2012 Assen MotoGP Press Release Previews
Press releases from the MotoGP teams ahead of the Dutch TT at Assen on Saturday:
Repsol Honda Team positive as trio of races commence
The Repsol Honda Team travel to the north of Europe this week in preparation for the seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship.
The Netherlands is the destination for the legendary Dutch TT in Assen, where both Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa will be challenging for victory as the Championship enters a very busy period with three races in a row.
As in the UK, the weather can be very changeable in Assen, but both Honda factory riders will be determined and confident following the double podium they shared at Silverstone on their first race with the new Bridgestone front tyre.
With modifications made in 2006, the Assen circuit has been shortened slightly but it maintains fast changes in direction over the old part of the track where an agile bike is needed and the banked turns make it a spectacle for the fans.
Casey Stoner, who won the Dutch TT in 2008, has celebrated six podiums in Assen and since 2007 has not failed to reach it. Dani Pedrosa, injured last year, also has six podium finishes, with three in the premier class.
CASEY STONER World Championship Position: 2nd with 115 points
"We've had some great results in Assen, but also some pretty bad ones, so hopefully we can go there this weekend, be competitive and avoid any injury like last year when I hurt my neck, which followed us for the season and still causes me problems now. You spend a lot of the time on the edge of the tyre in Assen and unfortunately on our bike at the moment this is a weak point, so we will need to work on Thursday and Friday to improve before we can consider ourselves competitive there. I really hope the weather is good for us, as we need as much track time as possible to work on various issues on the bike. With three races back to back, it's important to get some good results at Assen, Sachsenring and Mugello, so we need to remain focused".
DANI PEDROSA World Championship Position: 3rd with 101 points
"I wasn't there last year due to the injury, but it's a circuit we know well. Assen has changeable weather so I hope we can have some dry sessions to continue setting up the bike and making it more rideable. We need some more experience with the new front tyre and hopefully we can make another step forward this week. In Assen is important to have a good feeling with the tyres because there are several fast corners. I am really looking forward to this race and aiming to ride at my best".
Yamaha Factory Racing Prepare for the Historic Assen TT
The MotoGP paddock arrives in The Netherlands this week for the only Saturday race of the year, The Assen TT on the 30th June. Yamaha Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo arrives at the Assen circuit having won the last three consecutive races and leading the Championship by 25 points. The Dutch circuit is a favourite of his, having won there in all three Grand Prix classes.
Ben Spies arrives at the Assen circuit looking to repeat his performance of last year. The Dutch TT was the scene of his first Grand Prix race victory, taken in the special red and white Yamaha 50th Anniversary racing livery. Spies has also taken a pole and a race win in the World Superbike class at Assen and counts it as one of his favourite tracks.
The Assen circuit has huge historical significance as the only track to have been part of the Grand Prix World Championship calendar since it’s inception. This year will mark the 82nd anniversary of TT racing. Sometimes referred to as the ‘cathedral’ by fans for it’s historical significance, the race was originally run on public roads. It has now evolved into a fast and physically demanding circuit featuring high speed chicanes and varied camber changes.
“Assen and Brno are the tracks I think I have won at the most. I feel very strong there and we are very focused this season so I’m confident. We haven’t made so many mistakes and are working well towards the Championship title. Our target remains to be on the podium each race and if possible take a win. Assen is good for our bike and it suits my riding style so let’s see what happens.”
“I’m really looking forward to this race. I love riding the Assen track and have always had great results here, especially last year! The place of your first Grand Prix win will always be unique. We’ve had a tough start to the year but have made good steps forward so I’m confident that we can step up and be fighting for the podium this weekend.”
“I’m really looking forward to the Dutch GP. I know from my years as a rider that it’s a very hectic week but one of the most exciting. There are lots of people there from my years of racing and it’s good to see them again in the paddock, a lot of memories! For the team it’s also a good moment to recover our performance from last year where we had a difficult race. Jorge loves the track so we hope the weather is consistent and I’m sure we’ll be there fighting with the top boys.”
“We’re heading to Assen this week full of confidence. Ben had a fantastic race last year there, his first Grand Prix win. The Assen track really suits his style of riding so we expect him to be up there. Jorge has a great record on the track so we also expect him to be fighting at the front as usual. We hope to have some consistent weather across the race weekend so we can get the most out of the YZR-M1.”
Alvaro Bautista's first ever MotoGP pole position at Silverstone came as no coincidence but as the result of many weeks of hard work. The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider was able to take the definitive step forward in a post-race test at Barcelona followed by another session at Aragon and now he is ready to play a lead role in the MotoGP World Championship as the series enters its second third at Assen. Teamwork is proving crucial to the Spaniard's progress as well as that of the CRT project, with Michele Pirro also closing the gap to the leaders and looking ready to fight for the top CRT spot. As usual the legendary Assen circuit promises to be a fascinating event.
Alvaro Bautista “Silverstone was definitely a very positive weekend for us. After the changes we made in Barcelona my feeling with the bike improved a lot and at Silverstone we were able to confirm it. I felt comfortable and safe on the bike from the start and I was able to have fun, which showed through with the pole position on Saturday, my first in MotoGP, and in the fact I ran with the front group throughout the race on Sunday. It was an important race for me and I was able to learn a lot from running with them. It was a very significant fourth place because it is my best result in MotoGP and it was a nice reward for the team. I was able to celebrate a little after Silverstone with my friends but I have been training hard because we have three back-to-back races coming up and fitness will be crucial. At Assen I will try to confirm my good form from Silverstone, run with the front pack again and continue making progress. The next objective is obviously the podium but we can't become obsessed with chasing it because I am sure that if we continue working as we are then sooner or later it will come. Assen is a legendary track with a mixture of fast and slow corners and a lot of fast direction changes. Obviously the weather always plays an important role with the cold temperatures and constant threat of rain. The old circuit was definitely more interesting and I really liked it but the new layout has some nice corners too. The atmosphere is always incredible at Assen and it's just a big motorcycling festival.”
Michele Pirro “At Silverstone we were able to confirm that we are on the right path. We made significant progress at the tests in Barcelona and Aragon and in England we were able to have a good race and run with the best of the CRTs. The work that the guys in the team are doing is so important and I think that if we can take another step than we can make a strong challenge to be the top CRT. We have some updates on the way that I think will help us move forward and I am very optimistic about the future. Over the week off I made a quick trip home to Puglia to catch up with friends and family and now I am ready for Assen. The circuit is one of my favourites and I am sure we can have another strong race. Obviously the question mark will be over the weather because you never know what you will get in Holland and it can change very quickly.”
Fausto Gresini “I was very satisfied with the results at Silverstone, in practice and in the race. After his splendid pole position on Saturday Alvaro was able to run with the front group throughout the race so the goal for Assen is to prove that was no fluke. We know anything is possible because Honda have provided us with a great motorcycle and the work being done by Showa is allowing Alvaro great confidence with the RC213V in wet or dry conditions. After Barcelona and Aragon we have made significant progress and there will be no shortage of determination to continue working in this way. We are also taking significant steps with the CRT project. At Silverstone Michele was again fighting with the best CRTs out there and I think he is very close to achieving a top result in what is a very hard-fought category. Michele and his team are doing a great job and in limited time they are turning our project into a competitive package. Development continues at Assen and with some updates on the way we should be ready to take another step forward.”
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Race Preview - Round 7: Assen, Netherlands
25 June 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium-Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Round seven of the 2012 MotoGP™ World Championship, the Dutch TT takes place at the historic Assen circuit which despite having one of the shortest straights of any circuit in the series, has the second fastest average speed.
Assen is not particularly demanding for front tyres even though grip levels on the circuit are quite variable following a partial resurfacing in 2006, so the soft and medium compounds are offered to provide better grip and warm-up performance. The rear tyres are put under comparatively more stress and in particular, the sequence of right-handers from Mandeveen to Hoge Heide generates significant load on the right shoulder of the rear tyre.
Although cool track conditions are common at Assen, warmer temperatures are not unheard of. For example in 2010, the track temperature during the race reached 47°C compared to a peak of just 18°C in 2011 and this potential for large variations in track temperature makes developing tyres for Assen a challenge and emphasises the importance of the wider operating temperature range engineered into the 2012 specification MotoGP™ tyres.
To meet this challenge, Bridgestone has revised the compounds in its asymmetric rear slicks for Assen with last year’s medium and hard options being replaced with the medium-soft and medium options. These new rear slicks feature either the extra-soft or soft rubber on the left shoulder combined with the medium compound rubber on the right shoulder to keep the tyre in its optimal temperature range and to provide greater edge grip from the first lap.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Dutch TT is one of the highlights of the MotoGP season and the fast layout of the Assen circuit requires maximum commitment from racers. This weekend marks the start of a very busy time for the paddock and over the next few weeks fans will be treated to back-to-back races at three amazing venues. It is always hard to predict what the weather will do at Assen, but I am confident that our revised tyre selection for this race weekend is well matched to the demands of this technical circuit.
“Jorge is looking strong at the moment after his three successive wins, but Casey, Dani and Ben, who had a fantastic victory here last year, will be very motivated to end his winning streak and so I believe another intense contest will take place on Saturday. I hope that both Cal and Karel are making progress in recovering from their injuries and I look forward to seeing them back in action soon.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Assen is one of the faster circuits on the calendar and requires asymmetric rear tyres because of the high loads placed on the right shoulder of the rear tyre in the fast right-hand corners. Following some alterations made to the circuit in 2006 there are two distinct types of tarmac: the new part is slippery whilst the old is abrasive, which creates variable grip levels and makes it particularly tricky for riders in the wet.
“In a similar development to Silverstone, to address the generally cool temperatures encountered at Assen we have changed the selection of asymmetric rear tyres for this weekend to the medium-soft and medium compounds. As the tyres at this circuit have to cope with a wide range of corners from very slow to high speed, shoulder grip is crucial hence us selecting rubber compounds that are relatively softer than at other circuits.”
Assen to kick off three races in three weeks for Ducati Team
From the giant party that is World Ducati Week at Misano, to the Temple of Speed: Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and the Ducati Team are preparing for a three-week, three-race tour de force, beginning on Saturday at Northern Holland’s TT Circuit Assen.
The historic track that is home for the famous Dutch TT has been modified in recent years, though it’s still a fascinating circuit, and the event is capable of attracting huge numbers of motorcyclists and passionate fans of two-wheeled racing.
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden count the track amongst their favourites, and it has played host to wins for both riders: one for the American and seven for the Italian.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“Assen is a great track. I like it a lot, and it brings to mind a bunch of nice memories. We’ll try to start off with a good feeling with the track in order to improve our results a bit. For the moment, we can only work on the setup to prepare the bike as we try to return to the level that we had attained prior to Silverstone, which was a very difficult race. We were a bit better at Barcelona and during the dry sessions at Le Mans, so we must at least regain that pace. If it should also happen to rain, we know that we can be more competitive.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“Assen has changed a bit over the years, but it’s a track that I like. There are some nice, fast sections, like the last bit, coming back to the stadium. A couple of those corners with the banking are pretty fun. Assen is one of those places where you never know what the weather’s going to be like, so you just have to be prepared for anything on Saturday. If you look at the result of my last race, I can’t say that it was really positive, but we learned a couple of things. One of those is that we need to try to come up with something to be easier on the tyre, so we don’t destroy it as quickly. We’ll work on that in the Netherlands and try to get a good result.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“The Dutch TT kicks off a very intense period for the team and the riders, because three races in three weeks, the final of which is at Mugello, means we’ll be very busy. Assen is a track that both Valentino and Nicky like, and where both have won and ride well. We must stay focused and work well in order to find a setup that enables them to have a good performance over race distance. We have gotten nearer to that goal at some tracks, whereas others have proven to be more challenging for us, so we have to be more consistent with our efforts, while working on the other aspects of the development.”
THE CATHEDRAL' READY TO PLAY HOST TO ROUND SEVEN
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Espargaró and De Puniet aim to continue form at Assen
Built in 1955 and originally measuring over ten kilometres, the historic Assen circuit has undergone a series of facelifts and alterations throughout its almost sixty years of history but the legend remains intact. The Dutch racetrack remains the most revered venue on the MotoGP calendar and it retains its traditional date on the final Saturday in June. This year it marks the start of the second third of the championship as the teams and riders tackle round seven with Jorge Lorenzo in the process of opening out a significant points cushion over the chasing Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa at the top of the standings.
The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team head for Holland looking to continue their dominance of the new CRT machines, with Aleix Espargaró having finished as the fastest of the new breed machines in four of the opening six rounds so far. With twenty points already to his name the Spaniard is increasing his feeling for the ART machine and looking forward to making further progress over the summer. Just nine points behind him lies his team-mate Randy De Puniet, who has found his best form in recent weeks after a luckless start to the campaign.
Aleix Espargaró: "I am really looking forward to going to Assen, one of my favourite circuits after Catalunya. I can't wait to get there and start having fun because last year we missed out a lot because of the rain. Hopefully we get good weather this time and are able to enjoy a positive weekend. Our objective is the same as every other Grand Prix, which is to work hard to improve the performance of the ART bike and be the fastest CRT rider again. Assen is a pretty long track with a slow section and a very fast section, with flowing corners, and I always enjoy riding there. I preferred the old circuit but the new one is a lot of fun too."
Randy De Puniet: "I love Assen, which is a pretty technical circuit. Even though it has undergone a lot of modifications over the years and is much shorter than it used to be it is still very interesting. There are no long straights so that should benefit us because we will be closer to the factory prototypes than at other circuits. At Silverstone we found a few things that should help us improve the bike and I am looking forward to trying them out here. I hope the weekend goes well and the weather is kind to us so that we can continue our recent run of good results."
Karel Abraham back on track at Assen after injury
After two weeks of therapy the Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham is ready for the next MotoGP race at dutch Assen. Double fingertip fracture should not limit him, but Karel is still limited with the left index finger movements due to the healing wounds.
“I can´t still move my index finger completely. Partly because of the healing wound on the finger and partly because of the pain in the first finger joint. It´s getting better really fast, so I´m pretty sure that I´ll be able to be back on track on Thursday. I do like TT Assen Circuit and I´ve been successful on it in the past. Last year I made seventh time in qualifying practice but unfortunately didn´t finish the race after being pushed off the track by Aoyama. I must forget it now as same as the beginning of this unlucky season. We still have two thirds of this season ahead to make some good results. Although I can´t catch up the riders in championship standing, this season isn´t lost and we have twelve more opportunities to ride perfect race.”
Yamaha MotoGP Stars Visit Yamaha Motor Europe
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies and Yamaha Tech3 rider Andrea Dovizioso made a pit stop to visit some of Yamaha’s extended family today. The riders arrived a day early for the upcoming Assen TT to spend a morning hanging out with over 100 employees at Yamaha Motor Europe’s headquarters near Amsterdam.
The riders were introduced on stage to the gathered employees by Andrew Smith, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Yamaha Motor Europe. After a short Q&A session the riders and employees joined together to play games in replica set ups of both teams pit boxes. The employees were able to win special prizes including signed replica helmets of Lorenzo and Spies.
Dovizioso’s team mate Cal Crutchlow was unable to attend as he concentrates on recovery from his Silverstone ankle injury. The riders now move to Assen to prepare for the historic TT race this Saturday.
“It was great fun today, I think it’s the third or fourth time I’ve visited and it’s always good. This is the biggest and most important centre for Yamaha in Europe. It’s especially nice to see all the faces again; they are really enthusiastic and motivated!”
“It was good to be here at YME again for the second time. I always have good thoughts coming from back in 2009 when we won the World Superbike title. It’s great to see all the staff and I hope it gives us extra luck for this race weekend!”
SEVENTH ROUND OF THE 2012 SEASON : TT ASSEN GRAND PRIX
Just days after the difficult race in the United Kingdom, the Pramac Ducati Team continues its adventure this week with a trip across the North Sea to Holland, in preparation for the seventh round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.
The White and Green Team arrived at Assen to setup for the TT Assen Grand Prix, which, as tradition dictates, is always held on the last Saturday in June and it is the first GP in a row of three races.
Héctor Barberá heads to Holland in high spirits. The Pramac Team’s sole rider has fond memories of the circuit, having scored the first podium of his career there and, after a disappointing race at Silverstone, he is ready to kick off his new challenge.
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 has undergone many changes over that time. Initially runs 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.
Hèctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider –
“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 make things right. That is the case for us because Sunday at Silverstone was a bit of a disaster. Now we can keep working hard and I am sure that at Assen, one of my favourite circuits, I can be fast with my Ducati. I had my first podium here and I always like it. Assen has some fast corners like Silverstone and I can adapt well. We had a good feeling at Silverstone during the practices, so hopefully we can recreate that this weekend.”
Francesco Guidotti – Pramac Racing Team Manager -
“The TT Assen Grand Prix will be a difficult campaign, a treacherous track due to the tricky and unpredictable weather conditions.
We are indeed ready to fight head-strongly with the other riders in order to achieve a brilliant result.”
Ellison Seeks Assen Success
Round seven of the MotoGP World Championship takes place at the historic Assen circuit this weekend where PBM UK rider James Ellison is hoping to continue his recent good form.
Last time out at his home British Grand Prix, the 31-year-old from Kendal in Cumbria had to overcome some minor problems aboard the Claiming Rules Team (CRT) specification Aprilia ART but still managed to claim fourth place in the class as well as scoring his second World Championship points of the season at Silverstone.
The Dutch circuit has the distinction of being the only GP to race on a Saturday so Ellison and the Penrith-based team will be hoping to have something to celebrate that evening, like they did when former World and double European Champion Ellison took top CRT honours at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans last month.
With recent improvements to the electronics, Ellison is much more confident on the bike but still knows there is a long way to go with regards to development of the planned all-British project.
James Ellison: "We are hoping the improvements in mapping and traction control we made for the Silverstone race will carry on to Assen. We have had a run of really solid results but I know there is a lot more to come from both the settings and from myself. I need to get more out of the tyres when they are new to improve our grid position and also our position on the first couple of laps which are so critical. That's what I will be focusing on this weekend as our race pace is strong after lap three. Assen was my first international win back in 2000 so I have fond memories and I can't wait to get out on track!"
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "James rode really well at Silverstone and I was delighted for him and the team but we all know we still have an awful lot of work to do. We are now making steady progress and with the help of Aprilia, I'm confident we can start regularly challenging the top riders in CRT. Another strong result is what we are looking for this weekend and if James can get away with them from the start, then there's no reason why we can't be up there again."