Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
THE SKY RACING TEAM VR46 IS READY FOR THE DUTCH GP
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.
Last year, in Moto3, Francesco Bagnaia scored the first win in his young career right on the final straight. A year later, Pecco backs to Assen on his Kalex, motivated to continue the work started at Aragon in last weekend. Alongside him, Stefano Manzi, who after a series of unlucky retirements, wants to show his potential on a track that saw him among the protagonists in 2013 at the time of the Rookies Cup.
Good memories also for Andrea Migno, who in 2016 achieved to the third step of the podium, at Pecco's side, after an incredible overtaking in the last chicane. How not to mention Nicolò Bulega, seventh at the debut on the difficult Dutch track after conquering the first row in qualifying. Andrea and Nicolò, both engaged in the two-day of testing in Aragon last week, will continue to work on the track at KTM's side to reduce the gap from the first guys after the beautiful recovering in Montmelò.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
Assen is a track that brings to mind sweet memories and this will be an extra injection of confidence for the GP. In Moto3, last year, Andrea and Nicolò conquered the first row and then Migno finished in third place the race. Just at the last chicane he signed an incredible overtaking that led him directly to the third step of the podium. Pecco, however, cut the finish line in first position, conquering the first victory of his young career in Moto3. Even Stefano already knows the track and this will help him to better face the first practices. We are here after the two days of testing at Aragon and we can make another important step on the track. Not to forget the weather, which in Assen is always unknown.
I back to Assen a year after my first victory in the Championship. Much has changed: the bike, the Team, the category, but I'm motivated to do something important on this historic track. Let's go back to the Kalex after two days of testing at Aragon and I can not wait to get back at work.
Assen is a very fast and technical track. It will be a great challenge to face for the first time on the Moto2. I already know the track from the Rookies Cup and I also rode here in Moto3 in 2015. After a series of retirements, the goal is to finish the race close to the points area.
Last year this race was special for me. An incredible overtaking in the last sector brought me to the first career podium. This is a good motivation to go back to the track and continue to give my 100%. I really like the track, and in Barcelona we were close to the first guys. We worked hard at the Aragon test and we can do well here.
Assen I think it is, with Mugello and Phillip Island, one of my favorite tracks. I went here for the first time last year and it was immediately a great feeling. In Montmelò I was able to set a good race, with a great recovery in the final laps. We continued to work at the test in Aragon, so we are ready to give our best. Fingers crossed for the weather, hoping it will not play bad jokes.
Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team chase positive results at Assen
Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder to race at Assen having made improvements in testing last week.
06/21/2017 - TT Circuit Assen, The Netherlands
After a weekend off, the Moto2 World Championship season resumes with another two consecutive weeks of races. The first will be held this Sunday at the "Cathedral of Motorcycle Racing," the TT Circuit Assen. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders are eager to contrast improvements that they made in the two days of testing held last week at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, following the Catalan GP.
Miguel Oliveira is chasing his third consecutive Top 5 finish, after the fifth and fourth places achieved at the Italian and Catalan GPs. Fifteenth last year at Assen in his only Moto2 race there to date, the historic Dutch track was one of the most fruitful for the Portuguese in Moto3: He has a third position -2014- and a victory -2015- there, the latter with Red Bull KTM Ajo.
For Brad Binder, the post-race test was used to improve his riding. In addition, the week off has allowed him to train in the gym and work with physiotherapists and, according to the South African, he arrives in Assen in his best shape this year. In Moto3 he hadn't easy races at the Dutch TT, with seventh position in 2015 his best result, and he hopes to do better in the intermediate class.
In a change to the normal schedule and due to the event coinciding with an F1 round, the Moto2 race will be at 2.30pm on Sunday.
41 BRAD BINDER
"The test in Barcelona was very positive. I felt that I improved my riding a lot, which is very important for me because I was pushing a lot during the race weekend. I feel that I will get to Assen much stronger. This week I have made great progress with my training too; I’ve felt that my arms are stronger than before. I am definitely in the best physical condition I have been in this year. I hope to make Assen the best race of the year and start building my way to the top positions. Assen is a circuit that I have found difficult in the past, but at the same time I have always been fast there. Let's see what awaits us this weekend."
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
"The two days of testing last week in Barcelona were very interesting and we found very positive solutions to improve the setup of the bike. Now we go to Assen, a circuit that is much narrower than those we have raced at so far, and very flowing. It is often difficult to get accustomed to the perfect line. I'm sure it will go well and I'm very motivated after these last two Top 5s. We are hoping to continue in the top positions this weekend."
Bo Bendsneyder ready for home round at Assen
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider aiming for great result this weekend at the Dutch TT, as his teammate Niccolo Antonelli.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders have been gaining confidence at recent Grands Prix, but are still waiting to get onto the podium. They look to do that this weekend at a very special round for Bo Bendsneyder, as the World Championship visits ‘The Cathedral of Motorcycle Racing,’ the TT Circuit Assen. Both he and Niccolo Antonelli are fans of the legendary track, considered by both to be one of the most fun circuits on the calendar.
For Dutchman Bendsneyder, the trip to Assen has been eagerly awaited. It will be his second Dutch TT, and he is the only home rider in any of the three World Championship classes. Ninth last year, he wants to challenge for the rostrum after finding improvements in testing at Barcelona last week.
In that test, Antonelli suffered a dislocated left shoulder. The small setback will not prevent the Italian from being ready for this weekend, and with two Top5 finishes in the last three years, he has the podium firmly in his sights for the 2017 event.
After the change made last year, for the second time in its history the Dutch TT will be contested on Sunday, and not on Saturday as was previously traditional. The Moto3 race will be held at 11am.
23 NICCOLO ANTONELLI
"It’s been a tough week, because I have been suffering a lot of pain in my left arm after dislocating it at the test. I've been doing physiotherapy sessions but at the beginning of the week I started training normally, so I'm happy. I like Assen a lot, and I have a lot of fun riding there. There are spectacular corners that make it one of the most beautiful and fun to ride at. I can’t wait to get on the bike and take a step forward after having had a good race in Barcelona."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"The Catalan GP was not our best race, but especially in the post-race test the feeling we had was very good. I’m looking forward to my home GP and to getting a good result. I really like Assen and I have already raced there many times. I especially love the last part of the track; it’s fast and I think the Dutch riders have the perfect line. I’m feeling a little pressure, but it's because I want to do my best to dedicate the result to my family and my fans. I will have to work hard throughout the weekend and the minimum goal should be the Top5, or a podium for the Dutch fans to be proud of."
Joan Mir to Assen as championship leader, Livio Loi heads "home"
The leader of the Moto3 class arrives in Holland after his extraordinary victory at Montmelo. His teammate, determined to ride well in front of his fans, aims to make up for lost time and return to the positions that count.
After a week of rest, the MotoGP circus is set to march to the heart of Europe for another "double" with two races in sequence: the Grand Prix of Holland and next week in Germany.
It begins with the Assen round, which has been a permanent appointment on the World Championship calendar since its inception in 1949. Until 1955, the races were held on a city track, after which they started running on what has since been known as the "TT Circuit". The last modifications in 2006 reduced the distance from the original 6 km to just 4.5 km, with 6 curves on the left and 12 on the right. Since last year, for the first time in the history of racing, the Grand Prix of Holland was held on a Sunday (giving up the traditional Saturday slot).
The Leopard Racing team arrives at the "Cathedral of Motorcycling" with the morale as high as the stars, the team’s excitement barely fading since Mir’s nail biting win in Catalunya, obtained in the last corners. This proved to be the fourth win in seven races fir the Palma de Mallorca talent who extended his lead in the points table. In 2016, his Rookie season in Moto3, the Spaniard performed one of his miracle rides, starting 21st and closing in 8th: this year Mir will aim to improve his place even further.
The home air will play an important role for his teammate Livio Loi, the Belgian, will be called to redeem himself after the last performance where he ended outside the points. The 20-year-old from Hasselt, this weekend in Assen will receive the love and affection of his fans and will aim to give them a nice result that will hopefully assist his position in the championship.
Canet and Bastianini ready for the challenge of 'The Cathedral'
After a productive test at MotorLand Aragon, Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 head to the eighth round of the season: The Dutch TT.
Aron Canet and Enea Bastianini have another weekend of intense action ahead, as they take on the legendary Dutch TT at Assen. For the second time ever, the race will be held on a Sunday.
The recent Catalan Grand Prix –a home round for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0- saw Bastianini and Canet place fourth and fifth, respectively. Now the Moto3 World Championship moves on to Assen, where Canet set the fastest lap in the race last year (1:42.778), but crashed out with 15 laps to go when riding in eighth.
Bastianini, who started from pole position for that race, did not finish due to a crash with only 4 laps remaining.
The Moto3 teams will begin their activity on Friday at 9am, with the opening Free Practice for the Dutch TT.
10th in the overall standings with 49 points
"The TT Circuit at Assen is a track that I really like, and I've always been very fast there"
"The TT Circuit at Assen is a track that I really like, and I've always been very fast there. In the Catalan Grand Prix we took a big step forward and it was a shame that a mistake at the end of the race meant we couldn’t get on the podium, although we were very close and fourth position was not a bad result. After the test at MotorLand Aragón I think we are in even better shape, because we tried solutions that confirmed what the way forward is, and it was also useful for improving my riding style. We hope to have good weather conditions and that we can enjoy a great weekend in Holland."
3rd in the overall standings with 85 points
"Last year at Assen things suited me from the start"
"I like the Dutch TT quite a lot, because I'm very fast at Assen. Last year, although I wasn’t familiar with the track, it suited me right from the start and we rode with a very good pace. It’s a circuit like Le Mans or Austin -which fits my riding style very well. We will have to work intensively on our braking to get out of the corners faster, because they are very tight, fast and flowing; If you lose tenths of a second at one corner, it carries over to the following turns. We hope to achieve a great result in the race and do what we couldn’t last year."
NAVARRO EAGER TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING AT ASSEN
Jorge Navarro’s Moto2 rookie season finally took off courtesy of the results he scored first in Italy and then at his home race at Mugello. The 21-year-old Spanish rider is therefore looking forward to the upcoming races, starting from this weekend’s Dutch GP at the TT Circuit Assen, where he will once again be on board the Kalex Honda machine of the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2.
Last year, Navarro was on the front row of the grid to claim a fourth-place finish in what was his so-far only appearance at the Dutch venue in 2015. With no braking marks for the Moto2 class, Jorge will try and improve on his recent results on a track that might suit his riding style well.
The Dutch GP Moto2 weekend will get underway at 10:55 local time (GMT +2), with the middleweight class encounter to be unusually placed at the end of race day on Sunday – at 14:30.
JORGE NAVARRO #9
“We get to Assen after two positive GPs and we want to keep improving – that’s the absolute goal for the weekend. We were within the top-10 in all sessions at Montmeló and so we must do the same at Assen, whilst trying to improve in each and every session. It’s a track that suits well my riding style, although we’re yet to see that with the Moto2 bike. In 2015 things went pretty well while last year I was out due to injury, so I don’t see why we cannot do well this weekend!
TEAM DEL CONCA GRESINI MOTO3 TO RESUME BATTLE AT ASSEN
The 2017 Moto3 World Championship returns to action after a weekend’s break, with Team Del Conca Gresini Moto3 ready to tackle the Dutch GP which takes place at the iconic TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands. This will be the first of two back-to-back events for Fabio Di Giannantonio and Jorge Martin, who will then race at the Sachsenring next Sunday.
‘Diggia’ is looking forward to bouncing back after the OK performance at Barcelona to keep his championship hopes alive. Last year, the 19-year-old Italian claimed his second rostrum finish, a tally he has already bettered this year having finished in the top-3 already at Austin, Le Mans and Mugello.
With five pole positions and rostrum finishes so far, Jorge Martin’s season is back in the right direction courtesy of the third place taken at Montmeló, which also improved his championship situation. The young Spaniard, who sat out last year’s Dutch GP due to a hand injury, will try to get up to speed already from the first free practice – scheduled to begin at 9:00 local time (GMT +2) – to aim for his first race win.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #21
“After what was surely not the best race of my life at Barcelona, we get to Assen where last year I scored the second podium finish of my career. It’s a track I really enjoy, they call it the ‘Cathedral’ for a reason and it’s such a fun track to ride on a Moto3 bike! The goal is to get back in the podium contention and keep working to improve the front-end of the bike!”
JORGE MARTIN #88
“Assen is a track that really suits my style and my Rookies Cup results there show it quite clearly. I trained as hard as I could in the last few days and in Montmeló we were able to improve the bike quite a lot, so I cannot wait to be back with my team and take to the track!”
Marini and Baldassarri move forward to the Netherlands with high hopes
With a varied Grand Prix of Catalunya in their pockets both Forward Racing Team riders, Luca Marini and Lorenzo Baldassarri travel this weekend to Assen for the eighth round of the 2017 Moto2 World Championship. The promising pair arrives well prepared in the Netherlands in order to play its cards brilliantly at the unique 4.555 km ‘Cathedral of Speed’.
Marini used the days after the Barcelona GP to get as close as possible to full fitness, after his crash from Le Mans forced him to sit out the last race in sunny Catalunya due to an inflammation in his left shoulder. The talented Italian, who retains the ninth spot in the overall standings, is now more primed than ever to show his high potential and feels ready to tackle the demanding Dutch GP, which is the only Grand Prix, that has always been part of the calendar since its World Championship debut in 1949.
On the other hand, Baldassarri arrives full of confidence after his fifth-place finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Thereby, the 20-year old was able to close up on the overall top 10 in the standings of the highly competitive intermediate class, and is now eager to repeat past success in the Netherlands. Baldassarri well remembers a win in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in 2011 plus his fifth position in 2016 at the particular venue close to the city of Groningen.
This weekends’ 8th round of the season commences as usual with the first free practice at 10:55 local time on Friday. Yet the ‘Cathedral’ holds some changes for Sunday, as the race of the Moto2 class is set to start at 14:30, which differs from the usual European time schedule.
“First of all, I have to test my physical condition in Assen, after having been unable to ride in Barcelona. However, I feel confident and in a decent shape, as I have been working hard during the last week and the beginning of this one. Overall, I am already better, therefore I believe I can be on track for all the practices and especially the race. The circuit itself is a nice one, quite particular, but I like it, because it’s very fast and technical and as always I’ll try to do my best.”
“This weekend we head over to Assen, which is a very special track with many fast and flowing corners, just as I like them to be, especially in the last part. I have good memories at this circuit, for example a win in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and we had a very positive round there last year as well. I feel ready for the GP and I am well prepared. I don’t expect the weather to be as hot as in Barcelona, but whatever expects us I can’t wait to get back on my bike.”
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner
“After the misfortune for Luca in Barcelona we are really looking forward to the next round and wish to have a steady and good weekend for both our riders. Assen is always a great place to be, not just for the fantastic fans there, who stick around the track in all kind of conditions, but also for the circuit itself, which is truly interesting. For Luca, Barcelona has been difficult, but we’re sure he will feel better this time, as we know him as tireless worker and we’re convinced he did everything possible to be closer to 100% again for this GP. On Lorenzo’s side, we remember his good weekend here last year with a fifth-place result and it goes without saying, that we can expect a lot from him this time again. I know, that I repeat this a lot, but I’m sure too, that we can’t say it often enough: many thanks to our entire team for the fabulous job they are doing at every Grand Prix and a huge thank you to all of our Forward Racing Team sponsors, who go through thick and thin with us, your support is just overwhelming!”
Márquez and Morbidelli gear up for Assen showdown
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez, both head to Assen for round eight of the Moto2 World Championship with the podium firmly in their sights.
Morbidelli dominated the early part of the season, winning the first three races and then bouncing back from a crash in Jerez to win again in Le Mans, giving him a commanding lead in the championship.
It's a championship lead that has been significantly reduced of late, with Morbidelli now only seven points ahead of Tom Lüthi in second and 20 points clear of Márquez in third, after the Italian missed out on the podium in both Mugello and Barcelona.
Assen was the scene of Morbidelli's first Moto2 podium finish for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS a year ago. The 22-year-old heads back to the Netherlands this time around determined to get his championship campaign back on track with a similarly strong performance.
But it is Márquez who arrives at Assen as the rider in the best form. The 20-year-old Spaniard is currently riding a wave of confidence after finishing third in Mugello and then going on to secure his second race win of the season with a dominant performance in Barcelona one week later.
Márquez doubled up with wins in Barcelona and Assen during his Moto3 championship winning season in 2014 and the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider is keen to repeat that success this year, as he works to close the gap on Lüthi and Morbidelli in the championship standings.
"The last two races have been difficult and I've seen my lead in the championship reduced as a result, but that doesn't add any pressure going into Assen. The pressure is the same as it has been for the first seven races and our approach to the weekend will remain the same also. We know where we need to improve after Mugello and Barcelona, where we were struggling a little on the brakes, but I'm confident that if we put in the work this weekend then we can improve in this area and come away from Assen with a another good result."
"Assen ranks as one of my favourite tracks and from the first time I raced there with the Moto3 bike I was fast. I won in 2014, after also winning in Barcelona, but I think it will be difficult to repeat that this weekend. Of course I go there to try and win, but not at all cost. I won in Jerez, but I made mistakes in the race. In Barcelona I didn't make one mistake and I need to continue in this way now, racing for the win when it's possible and racing intelligently when it's not. It's close in the championship standings, but you win the championship not at the summer break, but at the last race of the season. To go into these two races looking to claw back a 20-point deficit just to lead into the summer break would be a mistake, one that increases the risk of a crash and zero points. If we can close the gap to Franco in Assen and at the Sachsenring then I'll be happy, as it will set us up nicely for the second half of the season. Of course, it won't be easy, but that's the goal."
Where modern motorsport meets tradition
Preview: Assen GP
On the upcoming weekend the 8th race of the FIM Motorcycle World Championship will be held at the "TT Circuit" in Assen. For the second time in the tradition of MotoGPTM in the Netherlands the Moto3TM race will kick off on a Sunday at 11am.
For the 8th race of the season the MotoGPTM circus stops at the centre of motorsports in the Netherlands. For the “Motul TT Assen” the team of Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT will compete on the circuit with the most tradition out of all tracks in the race calendar.
Since the founding of the FIM Motorcycle World Championship in 1949 the TT Circuit Assen is the only race track who uninterruptedly held a race of the Championship every year. Known as The Cathedral of Motorsports being part of the Dutch TT is a must-do for plenty motorcycle fans from the Netherlands and also from other parts of Europe.
For sure the upcoming weekend will mean a lot of work for the crew and its riders Kornfeil and Pulkkinen. After the difficult weekends in Mugello and Barcelona the team is highly motivated to work hard and gain more points. Having only five points in the World Standings there is still some catching up to do.
With the home race right around the corner the squad from Saxony is putting in all efforts to ring in the long-awaited uptrend.
#84 Jakub Kornfeil:
“Well Assen is not one of my favourite tracks. Last year it was quite hard for me in the qualifying but during the race I gained a lot of positions so I still think we can get a good result there. The track is really fast and you have a lot of fast corners. The last sector of the circuit is quite cool because you pretty much go full gas until the finish line. The track is difficult and you have to be fully concentrated all the time. Also the weather is always a surprise in Assen as well so we will see what happens. Our goal is to get points this weekend.”
#4 Patrik Pulkkinen:
“After the weekend in Barcelona where I wasn´t really satisfied with my performance I got back home and continued with my training. I was riding Supermoto a lot and spent a lot of time with my coach cycling and in the gym. I still need to work on my physical fitness so every time I am at home I spent my time like this. Also I watched a lot of videos to prepare for the race. Assen Circuit is one of the tracks I know the most because I was already racing there in Moriwaki Cup and also in Red Bull Rookies Cup so of course I want to show a really good performance there.”
LEGENDARY ASSEN AWAITS KIEFER RACING
Both Dominique Aegerter as well championship rookie Tarran Mackenzie are particularly looking forward to this weekend’s most traditional event of the calendar.
Since the introduction of the FIM World Championship back in 1949, Assen’s TT Circuit was the venue for a Grand Prix every year. For Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter, the fast and flowing track in the Netherlands is even a good ground as he started from third spot on the grid last year and in 2013, Aegerter celebrated a podium in third position.
After three races at unknown circuits for him, 21-year-old Tarran Mackenzie is glad that he hits an old acquaintance this weekend in Assen.
Time schedule for race day sees a slightly change to the usual one as the race is set to get started at 2:30 pm this Sunday.
#62 Tarran MACKENZIE (Kiefer Racing, Suter MMX2):
"Finally, we come to a track where I already raced. Last year, I was here with British Championship riding the Supersport machine. So, I know where to go when I get out of the garage and do not have to study the layout first. The Barcelona race two weeks ago was less successful. Nevertheless, my feeling with the bike is a lot better now. I’m very excited about this weekend because as said, I know the circuit as well as I’m getting more comfortable with the bike each time."
#77 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing, Suter MMX2), Championship position 8 (46 points):
"Assen, of course, is because of the probably most unique layout a great track as well as Assen myth is omnipresent. In addition, it is the race with the longest history in two wheels racing and the fans always ensure a great atmosphere here. But for myself, there are also nice memories with a podium in 2013. The weather, for sure, is not going to be as hot as it was in Barcelona two weeks ago. From this point of view, it should be a better weekend for us. Therefore, our goals are very clear: top five on Sunday as well as to race constantly within the top ten during all practice sessions. I want to do well at any time and I will definitely enjoy riding out there."
Dutch Grand Prix: Preview
After the good race in Barcelona, where Romano Fenati got the second position (by regaining also the second place in the Championship classification), the Marinelli Rivacold Snipers team is preparing the eighth round at Assen track. We are not yet half of the season but the fight for the Championship is still open. Both riders like the spectacular Dutch track. Last year Romano was grazed the podium by closing fourth. Here Jules Danilo got his best result in the World Championship and crossed the finishing line sixth.
Romano Fenati: "We come from a good podium in Barcelona and this is giving us the right energy to face the weekend. Assen is a track I really like and, as always, we must be concentrated from Friday, work already for the race and get a good position on the grid ".
Jules Danilo: "It is good to have some days off after the last race as I had the opportunity to train a lot, especially with my bike and now I am feeling good. In Barcelona the weekend was a little bit complicated, with some difficulties in the setting of the bike, but here we can do well".
Assen: McPhee heads for hallowed ground at the 'Cathedral'
British Talent Team head north to the TT Circuit Assen
After some good points bagged in Barcelona in the Catalan GP, now it’s time to go Dutch as the TT Circuit Assen welcomes the MotoGP™ paddock for round eight. The only venue to have been on the calendar since the Championship began in 1949, the historic circuit is something special.
Nowadays a 4.5km ribbon of tarmac showcasing the best of high speed and slower apexes, the track has 18 corners – six left and twelve right – and the layout has remained largely unchanged for just over a decade. The finish line put in place in 1955 remains, however - anchoring the venue to its incredible history.
John McPhee has some top ten results at the track in the past and the circuit is one the Scot likes. After some good points at the Catalan GP, the goal is to take even more at Assen and start closing the gap to the top as the summer break looms on the horizon.
The Moto3™ grid head out for FP1 at 9:00 (GMT +2) on Friday, with the race at 11:00 on Sunday despite the altered timetable for Moto2™ and MotoGP™ this weekend.
John McPhee: "The race in Catalunya was quite positive for us, and the step we made on Sunday is a great starting point as we get to Assen. I really like the track and I've had some good results here in the past so I'm optimistic for the weekend. The weather is always a question mark so that's something we need to be ready for. I'll be making the most of every session and then focus on qualifying higher up the grid again. As it comes closer to the midway point of the season I'll be giving it my all to close the points gap in the Championship."