As the Ducati Team heads to Holland to contest the Iveco TT Assen, Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jeremy Burgess gives an overview of the historic track and outlines what technical challenge awaits the team.
“Assen is one of the older tracks and has some very interesting camber and sections where the bike rises and falls quite a lot, even though supposedly the ground in Holland is flat”, the Australian says. “The riders tend to like it. The grip is always very good. The weather sometimes is unfortunately a little wet, but generally you need a bike that turns well, usually with a lot of support from the rear. From our point of view it’s one of Valentino’s better racetracks.”
Following a race in Silverstone with mixed fortunes for the Italian outfit, where Hayden set the joint-third-fastest lap of the race, yet both him and Rossi suffered with rear tyre degradation, the team is looking for small technical improvements to get back onto the path they were on at Catalunya.
Burgess adds: “I hope we’ll perform very well. I think we’re getting closer each week. I think we were very good in Silverstone in the morning [Friday’s wet practice] and Nicky was good in the afternoon [dry track], so with a little bit of work with Valentino I think we can improve and we look forward to carrying that improvement through to Assen.”
Rossi, who has won at the track seven times in his career, is looking to draw on all his experience and love for the track to pull out a good result.He says: “Assen is a great track. I like it a lot, and it brings to mind a bunch of nice memories. We’ll try to start off with a good feeling with the track in order to improve our results a bit. For the moment, we can only work on the setup to prepare the bike as we try to return to the level that we had attained prior to Silverstone, which was a very difficult race. We were a bit better at Barcelona and during the dry sessions at Le Mans, so we must at least regain that pace. If it should also happen to rain, we know that we can be more competitive.”
Hayden mirrors Rossi’s thoughts on the Dutch track: “Assen has changed a bit over the years, but it’s a track that I like. There are some nice, fast sections, like the last bit, coming back to the stadium. A couple of those corners with the banking are pretty fun. Assen is one of those places where you never know what the weather’s going to be like, so you just have to be prepared for anything on Saturday. If you look at the result of my last race, I can’t say that it was really positive, but we learned a couple of things. One of those is that we need to try to come up with something to be easier on the tyre, so we don’t destroy it as quickly.”