Tradition or modernisation? Uniqueness or uniformity? The MotoGP World Championship moves at dizzying speeds and finally this weekend, after years of racing on the final Saturday in June, the Dutch TT will ditch the former for the latter and embrace Sunday service at the ‘Cathedral of Speed.’ However, history still seeps through every pore of the Assen TT Circuit, which welcomes the world’s premier motorcycle racing series with Marc Márquez on top of the championship after seven rounds of the season so far. Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are the only active riders in the series to have won here before – Rossi with seven, his latest coming last season, whilst Márquez and Lorenzo have one apiece. The trio lead this year’s standings but are currently covered by less points than those on offer for a repeat win this Sunday.
The Aspar Team head into the eighth round of the championship in a positive frame of mind and confident of their chances. Eugene Laverty arrives at Assen feeling determined to recover his top ten position in the championship, which he had held from the Argentina round until Barcelona, and extend his run of points-scoring finishes for another race. Laverty knows exactly what it takes to win at Assen, having done so in Supersport and Superbikes, although those good memories are counterbalanced by his crash last season in MotoGP. Yonny Hernández recognises that Assen is not an ideal circuit for his riding style and after six seasons racing there he has a best finish of thirteenth in Moto2. Hernández is hoping for a repeat of the strong starts he made to the weekends in Italy and Barcelona but with a more favourable result on Sunday.
Eugene Laverty: “My objective this weekend is another top ten finish. After the result in Barcelona I have dropped out of the top ten in the championship so we have to keep pushing to get back amongst the best. I like the Assen circuit but it will be important to control the power of the Ducati to make it manageable. I am very focused on this next race and on getting my place back in the top ten.”
Yonny Hernández: “Assen is a circuit where I have struggled in the past to achieve a good result. It is not one of my favourites but we will work with the same attitude as every other round to prepare for the race in the best possible way. I am full of positive energy ready for another race in this World Championship. We are keeping our heads up despite the last few results, which do not reflect our true level, and preparing with the same intensity. It is always important to keep a cool head during the toughest moments and to never lose hope.”