MotoGP 2014 – Round Eight – Assen – Team Previews
Historic TT Assen welcomes MotoGP™ riders for Saturday racing
The traditional preliminary press conference at the historic Dutch track saw MotoGP World Champion Marquez preview the round eight action by stating, “Yamaha are really strong here, but Valentino and Jorge (Lorenzo) are individually very fast here with their riding styles. Anyway, we will try to do our best to be ready.”
The Repsol Honda man continued, “The weather is a factor and can be unstable, but everybody will have the same problems, so we just concentrate on doing our job. I feel less pressure now than at the start of the championship because of the advantage I have at the top.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Rossi won at Assen last year and has six premier class victories to his name in total at the TT venue, in addition to two from the smaller categories. “This is a good track for the M1,” he commented, “But this year is different overall because I feel good and feel strong everywhere. Marc is stronger this season with one more year of experience, and Jorge was looking fast here last year at the beginning before his injury. Last year was also my best qualifying and starting on the front row would help here, but top five is the target for qualifying.”
Having returned to the podium and having been in the hunt for victory again last time out at the Barcelona-Catalunya round, bouncing back from a difficult patch due to arm pump symptoms and surgery, Pedrosa added, “Overall we are looking better than before. Barcelona was a big boost. My fitness is better, I was a little worried before the race in Barcelona but I was able to race well and felt good. We’ve had an extra ten days now so it should be okay.”
Ducati Team’s Dovizioso gave an overall assessment of his season so far, saying, “We made a step forward during last winter and we have some small updates during the season, but I think the next big step for Ducati will be for next year. I’m fifth in the championship though so it is not too bad.”
Asked about his future and whether he will renew with the Italian factory for 2015, Dovizioso replied, “It is still a bit too early, we started to talk in Barcelona and soon we will see if we can make a decision.”
For NGM Forward Racing’s Espargaro one of his current targets is to outperform his brother Pol who is having a good first season at the top level in MotoGP. The Spaniard commented, “In a couple of races we have been able to finish not too far from the winner so I am happier than last year. I like Assen and everyone says the Yamaha is strong here so I’m really looking forward to riding here. Pol is four points ahead of me so he is my biggest rival at the moment, so of course I will try to beat him this weekend.”
LCR Honda man Bradl is eighth in the general standings at present, so he wants to build on his good fifth place at the last race at Barcelona-Catalunya and a constructive post-GP test there – following his heavy falls and DNF in the previous round in Italy.
Bradl explained, “Coming back from Mugello to Barcelona was not an easy week after the big crashes. But I was feeling good from the first lap in Catalunya and we managed to do a good race weekend. We are not far from Germany here at Assen and it is always good to have support from the German fans here. I am optimistic, because we found some more rear grip and a constant lap time in the post race test in Catalunya.”
Earlier in the afternoon Bradl was joined by premier class colleagues Scott Redding and Cal Crutchlow, Dutch Moto3™ regulars Scott Deroue and Bryan Schouten, and one Dutch wildcard rider for this round -Thomas Van Leeuwen – for a meet and greet with schoolchildren and fans in the centre of Assen.
Celebrating the visit to one of the most historic venues in MotoGP™ the riders dressed in some antique racing gear and rode VéloSolex bicycles around the town.
The TT Assen is unique on the MotoGP™ calendar in that it is the only Grand Prix at which races take place on a Saturday, as opposed to the usual Sunday – and the reason for this stems back to midway through the first half of the 20th century.
Also, Assen is the only venue on the calendar to have hosted a Grand Prix every single season since the World Championship was inaugurated in 1949. Furthermore, the Dutch Grand Prix event itself was first hosted on a Saturday, in 1925.
“In 1925 was the first Dutch TT, but not at Assen,” explains Egbert Braakman, who was the Race Secretary at Assen between 1970 and 2006. “It was in a village called Rolde, seven kilometres east of Assen.”
“The reason why it was on the Saturday is that the church was near to the start-finish area. The town council didn’t want to have a situation in which people who wanted to go to church on a Sunday could not, as all of the roads were closed for the race. That is the reason the race was staged on the Saturday. That proved a success, so we continued to do it on the Saturday. It is now a real tradition to have the Grand Prix on the Saturday, but all other races at the circuit on a Sunday.”
After their seventh win in-a-row, the Repsol Honda Team are en route to Assen, Netherlands in peak form.
The longest-running event on the MotoGP calendar, the Dutch TT in Assen is always held on the last Saturday in June in a carnival atmosphere that attracts raceday crowds of more than 100,000. Assen’s foundations in motorsport were laid back in 1925 during the first Dutch TT. The modern circuit was first constructed in 1955 on the site of those brick-paved public roads and it underwent a major modification in 2005, which reduced its length from just under 6km to 4.555km. It has also seen small modifications in the past two years with work done to make the Ruskenhoek chicane less angular and thus a few metres shorter. The final result is a faster circuit, in keeping with Assen’s generally flowing nature.
Known as ‘The Cathedral’, its main straight is a mere 560m long, yet Assen still boasts one of the fastest average speed laps on the calendar and its flowing turns – eleven right and six lefts – mean it remains a favourite for riders and spectators alike.
Both Repsol Honda riders have enjoyed good results in Assen with Dani taking seven podium finishes there including his first victory in WGP (2002 – 125cc). Marc has a fantastic history at the circuit with second place in 2013 (maiden MotoGP year) and celebrating victories in 2012 (Moto2), 2011 (Moto2) and also in 2010 (125cc).
The race weekend in Assen begins on Thursday with Qualifying on Friday and the race on Saturday, as it was originally frowned upon for the race to be hosted on Sunday for religious reasons.
Marc Marquez – Championship Standing: 1st – 175 points – “We are still in enjoying a really good momentum but we know it can’t go on forever! I really like Assen and have had some good results in the lower categories, and last year we took second in my first visit there on the MotoGP machine. The weather is always unpredictable there so we will, as always, work hard from the first session to find a good setup”
Dani Pedrosa – 3rd – Championship Standing: 3rd – 112 points – “It was good to be back at the front and fighting in Catalunya! I’m looking forward to going to Assen and hope I’m one step fitter again as last year I didn’t really have a good race, so I hope to improve. The weather is usually tricky so you must make the most of any dry track time. I like the track but it’s important to find a good setting and feeling with the tyres as there are a few very fast corners”
After yet another thrilling race in Catalunya a fortnight ago the team Movistar Yamaha MotoGP arrive in Assen. The last round saw Valentino Rossi fight a hard battle for a well-deserved second place and Jorge Lorenzo displayed his trademark ‘Por Fuera’ pass for the delighted Spanish crowd. Both riders are keen on another chance to show their fighting spirit at the TT Assen this Saturday.
Rossi looks forward to continuing his battles during the eighth round of the championship staged at one of his most successful circuits. The Italian, who currently holds second place in the championship standings, has won at the TT Circuit Assen a total of eight times, six of these victories being in the MotoGP class.
Teammate Lorenzo also has a good track record at the TT circuit, which is considered to be “the cathedral” of motorcycling. The Spaniard has won at this circuit four times in total across all MotoGP Championship classes (125cc, 250cc and MotoGP). Lorenzo will try to push this total up to five with some help of the small set up changes made during the post-Catalunya IRTA Test and subsequent private Aragon test to improve the acceleration and the stability of his bike.
The TT-Assen is a special event as it is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949. The original circuit was over 6km and a favourite among riders, but track modifications over the winter of 2005/6 caused the length of the track to be cut down. The current Assen track is 4,542 meters long, but the circuit managed to keep its character thanks to its narrow tarmac, rapid change in directions, and its mixture of high-speed and low-speed corners. The TT-circuit is surrounded by grass banks and grandstands filled with thousands of supporters who are drawn to this prestigious event.
Valentino Rossi – “Assen is a great track and a good track for Yamaha. The weather will be very important here. You never know if it will be hot or cold or dry or wet. Last year’s race was unforgettable but honestly this year I feel I am strong almost everywhere so we have to try hard to beat the competition.”
Jorge Lorenzo – “After a bit of a disappointing weekend in Barcelona where I gave my best even when some circumstances didn’t help us, we travel to Holland with plenty of optimism. In Barcelona we struggled a bit with the acceleration, especially in the last part of the track where we used to be so strong in the past. This year that issue didn’t allow me to fight in front for the victory. Afterwards during two test days we found some solutions to solve that problem and we tested new things to try to cut off the distance with our main rivals. I look forward to racing in Assen, it’s maybe my favorite circuit. It’s a nice layout defined by some quick corners and a short straight that looks good for us, and especially for the Yamaha. In recent years I couldn’t got so many good results but instead I always could find a good set up and ride in my best way. Last season I finished fifth after a surgery on my collarbone and I suffered a lot but finally I could conclude a very special race. Anyway, looking into the future it is the best opportunity to do my best and try to get my first win. We will see!”
Massimo Meregalli – “As always it is a real pleasure for the team to come to such an iconic circuit and race as the Assen TT. We’ve had two very promising rounds at both Mugello and Catalunya where we’ve really started to show what we can do. The IRTA and Aragon tests went well so we are keen to put what we have learnt into practice this weekend. Both Vale and Jorge are capable of being very fast here at Assen so we’re looking forward to Thursday morning where we plan to start our weekend in the best way possible.”
Pol Espargaro – “I am looking forward to getting the racing underway at this special circuit in the Netherlands this week. We had a really positive test day after the Catalunya Grand Prix which has given me a further confidence boost ahead of this round and for sure I am very keen to see the results of our experiments at the test in action. Last year the Dutch TT was a really strong event for me where I won the Moto2 race from pole position and although it may be hard to emulate that this year, I still aim to get close to the leading riders. Realistically, I am targeting to be in the top 5 again as I know this is fully achievable and even though the weather can be a bit tricky, I am ready to race in Assen.”
Bradley Smith – “It’s safe to say that the past five rounds really haven’t been how I would have imagined them. My lack of luck in the past races has made things challenging but after the truely productive test, I am certain my fortunes will turn around this week in Assen. I‘ve ridden well here in the past having collected a podium in the 125cc class as well as in Moto2 during my first year aboard the Tech3 Racing Moto2 bike. Moreover the track certainly suits the style of the Yamaha, which I aim to utilise fully to ensure that we have a positive weekend especially in front of the Dutch and English fans who are brilliant and truly love our sport coming to their country.”
Aleix Espargaro – “I’m looking forward to going to Assen, it’s my favourite track after Barcelona. I love the circuit, quick and very flowing, but also I love the ambience. I am very motivated to go there and try to confirm another strong performance. In Barcelona we had a very good pace and I’m confident that we can do even better at Assen.”
Colin Edwards – “Assen is a great track, I love it and it brings to mind a lot of good memories both in World Superbike and in MotoGP. We had a good test at Barcelona, I was more comfortable on the bike and I look forward to confirm this feeling next Saturday.”
With the Barcelona race behind them, the Ducati Team are now heading north to the Netherlands for the eighth round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship at the Assen TT circuit. As well as being the oldest race on the calendar (the first edition was held in 1949), the Dutch GP is also the only race that is traditionally held on a Saturday. The circuit has undergone a number of modifications over the years, but what has never changed is the incredible number of fans that flock to the circuit every year,
Dovizioso, who does not rate Assen as one of his favourite circuits, has however stepped onto the podium twice recently in the MotoGP category, with a third place in both 2011 and 2012. His team-mate Crutchlow on the other hand does like the Dutch track, and in fact last year the British rider qualified on the front row for the first time ever in MotoGP, eventually finishing third.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – “Assen is a strange track because of the layout and also because of the weather conditions that we normally find during the race weekend. For us last year’s race was very difficult, but after the result we obtained in Barcelona, where we cut the gap to the leaders by half from 2013, we hope to continue this positive trend in the Netherlands.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – “Assen is definitely one of the tracks in the championship that I like the most. I had a great race there last year, taking the pole and sharing the podium with Rossi and Marquez. There’s no doubt my championship so far has been difficult, but I’m going to Assen with confidence, and we’ll all give 100%, you can be sure of that.”
With a remarkable run of 13 finishes out of the 14 races so far for the Penrith-based PBM MotoGP Team, consistency has been very much to the fore but sadly, the team has only one points scoring finish to show for their efforts courtesy of Parkes’ 15th place at the opening round in Qatar.
Both Ulsterman Laverty and Australian Parkes will be hoping to add to their tally this weekend aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM machines at the popular Dutch track.
Last time out in Spain, Laverty saw his run of five finishes in 16th place end, instead bringing the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM home in 17th place at round seven of the MotoGP World Championship, with Parkes on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM machine pipping him to claim 16th and in doing so recorded his best result since the opening round at Qatar where he scored the team’s one and only point to date.
There are high hopes for former British Supersport Champion Laverty and double World Supersport runner-up Parkes as both have good experience around the Assen track and with recent improvements to their respective machines, they are hoping for a successful weekend.
Parkes holds 22nd overall in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship table following his ride into the points in Qatar, tenth in the Open class standings and third in Rookie of the Year. With his string of non points finishes, Laverty has yet to register on the scoreboard but importantly for the PBM team, they occupy seventh place in the manufacturer’s table and 13th in the team’s standings going into the next race at Assen in two weeks time.
Michael Laverty: “As we near the half way point in the season we can look back on the early rounds content with the progress we have made this season. The team continue the development of the PBM machine, with a new exhaust available for Assen this weekend we are hopeful of a mid range power boost. Assen is a great circuit and one where the weather can play a significant part and should we get rain I look forward to getting in amongst the factory bikes. Either way I hope to continue our consistent run with another strong finish, always monitoring our gap to the head of the field as performance indicator but also mindful that we deserve to get a few points on the board.”
Broc Parkes: “I’m looking forward to Assen as it’s a track I know and have had some good results at in the past. I think there is going to be some wet sessions on the bike which may close the gap to some of the other guys. I really hope that I can try to take some more points as in the last race I felt I rode good enough to get a point but was just unlucky as not so many people retired.”
Paul Bird, Team Owner: “I’m delighted with the team’s progress and consistency and it would be good if we could start scoring points on a regular basis now. The weather could play a part this weekend and if it does, that could benefit us but with every passing race, we are gaining in confidence so hopefully Assen will be a turning point in the season for us.”
This weekend the MotoGP World Championship arrives in Assen for the traditional event on the last Saturday of June, the fascinating Dutch TT at the only venue that has hosted a Grand Prix event every year since the motorcycle World Championship Grand Prix series started back in 1949.
After the ill-fated Grand Prix of Catalunya, which saw him involved in a violent high side during qualifying, and a withdrawal due to technical issues during the early stages of the race, Alvaro Bautista is determined to get back in the fight for the top positions: during the Barcelona post-race test in fact, the Spaniard, although still sore, has been able to try new parts, especially for the braking system, finding some good improvements.
His team-mate, Scott Redding, second last year in the Moto2 race, will aim to gather other important points on a track that on the paper is well suited to his Open Class Honda RCV1000R machine, especially with regard to the first sector.
Alvaro Bautista – “During Barcelona Qualifying I had a big crash, but fortunately nothing is broken, so I will be fully fit for Assen race weekend. Also at this Grand Prix we will find several fast corners, like at Mugello and Catalunya: at the moment we are struggling with this kind of corners, so we need to improve on this area. Anyway, during the post-race test in Spain we found some improvements with regard to the brakes and hopefully we will use the new parts already in Assen. Unfortunately I was still sore from the fall, so I couldn’t do a lot of work on the bike set-up, but we remain confident: if we stay focused during the practice, looking for a good compromise for the fast corners, we can achieve a good result”.
Scott Redding – “I like the Assen TT circuit, and I also like the Country, where there is always a good atmosphere. We only need to take a look at the weather, as it could be a little tricky there, always changing. Anyway, this is another circuit on which I’m comfortable, even though it’s quite narrow, so I will need a bit of time to get acquainted with it aboard a MotoGP bike. The first sector could suit well our bike, but surely the other two sectors will be difficult for us because of the straights. During the Barcelona post-race test we managed to find some more traction: it will be interesting to see if this could be helpful to be fast in Assen, with all those long corners where you need as most traction as possible”.
Fausto Gresini – “Bautista had a really big crash during the qualifying of the last Grand Prix of Catalunya: for this reason, Alvaro managed to complete only a few laps during the post-race test; however we were able to identify some improvements, especially with regard to the braking system. These new parts could be helpful in Assen, even though we struggled in Barcelona. We hope that Alvaro can get back to fight for the top positions: now we are almost halfway through the season and so far our performance has been too swinging; we would like to be more consistent. About Redding, it’s a shame that he’s been penalized in Barcelona: we accept this decision, even if we find it unfair. Scott, however, is continuing to grow and his goal at Assen is to collect some more important points for his championship”.
Drive M7 Aspar
The MotoGP World Championship this week heads to its oldest venue as the legendary TT Assen Circuit maintains its incredible run of hosting a round of the series every season since its inception back in 1949. Even though it has been reformed and remodelled many times since then it retains the magical atmosphere it became famous for worldwide and on the final Saturday of every June it attracts fans from across the continent. This year it hosts the eighth round of the season with Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa all looking to break Marc Marquez’s 100% winning streak so far this season.
Nicky Hayden arrives in Holland lying twelfth in the current MotoGP standings and second in the ‘Open’ classification despite missing two races through injury. The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider produced heroics in Catalunya to ride just days after undergoing surgery on his wrist and he was rewarded for his efforts with twelfth place in the race. The American is hoping Assen will present a relatively easier challenge than Barcelona and he is motivated to ride at a circuit that saw him take a famous victory back in 2006. His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama has scored points in every race so far this season despite suffering a technical problem in the race at Catalunya, where he struggled over the line in fifteenth place. The Japanese rider is hoping for a better result this weekend.
Nicky Hayden: “We had a tough weekend at Catalunya but we still managed to have a good race. Hopefully this weekend at Assen is less of struggle – I like the circuit a lot and I have a lot of good memories after some good results in the past. I am looking forward to getting there and seeing how I feel – hopefully I will be stronger than last time. I am sure that the team will continue to work hard and the chemistry between us will continue to build as it has been doing all year. On paper we should be more competitive at Assen than we were in Barcelona because the straights are shorter and the layout should suit our bike. The weather is always changeable in Holland but I am looking forward to getting there and riding and hopefully challenging for a better result than Barcelona.”
Hiroshi Aoyama: “The last race in Catalunya wasn’t an easy one for us because we had a technical problem. Fortunately we were able to make it to the finish and score points but the result wasn’t what I had hoped for. I am sure we will have better luck at Assen and we’ll be able to spend the weekend working on the bike. Assen is a relatively small and technical circuit and I am sure we can be more competitive there. The weather tends to be quite unstable so we will have to keep an eye on that. Our bike handles very well, that’s its strongest point, so Assen should be on the of the circuits that suits it the best. We will work very hard to be competitive and achieve the best possible result.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Round eight of the 2014 season is one of the true icons of the MotoGP™ calendar; the Dutch TT at Assen. This 4.542 kilometre circuit features a variety of slow and fast corners which demand a good bike setup and tyres with high levels of grip and stability.
Although it features many fast sections, Assen is one of the least severe circuits for front tyres, but the sequences of right-hand corners such as from Mandeveen to Hoge Heide put significant strain on the right shoulder of the rear tyre.
Rear tyre options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compound rear slicks, while the Ducati and Open-class riders will be able to utilise the soft and medium compound rears. Due to the particular layout of the Assen circuit, the medium and hard rear slicks feature the same hardness of rubber on the right shoulder which has to cope with the brunt of the forces, while still providing high levels of grip. The lesser-used left shoulder of the medium and hard rear options feature varying hardness of rubber to ensure adequate warm-up performance.
As the Assen circuit is not overly demanding on the front tyre, the three front slick options available to riders are from the softer end of Bridgestone’s compound range; the extra-soft, soft and medium compounds. Assen can be quite challenging in wet conditions due to its different sections of tarmac, so the main wet tyre option for this weekend is the soft compound.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “The Dutch TT at Assen is the longest-running event on the calendar having formed part of the FIM Motorcycle World Championship’s inaugural season in 1949. Although the layout of the circuit has changed a few times over its history, this event still holds special significance for the fans. The last two races at Mugello and Montmeló have been fantastic to watch and I am sure I’m not the only person hoping to see this exciting streak of races continue! Looking at the recent results at the Dutch TT, the circuit appears to favour Yamaha as they have won seven of the last ten races here, but given the current form of Marc on the Honda, predicting this weekend’s winner is difficult.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “Assen is a smooth circuit that features high camber corners, some of which are very fast. This circuit requires asymmetric tyres because of the high loads placed on the right shoulder of the rear tyres. There are two distinct types of tarmac at Assen which can cause variable grip levels in the wet, making this circuit particularly challenging when it rains. The tyres have to cope with a wide range of corners from very slow to high speed which means a good bike setup is crucial to being competitive here. The first few corners are linked as one and gradually tighten, so the tyres have to be durable and resistant to overheating, while corners such as Ramshoek are extremely fast and demand supreme grip and stability from the tyres.”
MotoGP 2014 – Round Eight – TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands – Official statistics compiled by Dr. Martin Raines
Historic Dutch TT – Assen is the only venue that has hosted a Grand prix event every year since the motorcycle World ChampionshipGrand Prix series started back in 1949. Below are some facts and figures related to the history of the Dutch TT:
- This is the 84th time that a Dutch TT event has been held. The first running of the Dutch TT came in 1925 and before the World Championship series was created. It has taken place every year since, with the exception of the years 1940 to 1945 because of the Second World War. The event became part of the World Championship series when it was first created in 1949 and is the only circuit to have been part of the series every year since, making this the 66th Dutch TT that has counted towards the World Championship classification
- The original Assen circuit, that was used up to 1954, measured 16.5 km. This was reduced to 7.7 km in 1955 and then in 1984 further modifications to the circuit reduced the length to 6.1 km. The current layout has been used since 2006, with a few minor adjustments
- There have been a total of 253 Grand Prix races for solo motorcycles held at the Assen circuit
- Yamaha are the most successful manufacturer at the Dutch TT since the start of the four-stroke MotoGP formula, with seven victories. Honda have had four MotoGP wins at the Dutch TT and Ducati a single win in 2008
- Ben Spies’ win at the Dutch TT in 2011 was the last MotoGP race won by a rider other than Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez or Jorge Lorenzo
- The rider with most GP victories at Assen is Angel Nieto, with 15 wins in the 125cc and 50cc classes. He is followed by Giacomo Agostini, who had 14 wins riding either 500cc or 350cc machines
- Among the current riders, Valentino Rossi has been most successful at Assen with a total of eight victories: six in MotoGP and one each in the 250cc and 125cc classes
- Four Dutch riders have won Grand Prix races at their home circuit; Paul Lodewijkx the 50cc race in 1968, Wil Hartog the 500cc race in 1977, Jack Middelburg the 500cc race in 1980 and Hans Spaan the 125cc race in 1989
- The last Dutch rider to finish on the podium at the Dutch TT was Wilco Zeelenberg (now Team Manager for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) – he finished third in the 250cc race of 1994
Marc Marquez equals Carlo Ubbiali in GP wins
The victory by Marc Marquez at Catalunya marked the 39th time that he had been on the top step of the podium during his Grand Prix career. This is the same number of GP wins Carlo Ubbiali achieved over his career, during which he won a total of nine world titles: six in the 125cc class and three in the 250cc class. At the age of just 21, Marquez is already the 13th equal most successful GP rider of all-time in terms of Grand Prix wins.
Marc Marquez equals Carlo Ubbiali in GP wins
Seven in a row for Marc Marquez
Although he did not manage to continue his run of pole positions in Catalunya, Marc Marquez once again took the MotoGP victory, making it seven successive wins in 2014. Since the MotoGP class was introduced in 2002 as the premier class of Grand Prix racing, only one other rider has achieved seven successive MotoGP races: Valentino Rossi in 2002.
The victory for Marc Marquez in Catalunya also gave him the record as the youngest ever rider, at the age of 21 years and 118 days, to win seven successive races in the premier class, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 23 years and 155 days old when he had seven successive wins in 2002. If he also wins the Dutch TT – at what would be the age of 21 years and 131 days – he would become the youngest rider to win eight successive premier class races, taking the record from Mike Hailwood who was 24 years and 71 days old when in 1964 he won the eighth of a 12-race winning sequence.
The following list shows the longest sequence of all-time successive wins in the premier class
Longest sequence of all-time successive wins in the premier class
Pedrosa moves ahead of Agostini in all-time podium list
Dani Pedrosa’s third place finish in Catalunya marked the 89th time that he had stood on the podium since moving up to the MotoGP class in 2006. As shown below, this takes him into third place in the all-time podium list, above eight time 500cc World Champion Giacomo Agostini.
Pedrosa moves ahead of Agostini in all-time podium list
Kalex closes in on Suter
The Moto2 win by Tito Rabat at the Catalan Grand Prix was the seventh successive victory for Kalex and the constructor’s 28th win in total in the intermediate class. This is just one victory less than Suter, which is currently the most successful constructor in terms of Moto2 victories since the class was introduced at the start of 2010, replacing the 250cc category.
Wins by manufacturer in Moto2:
- 29 – Suter
- 28 – Kalex
- 8 – Moriwaki
- 5 – Speed Up
- 2 – Motobi and FTR
- 1 – Tech 3
Moto2 stats and trivia
- Having already become the first rider to finish in the top four at the opening six Moto2 races of the year, Tito Rabat made that seven in Barcelona, as well as winning for the fourth time in seven races from his fifth pole position of the season; he has now taken six Grand Prix wins from his seven career poles to date.
- By finishing third in Catalunya, Johann Zarco collected the first ever World Championship podium finish for AirAsia Caterham; the Frenchman grabbed the position on the final lap, overtaking Tom Luthi and Mika Kallio in one move
- Last year at Assen, World Champion-to-be Pol Espargaro won from Scott Redding. This marked the fifth time in the career of Espargaro that he had won a GP from pole position and was also his third of six victories en route to the 2013 Moto2 title
- Three riders have finished on the Assen Moto2 podium more than once: Italy’s Andrea Iannone (2010 and 2012), Spain’s Marc Marquez (2011 and 2012) and Great Britain’s Scott Redding (2012 and 2013)
- Louis Rossi celebrated his 25th birthday on the Monday before the Dutch TT
- Tetsuga Nagashima will turn 22 on the Wednesday after the race at Assen
- Past winners at the Dutch TT who are currently competing in the Moto2 class are: Anthony West (250cc/2003), Mika Kallio (125cc/2006), Mattia Pasini (125cc/2007), Maverick Viñales (125cc/2011 & Moto3™/2012) and Luis Salom (Moto3/2013)
Moto3 stats and trivia
- Barcelona saw Honda win for the first time this year with Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez, marking the first non-all-KTM Moto3 victory since Luis Salom won the 2012 Aragon Grand Prix for Kalex KTM; the last Honda-powered Moto3 win was at Mugello earlier that season, when Maverick Viñales won on an FTR Honda
- Efren Vazquez and Alexis Masbou are the only two riders to have scored points in all of the seven races so far this season, as in Catalunya Alex Rins retired and Danny Kent finished outside of the points in 17th place
- Alex Rins retired from the Catalan Grand Prix due to a broken gear lever; this marked his first race retirement since he crashed out of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez early on in the 2013 season
- Jack Miller retains the championship lead heading to Assen, where at the first Dutch TT Moto3 race in 2012 his Red Bull KTM Ajo team recorded a double podium finish thanks to Sandro Cortese and Danny Kent, who finished second and third to Maverick Viñales
- In 2013, Miguel Oliveira achieved pole position at Assen for Mahindra Racing: their first and so far only pole in Moto3, following Danny Webb’s 125cc pole for Mahindra at Valencia in 2011). Oliveira went on to finish the 2013 Dutch race fourth, as just over four tenths of a second covered top five finishers Luis Salom, Maverick Viñales, Alex Rins, Miguel Oliveira and Alex Marquez
- None of the riders currently competing in Moto3 have ever won at the Dutch TT
- The first ever lightweight World Championship Dutch TT was the 125cc race of 9th July 1949, won by Italian Nello Pagani on a Mondial in a race lasting for over one hour
Grand Prix racing numbers
- 149 – After the first seven races of the year, Tito Rabat has scored 149 points: this is the highest ever score achieved in the Moto2 class after the first seven races of the year
- 100 – The win by Marc Marquez in Catalunya was the 100th victory for Honda in the four-stroke MotoGP class that was introduced in 2002, as a replacement for the 500cc category as the premier class of Grand Prix racing. The number of MotoGP wins achieved by the other manufacturers is: Yamaha – 81, Ducati – 31 and Suzuki – 1
- 62 – The victory by Marc Marquez at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya marked the 62nd time that he had stood on the podium in Grand prix racing; this is the same number of podium finishes that Marco Melandri achieved during his Grand Prix career
- 39 years – On race day at the Dutch TT, it will be 39 years to the day since Barry Sheene took his first Grand Prix win in the 500cc class, at the 1975 Dutch TT; this was also the first Grand Prix win for the square-four RG500 Suzuki. Sheene overtook Giacomo Agostini exiting the final corner and the two riders were so close at the finishing line that they could not be separated with the hand timing of the day and were credited with the same overall race time
- 34 years – On race day at the Dutch TT, it will be exactly 34 years since Jack Middelburg took the first of his two GP wins, at the 1980 Dutch TT. This remains the last time that a Dutch rider has won in the premier class at Assen
- 27 – The win by Alex Marquez on a Honda at the Catalan GP ended a record sequence of 27 successive Moto3 wins by KTM. The last time that a Moto3 victory was taken by a constructor other than KTM was in Aragon in 2012, when a KTMpowered machine was victorious in the form of a Kalex KTM ridden by Luis Salom. The last time that a Honda powered machine had a victory in the Moto3 class was with Maverick Viñales at Mugello in 2012, in the form of an FTR Honda. The last win in the lightweight class of GP racing for Honda, as both constructor of chassis and engine, was with Tom Luthi in the 125 class race at Le Mans in 2006
- 22 years – On the day of qualifying at the Dutch TT, it will be exactly 22 years to the day since Alex Criville became the first Spanish rider to take a 500cc GP win, at the 1992 Dutch TT. In total, Spanish riders have now taken 97 wins in the premier class of Grand Prix racing
- 18 – After Valentino Rossi won at Assen last year, all 18 MotoGP races to have been staged since have been won by riders from Spain. This is the longest sequence of successive MotoGP wins by Spain, but is still short of the all-time record for premier class GP wins by a single nation: a record held by the USA, with 28 successive wins which started with the San Marino GP in 1982 and ended with Spanish GP in 1985 – races both won by Freddie Spencer
- 16 years, 167 days – Enea Bastianini finished second in the Moto3 race in Catalunya in just the seventh race of his rookie Grand Prix season. This makes him the fourth-youngest Italian rider of all-time to finish on the podium in Grand Prix racing, after: Marco Melandri, Romano Fenati and Ivan Goi
- 7 – Kalex riders have won the first seven Moto2 races of the year. The last time a rider had won in Moto2 on something other than a Kalex was at the final race of 2013 at Valencia, when Nico Terol won on a Suter. If a Kalex rider wins at the Dutch TT, it will equal the longest sequence of successive wins for a constructor in the Moto2 class – a record currently held by Suter from 2011
- 3.236 seconds – Alex Marquez won the Moto3 Catalan GP by 3.236 seconds from Enea Bastianini: the largest margin of victory in a dry Moto3 race since Maverick Viñales won at Catalunya in 2012, by 7.752 seconds from Sandro Cortese
- 2 – With both Danny Kent and Alex Rins failing to score points in Catalunya, there are now just two riders who have scored points in all of the first seven Moto3 races of 2014: Efren Vazquez and Alexis Masbou