Last push for the Repsol Honda Team before Summer Break
One last race before the mid-season Summer Break and both Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl know what they have to do this weekend.
Assen offers a radical change from the demands of the Sachsenring, the tight anti-clockwise German track making way for the fast and flowing Dutch circuit. Having held races since 1949, the TT Assen is steeped in history and has undergone several modifications throughout its life. The current circuit is characterised by a tight first sector which opens into a fast and flowing section before arriving at the infamous Geert Timmer Bocht chicane just before the finish line.
Pol Espargaro arrives at the Dutch race looking to put an end to his run of misfortune, having failed to score in the last three races. A combination of bad luck and injuries have plagued the #44 as of late as he and the Repsol Honda Team have continued to try and chase their early season form. Intense recovery work while at home has seen some improvements to his injured left ribs, but it looks set to be another physically demanding weekend racing just a week later. In the past, Espargaro has been a consistent point scorer in the Netherlands and finished tenth last year on the RC213V.
For Stefan Bradl, the last race before the Summer Break is a chance to put the pace he showed during German GP practice into action. Complications in the race made for a disappointing home GP for the German rider, but his adaptation to racing the RC213V is well and truly underway. This will be Bradl’s first time racing at the Dutch track in MotoGP since 2016, the first edition of the race held on Sunday, when he finished eighth. In WorldSBK, when racing there in 2017, he achieved his best overall result of the year – a sixth place finish.
The weather for the weekend is looking significantly cooler and potentially wetter than Germany last week.
“I’ve had a few days at home doing everything I can to be prepared for the race this weekend, getting a lot of treatment on the ribs. There’s not much more that we could have done, so I am as ready as I can be. Assen is a really different track to Germany obviously, there’s a lot of fast changes of directions and you really need to have a bike that handles well. The objective is to get a good result before the Summer Break, we need to stop the run of bad races we have had.”
“Assen gives us an opportunity to solve the problems we had in Germany. Before the race we were making some really good progress – especially with my riding. The objective for the weekend is to make another step in this direction, gain that last little bit of confidence and feeling when pushing for a super-fast lap. It has been a few years since I raced at Assen but I think we can get up to speed quickly there. I’m eager to have a strong weekend to go into the break with an extra bit of motivation.”