MotoGP Assen Grand Prix 2016 Preview, Schedule and Live Telecast Timings
This weekend the MotoGP paddock travels to Assen for the Dutch Grand Prix. Jorge Lorenzo comes into the race more determined than ever to succeed especially after being wiped out by the man he will be replacing, Andrea Iannone. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi may have buried the hatchet to their rivalry but will take up the cudgels again in Assen, the scene of that epic last corner move by Rossi one year ago.
Marquez leads the standings by 10 points over Lorenzo and Rossi is a further 22 points behind Marc. Teammate Dani Pedrosa has yet to breach the 3 digit mark as he is on 82 points as of Catalunya. In Moto2 the battle is tight between Rins and Lowes with just 8 points between them but Zarco is lurking behind in 3rd with a 2 point gap to Lowes so it is anyone’s game as it stands.
Moto3 is a vastly different affair with South African rider Brad Binder who is 44 points ahead of nearest title rival Jorge Navarro. So heading into the Dutch TT Assen MotoGP here is what to look forward to.
The current track specification was built in 1955 and has a total length of 2.82 miles/4.5 kms. It is 14m wide and the longest straight is 487m. The circuit has a total capacity of 100,000 people. There are a total of 18 turns with 6 left turns and 12 right turns.
The total race distance is 73.3miles/118.1kms and the circuit record holder is Marc Marquez with a 1:33.617 in 2014. Going on a hot lap of the TT Assen we fly down the main straight and brake hard for Turn 1 and a small kink at Turn2 and a double apex right hander at Turns 3 and 4 and onto the slowest corner of the circuit at Turn 5 which is a left handed hairpin.
A fast set of kinks at Turns 6 and 7. Then heading down a long straight and braking for Turn 8 which is a right-hander and immediately hang the bike left for Turn 9. You again flick it right for Turn 10. Another short straight and you ride into a 90 degree left hander at Turn 11.
Another right handed corner that is Turn 12 and you open up the throttle at Turn 13. Turns 14, 15 and 16 are slight kinks on the track which are normally taken flat out. Brake hard for Turn 17 which is long left-hander. Finally, we come to the most famous set of corners that is Turns 18, 19, 20 and 21.
Many a race has been won and lost at this set of chicanes including Rossi’s infamous last lap clash with Marc Marquez in 2015 and not to forget Niklas Ajo’s superstar save.
A year ago the Dutch crowd and the TV viewers received their money’s worth with “The Save of the Century”. Sadly the rider who performed that particular stunt, Niklas Ajo lost his seat much before the 2016 season began. This year a number of Moto3 riders have proven themselves especially the likes of Fabio DiGiannantonio, Nicolo Bulega, Aron Canet and Joan Mir.
As usual, it will be a slugfest between Honda and KTM, but Mahindra will be lurking in the shadows ready to pounce after a disappointing run in Catalunya. In a big blow to his championship chances Jorge Navarro will be sidelined for the Dutch GP after injuring his tibia and fibula, and will be substituted by Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
Catalunya was an emotional race for Binder’s team because the late Luis Salom was a former rider and Binder’s teammate. Meanwhile, former Mahindra works rider Danny Webb returns to Moto3 after Karel Hanika was axed by his team.
Dutch Flavour: Bo Bendsneyder will be the sole representative from The Netherlands racing at home.
With just 10 points separating the top 3, the championship is anyone’s game. Alex Rins has a reasonably good record in Assen with 2 podiums in the Moto3 and a fourth place in Moto2. Sam Lowes, on the other hand, has a sketchy record with a non-finish in 2014 but secured a podium last year.
But Zarco returns to a scene where he clinched the pole position and sealed the win in 2015. Of the 3 championship contenders, only Zarco has the best run in the Moto2 class. Rins and Lowes will be boosted by the news of them moving up to the premier class with Lowes heading to Gresini, and Rins securing a seat in Suzuki.
The SAG team will run a single entry in honour of their fallen rider Luis Salom, therefore Swiss rider Jesko Raffin will fly the SAG colors until the season ends. As of now there are no Dutch riders competing in Moto2.
This season it will be about the 2 Yamahas and Marc Marquez as it has been for the last couple of years. Dani Pedrosa has been outclassed which has put his focus and passion under the scanner. The Ducati cameo is expected but the question is “Can Andrea Iannone stay out of trouble or will Gigi Dall’igna be forced to go the Red Bull route and swap Iannone for one of the Pramac riders?”
The news from the paddock is that Frenchman Loris Baz is still sidelined with injury so Michele Pirro will once again ride for the Avintia team. Again there are no Dutch riders in MotoGP but the Dutch fans will have something to cheer about when MotoGP’s gladiators take to the arena.
Friday: Moto3 FP1 (8:00am-8:40am), MotoGP FP1 (8:55am-9:40am), Moto2 FP1 (9:55am-10:40am), Moto3 FP2 (12:10pm-12:50pm), MotoGP FP2(13:05pm-13:50pm), Moto2 FP2(14:05pm-14:50pm)
Saturday: Moto3 FP3(8:00am-8:40am), MotoGP FP3(8:55am-9:40am), Moto2 FP3(9:55am-10:40am), Moto3 QP (11:35am-12:15pm), MotoGP FP4(12:30pm-13:00pm), MotoGP Q1(13:10pm-13:25pm), MotoGP Q2(13:35pm-13:50pm), Moto2 QP(14:05pm-14:50pm)
Sunday: Moto3 Race(10:00am), Moto2 Race(11:20am), MotoGP Race(13:00pm)
Friday: Moto3 FP1(12:00am-12:40am), MotoGP FP1(12:55am-1:40am), Moto2 FP1(1:55-2:40am), Moto3 FP2(4:10am-4:50am), MotoGP FP2(5:05am-5:50am), Moto2 FP2(6:05am-6:50am)
Saturday: Moto3 FP3 (12:00am-12:40am), MotoGP FP3(12:55am-1:40am), Moto2 FP3(1:55am-2:40am), Moto3 QP(3:35am-4:15am), MotoGP FP4(4:30am-5:00am), MotoGP Q1(5:10am-5:25am), MotoGP Q2(5:35am-5:50am), Moto2 QP(6:05am-6:50am)
Sunday: Moto3 Race(2:00am), Moto2 Race(3:20am), MotoGP Race(5:00am)
Friday: Moto3 FP1 (12:30pm-13:10pm), MotoGP FP1(13:25pm-14:10pm), Moto2 FP1(14:25pm-15:10pm), Moto3 FP2 (16:40pm-17:20pm), MotoGP FP2 (17:35pm-18:20pm), Moto2 FP2 (18:35pm-19:20pm)
Saturday: Moto3 FP3 (12:30pm-13:10pm), MotoGP FP3 (13:25pm-14:10pm), Moto2 FP3 (14:25pm-15:10pm), Moto3 QP (16:05pm-16:45pm), MotoGP FP4 (17:00pm-17:30pm), MotoGP Q1 (17:40pm-17:55pm), MotoGP Q2 (18:05pm-18:20pm), Moto2 QP (18:35pm-19:20pm)
Sunday: Moto3 Race (14:30pm), Moto2 Race (15:50pm), MotoGP Race (17:30pm)