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Crowds to flock for landmark Dutch TT

Crowds to flock for landmark Dutch TT

Crowds to flock for landmark Dutch TT

An historic landmark in the history of motorcycle racing will be reached this weekend, as the legendary Dutch TT hosts the new generation four stroke machines for the first time ever at the revamped Assen circuit. A crowd of around 100,000 are expected to descend on the famous venue from all corners of Europe, with star attraction and defending World Champion Valentino Rossi looking to maintain the dominance of the Honda RC211V machine on its debut appearance at the 6,027m track.

The Japanese factory´s fabulous four stroke has won each of the six rounds of the series so far in 2002, five of those at the hands of the mercurial Italian and once at those of his diligent team-mate Tohru Ukawa. However, the challengers are closing in – most notably in the form of Yamaha rider Max Biaggi, who´s M1 machine has been on the podium on the last three consecutive occasions. The introduction of a new chassis and considerable improvements to the engine and electronics saw Biaggi start the last race in Barcelona from pole and his team-mate Carlos Checa lead half the race before finishing third.

Suzuki have a great record at Assen, with Kevin Schwantz winning there three times and holding the lap record at the old slightly longer circuit, and after making excellent progress in recent weeks they will once again run three GSV-R four-stroke machines. Regular riders Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau will be joined by Japanese Superbike champion Akira Ryo and his posse of factory technicians.

The two-stroke riders will also fancy their chances round Assen, with plenty of fast technical bends and not too many slow corners and long straights. The Honda Pons duo of Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros have led the 500cc charge so far this season and both have great records at the Dutch venue in recent seasons. Barros won here in 2000 whilst Capirossi has finished third for the last two years.

MotoGP, 2002, Gauloises Dutch TT

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