Le Mans is a very different track to Mugello, and Mugello is different to Catalunya. And yet, as we arrive at the TT Circuit Assen, one man has ruled them all: Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). He’s now the new Championship leader by seven points, too, despite a 0 at Jerez through no fault of his own, and in Barcelona he showed he could do it from sixth on the grid. So is he unstoppable?
The bad news for his rivals is that each of the three-in-a-row wins – something he’d never done before – has been taken with a significant amount of time in his pocket and at Catalunya in the post-race Press Conference he said it himself: he made zero mistakes. In addition, until this season, the only back-to-back wins he’d taken had been in Moto3™ in his Championship-winning 2014 season at Catalunya and…Assen.
The good news is that everything can change in an instant. It’s an overused trope but it’s true – as Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) proves. A lead and a shield of invincibility accrued in the first part of the season is now fourth overall and a third DNF in seven races, so he’ll be top of the list wanting to hit back. But Marquez, along with the likes of Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) – the man closest to the number 73 in the standings and a rider with a solid record at Assen – will be big hurdles in the Italian’s way. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) also remains very much a man in form, and Speed Up were second in the hands of Fabio Quartararo last season.
The fight doesn’t stop with a handful of names, however. Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) has some serious speed, Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) is looking to keep his pace rolling on race day, Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) just won’t stop impressing in the fight for Rookie of the Year…can KTM fight back? The list goes on. And as the season goes on, everyone learns more in this new era of Moto2™.
There’s one home hero on the grid for the crowd to cheer for, too: Bo Bendsneyder (RW Racing GP), who’s scored a few points so far this season, and the TT Circuit Assen could be a good venue for a few more.
The Motul TT Assen fires up on Sunday 30th June.
1 – Alex Marquez (SPA – Kalex) – 111
2 – Tom Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) – 104
3 – Jorge Navarro (SPA – Speed Up) – 89
4 – Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA – Kalex) – 88
5 – Marcel Schrötter (GER – Kalex) – 73