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Ducati Team arrives at Assen for Dutch TT showdown

The Ducati Team have put the results of the Barcelona race behind them and have now arrived in the Netherlands for the eighth round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship, held this weekend at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’, the Assen TT Circuit. The Dutch race continues to be the oldest one on the calendar (the first edition was in fact held in 1949), but this year it will take place for the first time ever on a Sunday, thus radically breaking with the tradition of being run on Saturday. The track has undergone a series of alterations and modifications over the years, but what has remained unchanged is the incredible number of spectators who pack the grandstands and grassy banks of Assen every year.

Andrea Dovizioso, who this weekend will remarkably notch up his 150th start in the premier category, does not see Assen as one of his favourite tracks, but he has stepped onto the podium three times in MotoGP with two thirds in 2011 and 2012 and a runner-up slot in 2014. Last year’s race was rather an unfortunate one, as he reached fifth place but was then slowed by a strange vibration in his GP15 machine and had to settle for an overall twelfth place.

Things were a bit different for Andrea Iannone, who really likes the Dutch circuit. The rider from Vasto scored a good result in the 2015 race, starting from row 2 and moving up into fourth, a position he held until the chequered flag.

The Assen TT weekend programme will start on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 9.55am, while the 26-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 2pm.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 9th (43 points)
“The post-race Barcelona test was important because we were able to work on improving the Desmosedici GP. At this moment in time we are competitive but we are still missing something to get back up to the front and fight for the podium. I believe that we can do better at Assen than Barcelona because there is more grip and the drop in tyre performance during the race shouldn’t be as marked as in Spain. Even though it’s not one of our favourite tracks, I am confident we can score a good result, but this year it’s impossible to make any predictions before the race, seeing as we don’t know how the tyres Michelin bring will behave here.”

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 10th (41 points)
“In the Monday test after Barcelona, we focussed on working with the new compounds that Michelin brought and I have to say that the tests proved to be interesting. The French company continues to improve the tyre performance, and they are always very reactive. The feeling with the Desmosedici GP is good, so we will see how they perform at Assen. In the Netherlands I won in Moto2 in 2010 and it’s a circuit I like a lot, even though in previous years it’s proved to be a bit of a tough circuit for Ducati.”

The Assen TT Circuit
Assen is the only circuit to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949. It was purpose built for the Dutch TT in 1955, with previous events having been held on public roads. The track is narrow, with rapid changes in direction, and is fully surrounded by grass banks and grandstands, providing excellent viewing for the hundreds of thousands of fanatical spectators who are drawn to the most prestigious event in Dutch motorsport every year. In 1999 the circuit was modified with a new grandstand, control tower, press centre and renovated boxes. Modifications to the Assen circuit over the winter of 2005/6 saw the length of the championship’s longest serving track cut from over 6 km down to 4.555 km and then to its current length of 4.542 km.

Circuit Record: Rossi (Yamaha), 1’32.627 (176.5 km/h) – 2015
Fastest Lap: Marquez (Honda), 1’33.617 (174.6 km/h) – 2015
Best Pole: Rossi (Yamaha), 1’32.627 (176.5 km/h) – 2015
Top Speed: Iannone (Ducati), 319.8 km/h – 2015
Circuit Length: 4.5 km
Race Distance: 26 laps (118.1 km)
Curves: 18 (6 left, 12 right)
Race Start: 14.00 CET

2015 Results
Podium: 1. Rossi (Yamaha), 2. Marquez (Honda), 3. Lorenzo (Yamaha)
Pole Position: Rossi (Yamaha), 1’32.627 (176.5 km/h)
Fastest Lap: Marquez (Honda), 1’33.617 (174.6 km/h)

Andrea Dovizioso
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 04
Age: 30 (born on March 23rd 1986 in Forlimpopoli, Italy)
Residence: Forlì (Italy)
Races: 247 (149 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: 2001 Italian GP (125cc)
Wins: 10 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Win: 2004 South African GP (125cc)
Pole Positions: 16 (3 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2003 French GP (125cc)
Titles: 1 (1 x 125cc)

Andrea Iannone
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 29
Age: 26 (born on August 9th 1989 in Vasto, Italy)
Residence: Vasto (Italy)
Races: 185 (58 x MotoGP, 51 x Moto2, 76 x 125cc)
First GP: 2005 Spanish GP (125cc)
Wins: 12 (8 x Moto2, 4 x 125cc)
First Win: 2008 GP of China (125cc)
Pole Positions: 9 (1 x MotoGP, 5 x Moto2, 3 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2008 GP of Malaysia (125cc)