The Dutch Grand Prix is the oldest race on the calendar, with the first edition being held way back in 1949. While the track has undergone a series of interventions over the decades, what has remained unchanged is the impressive number of spectators who pack into the grassy embankments and grandstands of the circuit year after year.
Jorge Lorenzo has scored one win at Assen in 2010, as well as one second place in 2009 and a third place in 2015. Last year the Spanish rider finished the GP in fifteenth place after a difficult race.
Andrea Dovizioso has stepped onto the MotoGP podium three times in the Netherlands, scoring two thirds in 2011 and 2012 and a second place in the 2014 race. Twelve months ago, the Italian rider began an exciting recovery through the field to reach second place, but had to settle for fifth after rain showers made the track conditions very tricky.
After the Catalan GP, the two Ducati Team riders now lie seventh and eighth overall in the standings but level on points, with a further twelve rounds remaining.
The Assen TT programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 9.55am, while the 26-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 14.00 CET.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 7th (66 points)
“The two wins in a row at Mugello and Montmeló were something really great and important, but the championship never stops and now we must show we can be quick on all types of tracks including Assen. Maybe it’s not the best circuit for us, but I’m sure we can be competitive. We must approach everything race by race, aware that every Grand Prix is important. For the moment it’s not a question of thinking about the championship title: what is important is to work the way we’ve been doing so far and always keep our confidence high. Assen is a historic track and it’s always special to race here: we will obviously have to take account of the weather conditions because they can play an important role, as happens almost every year.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 8th (66 points)
“I usually need a couple of days to metabolize a bad DNF like the one at Barcelona, and that was also the case this time. Now that we’ve had a chance to carefully analyse the last race and try and understand what happened, I’m focussed on the next GPs. There are always positive aspects to every situation, and with a competitive team-mate like Jorge, it’s even more important to work well and arrive at the next race with clear ideas. In the last few races we have always been fast and competitive, and so at Assen we will have to stay calm and focus on getting back to being stronger than before.”
The TT Assen Circuit
Assen has held a Grand Prix race every year since it was inaugurated in 1949, first on closed roads and then from 1954 onwards on the track known as the Dutch TT circuit. The track carves its way between grassy embankments that house numerous viewing areas and in 2002 the circuit was brought up-to-date with some major restructuring work. It was then modified again at the end of 2005, but this time the track length of one of the calendar’s longest circuits was reduced from almost 6 km to 4.5.