The 4,542m long Assen circuit has seen many changes through its history and holds the enviable record of being the only circuit to have staged the Motorcycle World Championship race every year since the series was created in 1949. Through those years it has staged many memorable races and earned the name of ‘The Cathedral of Speed’. The track is a is a mix of six left and twelve right-hand corners, varying from very slow turns to high-speed curves, a feature that makes the circuit a favourite with many racers. Despite the many turns the track is not that severe on front tyres, but the technical layout means the rear tyres have plenty of work to do, especially with providing good side grip through the fast corners where the tyres will reach high temperatures.
Michelin’s range of tyres for the weekend will consist of MICHELIN Power Slicks for the front in three compounds and two different versions for the rear. The three fronts will be identified by a white band for soft, no band for medium and a yellow band for hard, all aimed to provide the riders with the widest choice for their respective machines. The rear tyres will all feature an asymmetric design to cope with the high loads that are placed on the right shoulder of the tyre and will be available in medium (no band) and hard (yellow band), designed to cover the medium severity of abrasion that the track is expected to offer. The Assen circuit is also the most northerly venue on the calendar and its position in the Netherlands also leads to variations in temperatures and weather conditions, so the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres and Inters will also be available to cover all eventualities.
This year’s Dutch TT will also mark another historic moment in the event’s history as it moves its race-day from the traditional Saturday - which was originally the day due to religious reasons, as the track’s initial public road layout had a church on the route – to a Sunday for the first time. Michelin and the MotoGP field will therefore take to the track on Friday for the first day of practice, followed by further practice sessions and qualifying on the Saturday. Sunday’s 26-lap race will get underway at 14.00hrs CEST (13.00hrs BST, 12.00hrs GMT/UTC), when the expected large crowd will give the event an excitable carnival feeling like no other race on the calendar.
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:
“The Dutch TT is one of the most famous races in the world and Assen is right at the top of legendary race-tracks. It is a really unique event and steeped in history, so there is always a special feeling when we go there. The track layout has changed over the years, but the distinctive atmosphere remains the same and on race-day it is a great place to be, although it will feel strange racing on a Sunday this year! The track has a lot of turns and usually very good grip, but this can also make it quite abrasive. The riders can use different lines and trajectories, but at the end we usually get an exciting race at Assen. We need to have tyres that will provide good durability and consistency, as well as coping with a large amount of stress that they will be put under, because they will have to deal with very slow corners, right through to high-speed curves. Assen can also have a big variety in temperatures, so again the tyres will need to cover a wide area of the performance spectrum. We have a selection of tyres available that we believe will work well in all conditions and give the riders the stability and grip they need to race at this iconic track.”