If you review Jorge Lorenzo’s trajectory at Assen over the last 6 years, the conclusion is that the Dutch layout “hates” the Spanish rider. But there was a time when the Cathedral, which is how the Dutch GP is known, was Jorge’s ally.
For example, in 2004 he had one of the most spectacular victories in 125cc history. Half a lap from the end of the race Lorenzo rode off track, relegating himself to fourth position. The race appeared lost for him, but through an incredible reaction, precise riding and maximum spunk he managed to pass the riders in front of him; rivals like Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso.
In Assen that year he achieved what was only his second victory in the championship despite a manifest mechanical disadvantage. His romance with Assen continued into the following years, with pole position and a podium his first season in 250cc. A result that came only two weeks after suffering from a broken clavicle; An injury, incidentally, that he would suffer from again in Assen.
If you review Jorge Lorenzo’s trajectory at Assen over the last 6 years, the conclusion is that the Dutch layout “hates” the Spanish rider. But there was a time when the Cathedral was Jorge’s ally.
Lorenzo added two wins there the next two seasons, starting both from the front of the grid and dominating the races from the first lap to the last. His passing through the intermediate category left Assen with record numbers: in 3 years he had 3 poles and 3 podiums, two of them wins…It wasn’t long before saw the same results after his jump to MotoGP.
A poor start in 2009 made him work hard during his race, though he finished second after beating riders like Spaniard Dani Pedrosa and Australian Casey Stoner…his moment was about to arrive. In 2010 he was playing to win and Lorenzo did not disappoint at Assen. He was the fastest in each and every practice, the fastest at the start, and the first to reach the finish line fighting with Pedrosa and Stoner. It was one of those weekends that every rider wants: to win at the Catedral, in the premier class and with kind the dominance he showed that day.
But he fell after sitting on top of the world. His breakdown at Assen that would begin in 2011. That year, Marco Simoncelli crashed in front of Lorenzo, knocking Jorge down in his fall; the following season Alvaro Bautista took him out of the race in the first corner, a race in which he was leading… those were two years in a row that his Dutch Grand Prix finished a few meters from the start.
When Lorenzo arrived at Assen in 2013, he did it with the determination to break that bad stretch of luck…but the opposite happened. Having scored the fastest time in the first practice session, in the second he suffered one of the worst downturns in his sporting career. Just entering turn 12, where riders reach over 220 km/h, he touched the white line. On the wet asphalt, his motorcycle immediately threw him into the air and he broke his collarbone upon impact with the ground.
Lorenzo simply hasn’t felt comfortable in Assen since 2013; this weekend Jorge will arrive in Holland still adapting to a difficult Ducati, a combination that on paper does not seem an easy task…
That same day he was transferred to Barcelona to be operated on. And in an unprecedented event, with fewer than 48 hours since the accident, it was announced on the day of the race that he was returning to Assen to take part in the GP. With a newly plated collarbone, Jorge starred in one of those historic motorcycling moments. From the operating room direct to the starting grid. The good time he set in FP1 allowed him to pass directly to Q2, so without having participated in any other practice sessions, he started the race from 12th position. In a race that was pure suffering, Jorge finished in an incredible fifth place. It was pure heroism, but it took its toll after some time.
The shadow of the 2013 fall was present throughout the entire next season. Half wet, half dry asphalt was the worst possible scenario for Lorenzo. The torment from the previous year paralyzed him and saw him finish in 13th position in 2014, more than a minute behind the winner. Lorenzo admitted after the race that in every lap, he could not get that fateful fall out of his head; at no time was he able to compete against the other riders.
In 2015 Jorge was reunited with the podium at Assen, although throughout the weekend he never managed to match the pace of the fastest riders. The loathesome part of turn 12 was still haunting him...All his chances for the victory were neutralized at the same point on each lap. In 2016 the “nightmare” continued in rainy conditions. Without confidence, with the fall of 2013 still banging around in his brain, Lorenzo would again finish far behind the leader.
After seven years of “lack of love”, Assen turned its back on Lorenzo. Next weekend Jorge will arrive in Holland still adapting to a difficult Ducati, a combination that on paper does not seem an easy task…We are curious to see what will happen.