Following a productive test in Barcelona a fortnight ago, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team are in good shape to start the Motul TT Assen round. After the disappointing double NC in Montmeló, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales are keen to retaliate.

A multiple-rider incident ended Rossi’s challenge for the win in Catalunya in only the second lap, leaving the nine-time World Champion determined to make amends. He plans a strong comeback at the Dutch track, which he has always been fond of, to move up from fifth place in the championship standings.

The Italian holds a very impressive record at what is often referred to as "The Cathedral" of motorcycling. He claimed eight wins there in the premier class (in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017), as well as one second place (2001) and one third place (2003). He also scored well in the lower classes, collecting victories in the 250cc (1998) and 125cc class (1997), and a 250cc second place (1999).

It was an unfortunate end to his home race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for Viñales, because he got caught up in the same accident as his team-mate. However, he set the record straight the following day at the Catalan Test, posting the fastest time. This weekend it’s the Spaniard’s mission to keep the positive vibes going, take the podium he was gunning for at the previous round, and improve his current 11th place championship ranking.

The number-12 rider has enjoyed strong results at the TT circuit in his past eight years of Grand Prix racing. He has won twice at this circuit and enjoyed a four-podium streak on Dutch soil, securing a 125cc win in 2011, a Moto3 win and second place in 2012 and 2013, and a Moto2 second place in 2014. His best score in the MotoGP class was the third place he secured in last year’s close battle.

The TT Circuit Assen was especially built for the Dutch GP in 1955. However, Assen has been part of the Motorcycle World Championship calendar every year since 1949, as it was originally held on public roads. The current Assen track measures 4.5km and remains a favourite amongst riders thanks to its rapid changes in directions, coupled with a nice mixture of high-speed and low-speed corners (six left and twelve right). Especially the Geert Timmer chicane, right before the start-finish straight, makes for great entertainment and superb racing manoeuvres, right in front of the grandstand, when it’s all to play for on the final laps.

For those who want to get to know the circuit better, check out Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s official Factory MotoGP eSport Rider Lorenzo Daretti’s eLap around the TT Circuit Assen