History matters ahead of 65th World Championship Dutch TT

Preview Assen MotoGP
Monday, 24 June 2013

Assen is the only venue on the MotoGP™ calendar to have also featured on the very first World Championship schedule back in 1949. Even more of a reason to strive for success, then, as Jorge Lorenzo aims to take back the advantage from Dani Pedrosa.

The very first World Championship Dutch TT took place on Saturday 9th July 64 years ago. Six riders contested the 500 race and, after one and three quarter hours of racing, Italy’s Nello Pagani came out on top for Gilera, leading home the AJS of Britain’s Leslie Graham who two months later would already be the first ever World Champion.

Fast-forwarding to 2013 and it is sure that we will not have a repeat of last year’s winner, as it was Casey Stoner who took the chequered flag at the Iveco TT Assen. The race would count for nothing for Jorge Lorenzo, furious to be taken out at Turn 1 by the wayward Alvaro Bautista who has ironically now retired on the opening laps of the last two Grands Prix.

As the season draws ever closer to its midway point - which will come up quickly, as the next two races at the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca will be the first to run back-to-back this year - the tension is certainly building in the paddock.

If anybody is aware of consistency, it is surely Lorenzo who finished on the podium in all events bar two last season. On top of that, after six races in his pair of title-winning campaigns, the Mallorcan had scored 140 points. This time around, his total of 116 means he is almost the equivalent of one race win from where he was at this stage of both 2010 and 2012, which is due to his surprisingly low seventh place at Le Mans as well as such happenings as that at the last corner in Jerez…

They often say being the pursuer is easier than being pursued. It is fair to suggest that Pedrosa could be out of practice when it comes to defending a championship lead, as until this year he had been yet to head the standings since the middle of 2008. Both he and Lorenzo will stress that points will win prizes come the season finale in Valencia, but being ahead by the summer break is undoubtedly a psychological boost.

What of those behind the leaders? Marc Marquez’s Mugello shunt leaves him 30 points in arrears of his teammate, despite having finished on the rostrum at all other races. The trivia lovers amongst us will have already noticed that the 20-year-old’s points tally is currently matching his bike number, whereas Valentino Rossi has managed to collect only 40% of the maximum points on offer so far in 2013. The last time he rode Assen on a Yamaha was in 2009. He won. How he would love a repeat.

The MotoGP™ World Championship heads to Assen for the 65th time. On 34 past occasions, the winner has gone on to lift the premier class crown; if history does matter, this is an important one…

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