Marc VDS head for the Cathedral of Speed
The Marc VDS Racing Team hop across the border from their base in Gosselies, Belgium to The Netherlands this weekend, for the Dutch TT at the historic Assen circuit, round seven of the FIM Moto2 World Championship.
Scott Redding heads to Assen with a 35 point lead in the championship standings, after a win in Mugello and a fourth place in Catalunya saw him collect 38 points at the two tracks on the calendar that punish his size and weight the most. The 20-year-old Briton ranks Assen as one of his favourite circuits and he heads to the North of Holland determined to repeat his podium success of last season.
Catalunya was a struggle for Mika Kallio, with set-up issues hampering his progress throughout free practice and qualifying, but the 30-year-old Finn overcame the issues in the race to take a top ten finish and keep his championship campaign on track. Kallio has won previously at Assen, aboard a 125cc machine back in 2006, and, like his teammate, has his sights set firmly on a return to the podium this weekend.
A big crash in Catalunya left Livio Loi battered and bruised, but the 16-year-old Belgian returns to action this weekend at a track he knows better than any other on the Moto3 calendar. Loi has won previously at Assen, in the closely contested Moriwaki Cup, and will be looking to take advantage of his previous experience at the 4.542km Assen track to close on the top ten in both qualifying and the race.
The historic Circuit van Drenthe, or the Cathedral of Speed as it is often referred to, is the only track that has appeared on the Grand Prix calendar every year since the series started in its current form back in 1949. A former public roads circuit, Assen is also unique in that it is the only round where the races are held on Saturday, rather than the more usual Sunday.
Scott Redding #45:
“I’m looking forward to returning to Assen, as it’s definitely one of my favourite tracks to race at. Fourth in Catalunya, a track that really punishes my size, was a good result in terms of the championship, but it was also a little disappointing to miss out on a fifth podium finish in Spain. I was third at Assen last season and I think a podium finish this time around is a realistic goal, but even more important is to try and extend my lead over Pol Espargaro and Tito Rabat in the championship standings. If I can do that and stand on the podium this weekend in Assen then I’ll be a happy man.”
Mika Kallio #36:
“Catalunya was hard work, and a little disappointing because we didn’t get the result we were looking for. We came away from Spain with some ideas about the set-up of the bike and that’s something we need to discuss internally ahead of this weekend’s race in Assen. While we are heading to Holland off the back of a difficult race weekend in Spain, confidence remains high, as the team is working well. I like the Assen track and it’s been a good one for me in the past, but I need to be back in the top five, preferably on the podium, there this weekend if I’m to keep my championship campaign on track. If we get the set-up right from the start of practice then I think this is a realistic goal.”
Livio Loi #11:
“I’m feeling confident heading to Assen, despite the problems in Mugello and the crash in Catalunya. Before the Catalunya crash everything was working well and I was inside the top ten in the race, but then a rider closed the door on me going into turn five and I was already on the limit with the brakes. I had no choice but to brake harder to avoid him and, as a result, I lost the front and crashed. I had a bit of a headache for a few days afterwards, but I’m back to full fitness now and I’ve been training hard for Assen. My goal, as always, is top 15 in qualifying and the race but, as we saw in Catalunya, when things are working well then top ten is a possibility.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Catalunya has always been a tough track for Scott, but he came away with 13 points and only a slight reduction in his lead at the top of the championship, which was a job well done. Now we head to Assen, a track that Scott likes and one where I’m confident he can repeat his podium success of last season. We need to find a solution to Mika’s problems in practice and qualifying this weekend. His race pace is good, as he shows every weekend, but his starting position is robbing him of podium opportunities all too often. Livio has had two difficult rounds, with set-up issues in Mugello and a big crash last time out in Catalunya. This weekend at Assen, a track he knows very well, he needs to put the last two races behind him and regain his confidence on the bike. If he can do that then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be pushing towards the top ten in both qualifying and the race.”