Dani Pedrosa will arrive in Assen for this week's Dutch TT, leading the Championship after six rounds of the 2013 season. His teammate, Marc Marquez, is 3rd after another impressive podium finish in Catalunya just 9 days ago.
A favourite for the fans and for the riders, Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949. Both Repsol Honda riders have enjoyed good results in Assen with Dani taking seven podium finishes there including a victory in 2002 (125cc). Marc has a fantastic recent history at the circuit having won in 2012 (Moto2), 2011 (Moto2) and also in 2010 (125cc).
Last week, Honda Racing Corporation tested their new 2014 prototype machine in Aragon. The bike has been introduced earlier than normal due to the absence of the usual Brno post-race test after the Summer break. If the team had waited until the Misano test (16th September) it would be too late to make any big changes as a result of the feedback from factory riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez.
The test was positive and both Dani and Marc had similar comments about the 2014 RC213V, as did LCR's Stefan Bradl. As well as normal upgrades to the bike, HRC have had to target specific regulation changes such as a smaller fuel tank for 2014 (by 1 litre), in addition to other areas that the factory riders have requested be developed.
Both riders have chosen not to use this new evolution immediately, as they are happy with the current bike, leaving HRC some time to perfect the new prototype and allowing the riders to concentrate on their current programme and fight for the World Championship.
The race weekend in Assen begins on Thursday with Qualifying on Friday and the race on Saturday, as it was originally frowned upon for the race to be hosted on Sunday for religious reasons.