The view from the Haarbocht Lounge to the start-finish and on the right edge of the picture the main grandstand photographed by us in 2019 – a shame it is only open for MotoGP, but not at WSBK events.

A visit to the “Cathedral of Speed” for the Dutch GP

We are the track in Assen and are happy to be there every time, especially when the WorldSBK is on the Circuit van Drenthe, also known as the TT Circuit. At MotoGP, it is sometimes a dubious pleasure for some because of the crowd, especially when it comes to how visitors deal with their waste. Sometimes in certain places, especially behind the grandstands at the level of the finish chicane, it is hardly possible to get through because it is simply too narrow. In most places, however, the hospitality is inferior to any other country, apart from a four-star hotel in Assen on a GP weekend, when, as so often, we were on site by bike. Not all tourists understand why they should pick up their beer, especially in paper cups, from a hotel bar. But this time, like in 2020, as is so often the case in the second year of the pandemic, a lot is different, and we like to be surprised. At least in the future, we will avoid the hotel from back then.

Trash and dirt as far as you can see – we photographed 20 minutes before the MotoGP race 2019 in Assen and on the right under the flag is a huge and not yet full garbage can.

The balance of the current MotoGP stars and the statistics of previous years

The year numbers on a blue background mean that it was raining in Assen at the relevant Grand Prix and this was the case in around 50 percent of all races in recent decades. As on many other routes, the 6-time world champion Marc Marquez has the best record here, if you look back to 2015. Many of the current MotoGP riders have never competed in the premier class there. As Fabio Quartararo noted in an interview after the Sachsenring GP, Assen is one of his favorite tracks and, according to him, it also goes well with his Yamaha. The statistics underline this and except for 2018, Marquez never won the last 5 races there, most recently Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi twice, who is also the record winner in the Cathedral of Speed with 8 wins. If you add the smaller classes, the old master even had 10 triumphs in his career so far.

Many favourites for the 2021 Grand Prix

Even the fact that Ducati won only once with Casey Stoner in 2008 means little. Today Jack Miller rides for the Reds and on a Honda he won in Assen in 2016, albeit in a race under chaotic conditions with a crash and in the rain. In addition to old master Rossi, his Yamaha brand colleagues have all already performed very well in Assen and KTM and Suzuki must also be expected there. For Marc Marquez, the grace period after his comeback is finally over since his Sachsenring victory, and now everyone is waiting for the confirmation of his success at the German GP. Actually, since the 2020 season opener in Jerez de la Frontera, there have hardly been as many favourites before a MotoGP race as before the ninth race of this year, after which the summer break begins.

Photographed by us from the VIP lounge in Assen, called Haarbocht – the first bend in the foreground as a deterrent for this year’s race. At that time, we couldn’t even count how many drivers got into the green area on the left, which is now a prohibited zone. There will be track limit punishments at the GP of the Netherlands, and not only our hairs stand on end at this thought, but also many teams and drivers.

The TT Circuit and the audience restriction for this season

The route, built in 1955, was shortened for the last time in 2006 and has been 4,555 kilometres since then. With six left and twice as many right turns, it is the favourite track of many drivers, whether from MotoGP or, as with Tom Sykes, from the near-series World Championship. As the organizer informed us, 11,500 spectators will be allowed in the stands, which is significantly less than a tenth of the usual number. Only the Austrians are stupid enough this season to allow almost unlimited numbers of people for the races, despite the pandemic. In the Alpine republic shaken by fraud, corruption and stupidity in dealing with the pandemic, they are constantly inventing new methods to give the virus a chance to multiply vigorously, including mutations. Actually, almost unbelievable for a country that originally almost played a pioneering role with one of the earliest lockdowns in Europe. In view of the European Football Championship taking place at the same time, however, the Dutch found something like the golden mean, after only people with good connections were on-site as onlookers in Saxony. The buyers of official tickets, on the other hand, had to stay outside.

The route in Assen as it is currently presented. The area from Stekkenwal to Ramshoek is unfortunately closed at the WSBK event and only open to MotoGP. What is very pleasant for visitors here: The organization is exemplary and anyone who finds accommodation in Assen can confidently walk to the track, as we often did at MotoGP.
We photographed full grandstands at the WSBK race on Sunday in 2019 – despite adverse conditions due to the low temperatures. The day before, the first race was cancelled due to snowfall and had to be postponed to Sunday.

The World Championship intermediate results for all 3 classes at a glance

Assen Grand Prix schedule

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).