Best things from Assen!
Assen hosted the last European round of the MXGP World Championship. We take a look at the best things from the event before the series hits America for the last two rounds.
Jorge Prado – The fifteen year old Spanish sensation was in fine form on his factory KTM. The weekend couldn’t have started any better for him as he held off Jeffrey Herlings for fifteen minutes! Just when it looked like Herlings would make the pass his bike stopped and allowed Prado to take his first ever qualification race win. The conditions for the first race on Sunday were totally different and Prado ended up eleventh. However, the second moto was much better and he took the holeshot, Prado could possibly be the best starter in the world, he loves a holeshot! He led for seven laps before Herlings passed him but he didn’t make it easy for the Dutchman passing him back twice. The most impressive thing about Prado is that he rarely looks behind him when under pressure. He is also mentally very strong and after being passed doesn’t just settle for second, he tried to hang it out with Herlings. Third overall on the day, the first GP podium of his career! The future is bright for the young Spaniard and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win a few GP’s next year. If he can improve his hard pack riding he could be a force to be reckoned with.
Clement Desalle – Before Assen it was pretty hard to pick an overall winner for the MXGP class. Clement Desalle isn’t exactly known for his great sand skills but he was in fine form at Assen. He went 2-2 in the moto’s for the overall victory. With Simpson leading the first moto most people would have expected him to pull away but Desalle kept it reasonably close. Desalle has been searching for this victory since getting back to full fitness. This will give him lots of confidence so he should come out swinging in America. Belgium have got Desalle back to his very best just in times for the Nations!
The facility – Assen is a fantastic facility and whether you like the track or not, having a GP at Assen is great for the sport and allowing it to grow. Compared to last year there was a lot more media and spectators at the event. Clearly everyone that attended in 2016 enjoyed it and the good word got around. It was good to see a lot of new faces in the paddock and hopefully this entices them to come back in order for the sport to grow and reach a new level.
Announcements – There were plenty of announcements made during at Assen. The most intriguing announcements made were Yamaha’s and Suzuki’s rider selection for the SMX Manufacturers event taking place in October. Yamaha picked Benoit Paturel, Brent Vandoninck and Romain Febvre for the event. I think everyone would have liked Cooper Webb to ride the event but he has a hectic schedule racing the US GP’s and the Nations over the next few weeks. Hopefully the SMX event goes well and if it gives a good impression we could see Webb take part in 2017. Suzuki’s team for the event will be Arminas Jasikonis, Jeremy Seewer and Jake Weimer.
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Nigel McKinstry