The teams have arrived at the TT Circuit Assen and are gearing up for the 8th round of the 2019 season. Last year we saw a familiar face at the top of the podium, Repsol Honda rider, Marc Marquez. Heading into the weekend with a 37 point lead over Andrea Dovizioso, Marc is on the brink of taking off in the rankings as he did last year.
One factor that is often overlooked during race week is the Queen herself, Mother Nature. Not only does the weather play a major role in tire choice, but it also affects a rider’s stamina, confidence and plan of attack going into the race.
The past three years at the TT Circuit Assen have fluctuated greatly in regards to weather. This weekend is predicted to mirror the 2018 race conditions with steeper temperatures and clear skies. The 2018 race day presented mild air conditions (roughly 74 degrees fahrenheit) with considerably high circuit temperatures falling around 104 F. A 30 degree difference is a pretty significant swing from air to ground temperature and it is likely that we will see a repeat of these conditions this weekend.
Free practice Friday is predicted to be the coolest of the three days at 70 degrees F. with clear skies. Fast-forward to Saturday qualifying, we can expect a 10 degree jump in air temperature with partly cloudy skies. Mellowing out on Sunday, race conditions are predicted to be clear skies with air temperature falling around 75 degrees F.
Due to mostly clear skies throughout the weekend, we can expect high circuit temperatures as the incoming solar radiation from the sun has a direct path to the asphalt. Although the air temperatures may feel mild, the circuit will absorb this insolation throughout the day and release energy (heat) to maintain an energy balance with the atmosphere.
Preserving tires will be key in Sunday’s race and choosing the right compound will make or break a rider. Last year the top finishers all had slick-medium in front paired with either a slick-hard or slick-soft on the back.
First half of the race: Nurse your tires. Preserve your bike and energy. Utilize your predator instincts to study your opponents.
Second half of the race: Execute your plan of attack to pick off your leading opponents. Do not abuse the tire you have left but push harder than those who have less.