Rossi hopes to rise again at MotoGP's 'Temple of Speed'

·3-min read

As one of MotoGPs two great surviving stars unexpectedly blazed again last weekend, the other seems to be struggling against the inevitable slide into darkness, but the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday could offer Valentino Rossi hope.

As the chequered flag fell at the German Grand Prix last Sunday, it seemed inevitable that six-time world champion Marc Marquez had taken it.

He might have missed a year after an awful arm injury, but he had won the last 10 times he had raced at the Sachsenring.

If the same logic applies at Assen, then perhaps Rossi, who has won 10 times at the track, will produce an even bigger surprise.

The Italian has won one more world title than Marquez, but at 42 he is struggling to outpace father time.

Demoted to the Yamaha satellite team SRT this season, the Italian has not finished better than 10th in the eight races.

He limped in 14th in Germany and sits 19th in the rider standings.

On Thursday in Assen, he said his future plans were still to be decided.

"We will think more deeply during the summer break and will have to talk with Yamaha and the team," he said.

"We want to try for better results and because of that it will be difficult for next year.

"The passion is really high. I still enjoy it very much. But results are also important to enjoy. It's a difficult life, with lots of stress, training and pressure."

Assen's 'Temple of Speed' has long suited Rossi.

His last victory, back in 2017, came at the Dutch circuit. That triumph, coming 20 years and 311 days after he won the 125cc race in the Czech Republic in 1996, gave him the longest winning Grand Prix career.

"Assen is a great track for me," Rossi said.

"I like the layout a lot, it is very flowing. It is somewhere I really enjoy and you always feel some great emotion when riding there.

"So we need to stay positive, concentrate on the final round before the summer break and achieve a good result in Assen."

SRT announced on Wednesday that their other regular rider, Franco Morbidelli, would miss the race after injuring a knee training on Tuesday. The Italian will be replaced by American Garrett Gerloff.

Marquez meanwhile downplayed surging expectations.

- 'Struggle again' -

He pointed out after his first victory in more than 18 months, that the narrow, winding Sachsenring suited him and his Honda, in particular the preponderance of left-hand turns put less strain on his weak right arm.

"In Assen we will struggle again," the Spaniard said.

"We have enjoyed our moment after the Sachsenring, with the team, with my family and with those who helped me," he told the Honda web site on Tuesday, before striking a cautious note about Assen. "We have had good results there but of course our situation is different now."

But Marquez, who exposed the caution of other riders by attacking when the rain started to fall in Germany, noted conditions might be in his favour. "The weather is looking very cold and wet."

Marquez also entered the debate over Rossi's future.

"With Vale everything is possible. Good for MotoGP if he decided to stay with his team," he said Thursday.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo has been picking up points recently in races when he felt he lacked speed on his factory Yamaha, .

"Finishing third at the Sachsenring was good," he said. "Being on the podium after 'bad weekend' makes us feel even more positive."

"This weekend we're riding at TT Circuit Assen, which is one of my favourite circuits, and it suits the Yamaha well. I wish it was Friday already!"


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