Assen - From the sweltering heat of Barcelona the MotoGP World championship heads north this Saturday to the Netherlands for Round 8 at Assen, with Honda’s remarkable young world champion Marc Marquez still undefeated in 2014.
Marquez may have seen his run of successful pole positions come to an end at Catalunya with a crash during qualifying – his first of the season – but come race day the 21-year-old delivered the goods again as he won a brilliant battle at the front from Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa.
Marquez is now 58 points clear at the top of the standings following his seven-race winning streak, with his nearest rival Rossi (Yamaha) perhaps looking the most likely to be capable of ending his victorious run.
Last year at Assen Rossi returned to winning ways with his first victory since 2010, delighting the Dutch crowd with a great ride from fourth on the grid. Marquez finished second that day, little more than two seconds adrift, and he has a good record at “The Cathedral of motorcycle racing” having notched up three wins at the historic venue in the 125 and Moto2 categories.
In third place in the standings going into the Dutch TT is Dani Pedrosa, who was in the hunt for victory at Catalunya until a last-lap error that saw him touch the rear wheel of Marquez. Pedrosa appeared more comfortable and competitive again after arm-pump problems earlier this season (for which he has since had surgery) and, along with Marquez, will strive to win for Honda at what is considered to be a good circuit for Yamaha.
Last year’s visit to the TT was one to forget for Jorge Lorenzo who battled through the pain barrier to finish fifth, from 12th on the grid, having broken his collarbone in Thursday practice and having flown back to Barcelona for surgery in order to be ready to race. Lorenzo won at Assen in 2010 but has since struggled at the Dutch venue.
Unlike other races which take place on Sunday, the Dutch TT is on Saturday and will be televised live on DSTV (see full TV schedule).