MV Agusta adds another chapter to its collection of limited-edition motorcycles with the unveiling of the Brutale 1000 RR Assen. This new motorcycle pays tribute to MV Agusta's remarkable history at the iconic Assen circuit, also known as the "cathedral of speed," where the brand has achieved thirty-five victories, making it the most successful Italian manufacturer and the third overall in terms of victories at this historic Dutch track.
With more passing than you’d see at an April 20 party, the 2017 Motul Assen TT was one of the more riveting races in recent memory. Tech 3 Yamaha rookie sensation Johann Zarco led the first 11 laps from pole. Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi and Ducati brute Danilo Petrucci were in the heart of the lead group along with Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda. But Rossi – fast, patient and strategic – managed to beat Petrucci to the flag by .06 seconds. They don’t call him The Doctor for nothing.
Even with the race going off on Sunday again for the second time, sixty-some years of racing on Saturday at the Cathedral have produced a number of curious finishes. Nicky Hayden had his first and only non-U.S. win here in 2006. Ben Spies won here in 2011 in what many of us mistakenly thought was the beginning of a great career. And Jack Miller’s win last year defines “unlikely.”
The 86th running of the Dutch TT Assen featured so many zany antics that a simple line listing would exceed the space available for this story. Australian Jack Miller’s first premier class win aboard the Marc VDS Honda sits at the top of this list, even though it took him two tries, as the first race was red-flagged after 14 laps. Valentino Rossi recorded his third DNF of the season, his once-high hopes for 2016 in tatters. And Marc Marquez, in deep yogurt early in the first race, leaves Assen with some breathing room between himself and the Yamahas in the 2016 world championship chase.
Seems like months ago when Ducati wildman Andrea Iannone T-boned Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in Barcelona, handing the Mallorcan his second DNF of the season and costing him the 2016 championship lead. The triple world champion must now commence his attack on Honda wünderkind and series leader Marc Marquez at a venue where his recent fortunes have ranged from bad to worse. Meanwhile, teammate and rival Valentino Rossi and Marquez look to pick things up where they left off last June as we steam into Round 8 of 2016, The Motul TT Assen.
As the 2015 MotoGP season approaches the halfway mark, the factory Yamaha team of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, the Bruise Brothers in Blue, have had things pretty much their own way. Between them, they’ve won six of the seven races to date. Double defending world champion Marc Marquez and his Honda RC213V have appeared, in the words of Led Zeppelin, dazed and confused. The annual visit to the Cathedral, the Motul TT Assen, could interrupt several recent trends.
The conditions confronting the riders and teams at the 2014 Iveco Daily TT Assen couldn’t have been worse. It had rained off and on all weekend, and race day featured everything from bright sunshine to hail (hail!) prior to the Moto2 tilt. The MotoGP teams were confounded by tire choices as the flag-to-flag contest unfurled. But when the rain and smoke cleared, Repsol Honda sophomore Marc Marquez had made it 8-for-8 in 2014.
Repsol Honda God-child Marc Marquez leads his team and the rest of the MotoGP grid to Assen, which has been hosting motorcycle races in one form or another on the last Saturday in June since 1925. During this period, the race has morphed from the Dutch TT to the Dutch Grand Prix, from a road race to a closed-course tilt, and from motorized bicycles to the fastest two-wheeled racing machines on earth. Revered by fans and riders, Assen would be a fitting place for Marquez to set yet another modern day record.
It was a thoroughly hectic weekend for factory Yamaha kingpin Jorge Lorenzo at the 2013 Dutch TT Assen. Broke his collarbone in a routine highside in FP2 on Thursday afternoon, chartered a jet to Barcelona that day, had a couple hours of surgery early Friday morning, grabbed a bite to eat, flew back to Assen, slept a little on the plane, started 12th and finished 5th in the race. Had to be helped off his bike at the end. Ho hum.