to really work well here. It's a fast track which I really enjoy, I have so many memories of watching the racing on TV here as a kid, it's a privilege to race here now. I'm still pretty sore from Silverstone's crash but I'm not going to let it stop me giving 100% as always and going for the best results possible. It's also going to be really cool to go out on the track in the special livery in front of all the fans."

Wilco Zeelenberg

"We've been looking forward to Assen because of our special livery, I love the bike in white and red. We are currently second in the championship which is not such a bad position; we will see if we can put some heat on the feet of Casey. We made a mistake at Silverstone and now with 18 points deficit it's a different situation for Jorge compared to most of last season and this year where he's always been in front. When you lead you can't be better than that so we need to be on top of everything and I believe he is able to fight with Casey for victory. We were only two tenths behind the front in qualifying at Silverstone so we have proved that our package is getting better and better and closer to the front."

Massimo Meregalli

"This is the first of our 50th anniversary race celebrations, I am proud to be part of this unique event and to be a part of Yamaha at this time. The team has worked really hard to prepare for this, we hope racing fans will be delighted with the special livery on not only the bikes but also our uniforms and pit garage. The Assen circuit should be good for us this weekend; our bike should be competitive thanks to the layout and characteristics of the track, it is also one of Ben's best circuits to ride on. In dry conditions at Silverstone it was clear that the direction we are taking in development is working and we are confident here we can continue this improvement. I'm impatient for Thursday morning to get started."

Stoner and Dovizioso upbeat, Pedrosa still uncertain as Championship heads to historic Assen

This weekend the Repsol Honda Team travels to Holland to take part in the Dutch TT, the seventh round of the MotoGP Championship, with Casey Stoner leading the Championship, Andrea Dovizioso in third place overall and Dani Pedrosa - now fifth after missing the last 2 GPs - working hard to return to racing as soon as possible after receiving another surgery last Thursday.

Sadly, it looks like the Repsol Honda team will face another GP without Pedrosa. The Spanish rider is still recovering after his surgery last Thursday to fix a small fragment of bone in the right collarbone that had moved during his previous rehabilitation. Dani, who confirmed he will be back on his RC212V in Mugello on the 3rd July, is feeling better and better each day, but at this moment it is almost certain he will not return in Assen.

Championship leader Casey Stoner is in fantastic form at the moment, with four wins out of six races. The Australian rider will be looking for another strong result at a track where he has visited the podium every year since 2007.

His team mate Andrea Dovizioso is also looking forward to racing at Assen after his strong podium finish in the British GP. Even though the Italian rider has scored only one podium finish from his previous outings at the Dutch TT - a third place in 2006 in the 250cc class - Dovizioso is eager to repeat a good result on a track that he enjoys.

If, as it looks more likely, Pedrosa will not race in Assen, he will be replaced in the Repsol Honda team by Hiroshi Aoyama, with HRC test rider, Kousuke Akiyoshi stepping in to take his place in the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team. HRC would be pleased to give an opportunity to Aoyama to race in Assen on the Factory RC212V and thanks Gresini Racing Team for their cooperation.

Assen is the only track to have hosted a Grand Prix every year since the World Championship began in 1949. It was originally based around the public roads and the camber changes in some places still reflect that. Despite undergoing some drastic alterations a few years ago, the circuit features fast, flowing corners and rapid direction changes which will fully test the agility of Honda RC212V. Traditionally held on the last Saturday in June, the weekend programme begins a day earlier than usual, with first practice starting at 10.10 on Thursday morning.


"It was a tough race in Silverstone and to come away with three wins in a row and also the Championship lead is awesome, so it's been nice to have a break after such a good time! I'm really looking forward to going to Assen, it's a nice track, the first section is a little slow and doesn't do too much for me, but the last part is a lot of fun. I believe the RC212V will work well for us there as it has done at all circuits so far this season. We will work hard to get the set up right on the bike and hope to challenge for another win, but right now we need to go ahead doing our best each race. I'm really sorry to hear Dani had to undergo another operation, he really doesn't deserve all this bad luck and I hope he'll be ok soon".


"After the podium finish at Silverstone, I look forward to race in Assen. I really like the old track, now with the several modifications it has lost a bit his unique identity. We are on good form and feel that we will also be strong this weekend. In particular at Silverstone we did a very good strategy and a good race so I'm motivated to get another strong result for the Championship. It's a circuit in two sections - the first part is quite slow while the second part, the old Assen, is technically more demanding. I'm really sorry that Dani had to have another surgery. I hope that he recovers soon and he comes back completely recovered".


"It's been some days since the surgery and I feel much better. I don't feel the pain I had before the operation and the evolution has been very good. I've already begun the rehabilitation and I am very positive. Every day I notice an improvement and this is very good because I really wish to get back on the bike as soon as possible. To be honest it will be very difficult for me to make it to Assen, but I really believe I will be OK for Mugello, so now I'm focused on working to get better every day and see how far I get. I want to return as soon as possible, but I want to do the right thing".

Historic Assen awaits Edwards and Crutchlow

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team resumes the busiest period of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship calendar with a visit to the world famous Assen circuit in Holland this week.

The circuit is steeped in history and is the only venue to have hosted a World Championship round in every year since its inception in 1949, with the race also unique as it is traditionally staged on a Saturday.

American Colin Edwards heads to one of his favourite tracks with confidence sky high after he overcame atrocious conditions and a painful rib injury to claim a stunning rostrum at Silverstone's British Grand Prix earlier this month.

The 37-year-old's achievement was made even m ore remarkable considering it was only nine days after he broke his right collarbone in a practice crash for the Catalunya round. Edwards has been able to rest and recuperate at home in Texas, gaining vital strength in his upper body as he prepares for another physically demanding weekend. He expects to be in much better physical shape than Silverstone, but is still not 100 per cent recovered because of muscle damage around his right ribs.

Cal Crutchlow has worked tirelessly to get himself fit for action this weekend, the British rider showing outstanding courage and determination to be back with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew less than two weeks after he broke his left collarbone in a heavy qualifying fall for his home race at Silverstone.

Since leaving the Royal Derby Hospital last Wednesday having undergone successful surgery to pin and plate the collarbone that was broken in five places, the 25-year-old has worked round the clock to get his shoulder healed quicker. Crutchlow will start practice on Thursday and he's determined to race in round seven of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.

Colin Edwards, 8th - 37 points:

"I am really looking forward to Assen because I love the track. It is not the old Assen of a few years back, but there are still plenty of sections of the track that are awesome on a MotoGP bike. It's fair to say I've got some history at Assen. I got a podium in 2005 and 2008, but don't remind me what happened in 2006. I couldn't be more confident going to Assen though than I am now. The Silverstone result was fantastic for the whole Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It gave everybody a boost and it was great coming so quickly after my collarbone injury. I've had a lot of time relaxing and resting up with my family at home and the shoulder has onl y got stronger. It was like brand new in Silverstone, so I'm not worried about that at all. My right side is still hurting because I separated the muscles from my ribs, so I'm expecting a bit of discomfort from that. The rib injury has improved but I still don't think I'll have my maximum strength. I'll be looking for another strong result in Assen to build on the momentum gained from Silverstone."

Cal Crutchlow, 10th - 30 points:

"Assen is another track that I know from my time in World Superbikes, but I will have to see how my shoulder is doing on the bike and go from there. It is Yamaha's 50th anniversary and I will do my best to be there and support them."

TT Circuit Assen Information:


Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949. The circuit was purpose built for the Dutch TT in 1954, with previous events having been held on public roads. The track is narrow, with rapid changes in direction, and is fully surrounded by grass banks and grandstands, providing excellent viewing for the hundreds of thousands of fanatical spectators who are drawn to the most prestigious event in Dutch motorsport every year. A huge favourite with riders, Assen is well known for its festive and extravagant atmosphere.

In 1999 the circuit was modified with a new grandstand, control tower, press centre and renovated boxes. Modifications to the Assen circuit over the winter of 2005/6 saw the length of the championship's longest serving track cut from over 6km down to 4.555km/2.83miles.

Circuit Info:
Length: 4.542 km
Width: 14 m
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 487m
Left Corners: 6
Right Corners: 12
Pole Position Record: Jorge Lorenzo/Yamaha, 1.34.515 (2010)
Lap Record: Dani Pedrosa/Honda, 1'34.525 (2010)


Marco Simoncelli returned home from Silverstone with his head down but determined to turn the page in the next round at Assen. The Italian is looking to end a disastrous run of five races without a result to show for his outstanding efforts in practice, having shown podium potential only to come away virtually empty handed in each of the last five races. Assen could be the start of a new chapter for 'Super Sic' as the circuit is one of his favourites, even since its definitive modification back in 2006, before which Marco was a particular fan. Opportunity knocks for Hiroshi Aoyama, who in the likely outcome that Dani Pedrosa is unfit to ride at Assen will contest the Dutch TT on board the Spaniard's factory Honda RC212V as part of the Repsol Honda Team. It is an arrangement that Team San Carlo Honda Gresini, who enjoy a close relationship with HRC, were more than happy to facilitate as it will no doubt be a constructive experience for Hiroshi. His place at Team San Carlo Honda Gresini will be taken by test rider HRC Kousuke Akiyoshi should this eventuality occur.

Marco Simoncelli "I spent two or three days with my head down after Silverstone before I started to get over the disappointment. That torrid day in England is now firmly behind me though and I am looking forward to Assen with the sole objective of continuing to work in exactly the same way that we have done in recent Grands Prix but this time following it up with a result on race day. We are on the right lines and we remain confident that the results will come. I like the Assen circuit even though I have to say the old layout was more interesting. Anyway, apart from the twisty first sections it is still one of my favourite circuits so I am sure I can be running up front again this weekend."

Hiroshi Aoyama "I will most probably be contesting the Dutch TT at Assen on board a factory RC212V as part of the Repsol Honda Team. I would like to thank Team San Carlo Honda Gresini and HRC for offering me this great opportunity."

Fausto Gresini "Obviously the race result at Silverstone was disappointing for Marco, who had been very fast in practice, but now we have to look ahead with confidence and go to Assen, a circuit that Marco likes and which suits him, with the same conviction that we have tackled the last few rounds. We don't want to talk about results because we don't want to tempt fate and make predictions that could then lead to disappointment. We know we can do well and if everything goes right for us we can be fighting for the best possible outcome. Hiroshi Aoyama will probably have the chance to race at Assen on the factory machine and we are very pleased with that. It is another sign of the close working relationship we have with HRC and we are sure that for Hiroshi Aoyama it will be a worthwhile experience."



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As much as it is regrettable that it looks to be that Dani will miss the Assen round, I must say the prospect of Hiro standing in for him is something to look forward to.
Given the opportunity to race against Simmo on equal kit must really raise his spirits. He already leads him in the standings so he can afford to go for a very good finish even if he doesn't beat Simmo in the race.
So there you have it. If it pans out as presumed, Hiro will have a new factory Honda in a manner of speaking and Valentino an all new factory Ducati.
Lets hope/pray that Saturday sees a full grid line up at the start and that all cross under the chequered flag come race end.
That in its own right would make for riveting viewing as it would give us a clearer view of the current pecking order. Clearer skies will help !!!.