MotoGP Assen: Aprilia swells its troops to attack the Cathedral

MotoGP Assen: Aprilia swells its troops to attack the Cathedral

A fixed presence on the MotoGP calendar since 1949 if we exclude the cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Dutch circuit of Assen has earned the nickname of Cathedral both for the technical characteristics of its layout and for the spectacular nature of the races that take place there. An important 11th round which comes just before the summer break.

For Aleix Espargaro, the objective is to return to the podium, which has become a pleasant habit in this year 2022. A new situation for him and for Aprilia, but which has matured thanks to the great evolution of the technical package and the extraordinary speed and regularity shown by the driver from Granollers. The 32-year-old Catalan driver currently occupies 2nd position in the championship, 34 points behind Fabio Quartararo, but in 17 participations in the Dutch Grand Prix, the Spaniard has never won, registering his best results there in 2009 (4th in 250cc) and 2014 (pole position and 4th place on the Yamaha Forward). Will he be able to register a second success in the Grand Prix in the Cathedral this Sunday?

He will be able to count for this (since the two men work together) on a Maverick Vinales who proved to be more and more solid in the saddle of the RS-GP at the Sachsenring, before having to give up following the collapse of his ride height device. Unlike his team-mate, the Spaniard has already recorded very good statistics on the TT Circuit Assen, mainly in 125cc and during his last two participations: So watch out for the “Top Gun”!

– Maverick Viñales has finished either first or second in his four Dutch TT appearances in the small categories.
– He won the 125cc race in his rookie season in 2011, won the Moto3™ race in 2012, and was second in Moto3™ in 2013.
– In 2014 he was second in Moto2™, just 0.318 seconds behind race winner Anthony West.
– He raced in Assen in MotoGP™ for the first time in 2015; he qualified in ninth position and finished 10th, less than a second behind his teammate Aleix Espargaró.
– In 2016, Viñales struggled in wet conditions. He started 11th and finished 9th.
– In 2017 he qualified 11th and fell from fifth on lap 12 at the final chicane.
– In 2018, he completed the second row of the grid and finished the race in third position after battling with Alex Rins for second place, which was his second podium at this stage of the season with Austin.
– In 2019, he qualified in second place behind Fabio Quartararo and took his first victory of 2019 as well as the first Yamaha victory of the season after a great battle with Marc Marquez and Quartararo.
– In 2021, he qualified on pole position, his most recent, and finished second for his most recent podium and his 24th victory with Yamaha.

Finally, Aprilia will present itself at the Grand Prix of Assen with a complete line up, given the presence on the track of the test pilot Lorenzo Savadori who will, as always, have the task of continuing the development of the RS-GP.

Aleix Espargaro: Assen is a mythical circuit, with a spectacular layout. I’m a little worried about the weather, which is always an unknown here, and for sure we will find lower temperatures than at the Sachsenring. Clearly, I would like to find a dry weekend, but the important thing will be to arrive at the summer break with a positive result and moral situation. »

Maverick Vinales: The first objective here in Assen will be to continue on the level shown last week. I am convinced that we can be competitive on all circuits, but even more so on a track that has always suited my driving style. The fact that we are immediately chasing after Germany is also something that helps me. We have seen that starting in front makes life a lot easier in racing, and if we can get at least the second row we can really show our potential. »

Lorenzo Savadori:For me, it’s always great to get back on track, especially when it’s an iconic event like Assen. The technicians have already told me that we will have a lot of solutions to work on, so our objective remains to put the kilometers on the clock and to continue to develop the RS-GP. And maybe also to test something that can help Aleix and Maverick in the second half of the championship. »

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