MotoGP: Seven rounds down it’s Marquez ahead, but will the tide turn at the TT Circuit Assen

MotoGP: Seven rounds down it’s Marquez ahead, but will the tide turn at the TT Circuit Assen

Dutch GP in good weather shock? The pre-event Press Conference whets appetites ahead of track action

Ahead of the Motul TT Assen, reigning Champion and Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was joined in the pre-event Press Conference by closest challenger Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Independent Team riders Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Italian and Catalan GP winner Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa to talk abut the weekend ahead.

Before that though, there was some action in the centre of Assen as Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Moto2™ man of the moment Fabio Quartararo (Lightech-Speed Up Racing), local hero Bo Bendsneyder (Tech 3 Racing), Catalan GP winner Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) and Moto3™ Championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (Redox Prüstel GP) headed for the town square for a different kind of fight – taking part in a martial arts clinic run by Dutch Kickboxing ace Sarel de Jong and pro boxer Ben Tingen. Then it was back to the track and time to talk racing.

Marquez spoke first, from Barcelona to Assen…and that all-important weather. “Montmeló overall was a great weekend because increased our advantage in the Championship. On Monday in the test we made a few steps and we’ll work on them again here. Assen is a circuit I like, T4, the last part of the circuit is really nice. I enjoy it a lot and it’s not one of my best like Austin or Sachsenring but I’m consistent every year and I’m able to ride well and find a rhythm. I hope it continues this year and I hope I can be on the podium…but it looks sunny so that can change quite a lot!”

That it can, and as Marquez says, the weather forecast is uncharacteristic – something also touched on by nine-time World Champion Rossi. After he talked through his post-Catalan GP test, that was reason to be optimistic. “We didn’t have a lot to try at the test, some small details – so I was optimistic to improve a bit on Monday but we didn’t really. I wasn’t able to go faster. But this track is fantastic, I like it a lot and the M1 usually works well here. It looks like the weather is good, the forecast is optimistic which is great because it’s a track you enjoy a lot on a MotoGP bike. We’ll see, I arrive from some podiums so we’ll try and continue in the same way!” With ten wins across all classes at the track, and the rider from Tavullia taking victory in 2017, could the stage be set?

A man who’ll be looking for more of a turnaround, meanwhile, is Zarco. After a stunning start to the season the Frenchman has had a couple of more difficult races – so what’s the plan?

“I hope to find competitive Zarco again! The last two races have been complicated and I’m a bit depressed now, I didn’t even shave,” he jokes, before going back to serious. “But when it’s hard you learn things, and here last year was an interesting Grand Prix, it’s a shame I went into the pits after seeing some rain, I was scared and thought if it rained it would be good…but this time the weather looks much more stable.

“We need to stay cool and improve with the team, find things on the bike to prepare the race, because the factory guys are good from Friday to Sunday finding the small things that make the difference, so I hope I can find those things and feel comfortable on Sunday.”

One big rival for top Independent Team rider this weekend will likely be Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol). The Brit took his first MotoGP™ pole at the venue in 2013 – as did Zarco in 2017 – and is aiming high again.

“The aim is the podium this weekend. We have to be positive and positive with the team, they’ve been working really well, and Honda. We can see from Marc it’s possible to be on the podium week in week out, maybe you don’t have to win every week but if you’re there, racking up the points…we’ve been close and this weekend again we’ll try and be there! It’s a circuit I love and a circuit that’s been kind to me in the past. My one regret is that I never got to ride the old circuit!”

It has indeed been kind – not just in MotoGP™  – so is there anything that seems to make a positive difference  for British riders at the track? According to Crutchlow, yes.

“It’s normally raining, same as in England,” grins the number 35. “Or it’s half and half and you have no choice – slow down or go fast! It seems British riders always seem to go well here and from no extra advantage!”

The conditions for this weekend were the first thing on Jorge Lorenzo’s mind, too – and the man of the moment has also seen the good forecast. “I think we’ll be lucky and have four sunny days, it’s always nice to ride in good conditions. The last five or six years for some reason I haven’t had great results in Assen, when before it was one of my favourite tracks. In MotoGP, apart from 2010, I didn’t get good results but every year is another year. I have a lot of confidence after winning the last two races, I was watching the race from last year and seeing a lot of Ducatis working really well on Sunday so it means our bike can work here, especially now we have a good base. So let’s have an open mentality and see what happens.”

Finally, as the rumour mill continues about Pedrosa’s future, the number 26 was the man answering questions. Saying he had hoped to have news on his future by now – as was the case at the Catalan GP – Pedrosa confirmed he doesn’t have an update yet. Then looking at the season so far, and his best result of 2018 last time out, talk turned back to the present.

“I didn’t really start the season well,” says the Repsol Honda rider. “So I think in the last Grand Prix we made a good improvement, compared to the previous race.” That was the top five, and it was useful: “In the race I saw a lot of details where I could improve, and on Monday in the test we worked a lot on that. We’ll have to see if that works as a base for the rest of the tracks.”

The rest of the tracks – all 12 of them, beginning with the legendary Assen this weekend – still lie ahead, with everything very much still in play. Seven rounds down it’s Marquez ahead, but will the tide turn at the TT Circuit Assen? And will the weather stay away?

Find out from FP1 on Friday from 9:00 (GMT +2), with the race on Sunday at 14:00.

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23 minutes ago


What a dramatic start we saw at Silverstone! 😱

Thankfully, Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso were able to walk away from this scary crash! 💥

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Dovi lost his memory after the crash.. 😢

Hope Dovi will be fine 🤕


I was right next to this incident, both Dovi and Fabio were limping as they walked away, hope both are ok, what a fantastic race, Rins and Marc in a dogfight to the end, top day !!

Athleticism of MotoGP riders are amazing.. be safe.

Now who can stop marc win the champion ship this year ? 😅

Get well soon.. A big thanks to Quart and Dovi, Rossi got the 4th or else he will be 6th 😂

Dovi was lucky to walk away from that .

I just hope that Dovi is okay that was a terrible thing to watch.

Such a bad luck for Dovi 🤷🏻‍♂️

Never nice to see anyone hit the tarmac that hard. I think it could’ve been a proper scrap at the front if they had both been in the mix

Kiattisak Prachumdang สุดปอดสุดโค้ง


Trop fougueux le rookie 😂😂

Rins had a moment of sliding..Fabio goes hard on the brake to avoid Rins and cause him to slide and crashed. Dovi just had nowhere to avoid that. Was unlucky.

Guillaume Le Fur ducati volante

Omg 😱

Dammmm! Hope they all ok

Get well soon Fabio and yellow fans hero in Austria (Andrea Dovizioso).

time for dovi to find another race number


What happen with Quartararo’s bike

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53 minutes ago


"I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today" - Alex Rins

Here his reaction after his impressive last corner win yesterday! 🏆

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Respect 🙌🏻🙌🏻🥰🥰🥰 reminds me of a young Marco simoncelli 😇😇

One fact he gracefully accepts there are only two legends on the current grid: "I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today"

Spectacular effort, congratulations on an awesome win.

A fantastic rider with an amazing machine!!! Congratulations Álex Rins!!!

A superb race Alex. Once more, Congratulations. You certainly deserve them. A remarkable finish and fight till the finish line. This is what Moto GP should be all about. Great job 😉

Congrats Alex!!

So, MM can be beaten at his own game. Every dog has its day.

Yamaha m1, factory team need to replace Rossi, to progress, That's from a top Rossi fan.

Credit where it's due, great ride. The Suzuki is where Yamaha should be.

Muy bueno #Rins42👍



Love this guy so honest not like MM93

And the coverage kept showing the yamaha pit why



During the race Rin's was definitely by far the better rider💪🏼+ the bike Suzuki performed well under pressure 🔥..

Il lui as mis sa dose au Marquez. 2 gp de suite qu'il se fait cramer 😂😂😂 #marqueznecongelepluslecarburant

What an honest guy. It must feel great to defeat two of the greatest legends the MotoGP has to offer

Masa I follow markes td,I rasa motor dia tak la laju mane pun..sebab lepas potong rossi terus I cucuk angin motor dia..hahaha


Epic in the last corner... Bravo Alex 🏆

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13 hrs ago


Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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If Bruce was still here he would be proud of his team. Mclaren improved the most.

I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

I’m super impressed with Toro Rosso, hard to believe this is the old Minardi team where both their drivers exceeded all expectations!!

Ferrari fan for life, but McLaren have done an incredible job so far, considering how far back they were

McLaren (and I'm faraway from being a fan! If there was a person I didn't like in Formula 1, that person was Ron Dennis). Anyway I'm glad to see them finally getting together again and mainly without supposed big shot drivers who can't do nothing but complain! Now they need to find a good engine because with Renault it will be near impossible to go any further...

None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

Mclaren, they have made a huge turn around this season. With andreas seidl at the helm, the only place they re going is up

Redbull and Honda engineering. The aerodynamic has been sorted and the engine now also reliable. Watch that space, they could challenge for the title next year!

And yet no Ferrari or anyone else 1st with the exception of RB. Hybrid era is killing with the beyond dominance of Merc being so far ahead of everyone else’s pace. Some competition would be nice! Don’t give me that bullshit of everyone should bring it to the table, there’s some crazy advantage behind the scene that you Merc fanboys don’t know about. Yawn.

the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

Hi F1 and fans .... with all the media attention to the envirement and green thinking etc etc etc. Is there a research or developement posted in any magizine about the developemt of how clean the F1 is today. We all know that all top research of F1 is implemented in the modern cars but i like to read how clean F1 is now in 2019 .. 👍

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Red Bull / HONDA‼️ Young Max may be awesome, but so is the way Red Bull has adapted to Honda’s engine. The last 2 years of griping about the Renault power plant is (almost) justified...

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

It would be nice to see Mclaren back up there permanently fighting for the title. Always was a fan

Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

Williams been sandbagging the first half of the season just to give the others a glimp of hope, beast mode on in second half of the season

I think the fact that Kimi drags that 8th place car into the points is the most impressive

My pick is Red Bull and Honda. They were a distant third, and they showed that careful hard work done with purpose makes progress. They’re certainly not outspending Ferrari, but managed to leapfrog them with smarter and more effective development

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18 hrs ago


The crash 💥 The surprise 😱 The battle ⚔️

Spa treated us to a scintillating race last season ⚡️
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I can't wait for next weekend. Spa always produces some awesome action

That Vettel move was such a good sign and made so much hope for the title in 2018, but then horror began and continued until today 😞 I hope that Vettel will win at least one of the next two races, maybe the last chances this year

The circuit spa is amazing..

Leclerc was lucky with the halo there. Things could have ended very badly.. Also, the 4 car moment at the end of the first sector was amazing👌

I was there with my sons. Last years

Counting the days and hours for the arrival of the weekend. It is impressive, the spectacles provided in this SPA GP!

I remember this race.The best thing was Ocon almost overtook Vettal overtaking Hamilton. Ocon has to sit in the Mercedes at some point in the future.

What a race! Hoping for the same again next week 👍

Was that the very last time Vettel won a race? Wow an entire year has gone by.

Going to be interesting this year, couple nice long almost straights that Ferrari can hopefully lay down the power, those midrange corners that Red Bull look so comfortable going through at high speed, than the tighter sections that Mercedes just seems to find seconds on other cars, needless to say either Ferrari or Red Bull let the Mercedes go and that’s race over, but Charles or Max get in front of Lewis it’s going to be a great race

I have a feeling that the Ferraris will do it again. We will not hear the name verstappen so much this weekend.

Lets see next week if merc and redbull will match the straigth line speed of ferrari. Cant wait the qualifying and race on sunday.

Was a good race, hoping this yr will be just as good

I wanna know what LeClerc's thoughts process was as a McLaren flies over the top of him 😂

Clamoroso come Charlie Whiting aspettò che Vettel superasse Hamilton per dare il via alla Safety Car

Beyoncé would be proud of the Halo!

So the halo works。。👍🏼👍🏼

People cry about the halo but Charles had luck to have it.

What an overtake from Ferrari that was ...I missed the 2018's Ferrari ....not this SP90

This Race showed why the Halo Makes completly sense. Leclercs carrer could have Ended Right there

That's also why "even" Perez is a better racer than Ocon. My opinion. Look at the drag race after Eau Rouge coming up to Le Combes

Waited until Seb past Hamilton to safety car the race...who remembers this🤦🏾‍♂️🤔

Was there watching sat in the stadium right on that corner, exciting stuff!

Only one week to go, before lights out!

According to the Finnish media, Mercedes is gonna announce Bottas staying for 1 more year.

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