Assen: Simon Crafar’s five keys from Friday

The pitlane reporter and 500 GP winner on the best of Day 1 at the Dutch GP

After Day 1 at the Dutch GP, World Feed pitlane reporter Simon Crafar - a 500 GP winner - sat down to give us his five big talking points from Friday. So here we go!

1. Classic Assen

It’s a venue with good memories for Crafar – with his first podium in WorldSBK taken at the track in 1995. 1998 saw history then repeat itself in a way, as the New Zealander took third at Assen for his first Grand Prix rostrum finish. “Riders never forget their first podium” – could someone be one to discover that first hand this weekend?

2. Yamaha back on top?

“Assen is about flowing corner speed,” says Crafar, “and Yamahas are good at that.” He has his fingers crossed they could be on to end their losing streak that stretches back to the track last season – and with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) fastest on Friday and teammate Valentino Rossi in P4, it’s a good start.

3. Smooth Suzuki

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was second fastest on Friday and Crafar says corner speed is also a key strength for the Hamamatsu factory. Can they convert practice pace into a big race result on Sunday?

4. Ducati could need to fight it out

“Can Petrucci go one better this year?” That’s what Crafar wants to know – but he says the acceleration and top speed of the Ducatis isn’t as effective at Assen as it can be at Mugello and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. After two wins for Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), is a third out of reach?

5. Win or bust for Marquez?

“Marquez pointed out that a small mistake at Assen can turn into a big one.” That he did, and Crafar reaffirms that getting off line at Assen is no small error and can be costly. “It’s fast and flowing and easy to end up off the circuit.” Will Marquez win and extend the lead, or fall trying?