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Dutch date takes MotoGP to the Cathedral

Dutch date takes MotoGP to the Cathedral

Three-way title battle to continue in the north of The Netherlands at Assen.

Round seven of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship takes place this coming weekend in The Netherlands with the Alice TT Assen giving Valentino Rossi the chance to turn up the heat on his title rivals at one of the most popular circuits on the calendar.

Last season Rossi had his worst result of the year at the Dutch track when he crashed early in the race and fought back to finish 11th, but he is traditionally a strong performer at Assen with victories to his name in all three categories there - four of those in the premier class.

Following his epic battle with his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in Barcelona Rossi will aim to maintain his championship momentum with another win, but he knows that Lorenzo and Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner - who are both tied with the Italian on 106 points at the head of the standings - will also be pushing to the maximum at ‘the Cathedral of motorcycling’.

Lorenzo also has a good record at Assen, having won there in the 250cc and 125cc classes, and the 22 year-old Spanish star refers to the circuit as his favourite MotoGP venue. Having been beaten by Rossi by just 0.095s in his home Grand Prix Lorenzo will be desperate for revenge in Saturday’s race.

Last year’s Dutch race winner Stoner is likely to be a far stronger victory candidate than in Catalunya where he rode heroically to finish on the podium with an undiagnosed illness, finishing just in front of Andrea Dovizioso before almost collapsing as he dismounted his Ducati Desmosedici GP9.

Repsol Honda’s Dovizioso has been fractions of a second off the rostrum in the last three races and should any of the current top three slip up in The Netherlands the young Italian will hope to take advantage.

Two points behind his factory Honda colleague in the standings, meanwhile, Dani Pedrosa should be in better physical shape than in Barcelona where he took sixth place despite riding with the painful right hip injury which he sustained at Mugello in the previous round.

Veteran American rider Colin Edwards is currently sixth in the classification and the visit to Assen takes him back to the scene of his infamous 2006 crash which saw him miss out on victory on the final corner. Edwards was seventh in Barcelona and is currently enjoying a consistent run of form.

Also currently occupying top ten championship positions Italian competitors Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki), along with Frenchman Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Capirossi’s Australian colleague Chris Vermeulen will all be in the hunt for good points at round seven.

The Suzuki riders will get a second chance to use their new GSV-R 800cc engines which they debuted last time out in the Catalunya contest but were unable to use in the important Monday post-race test, whilst a number of teams will continue working with new material which they tested at the Montmeló circuit.

Free practice for the premier class riders at the Alice TT Assen commences on Thursday 25th June at 1.55pm.


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