Carl Fogarty will bid an emotional farewell his favourite section of race track after his Foggy PETRONAS Racing team have competed at this weekend's ninth round of the Superbike World Championship.
The famous Northern Loop of the Dutch circuit will disappear after Sunday's two races in order to shorten the laps and provide more thrills for the tens of thousands of spectators who flock to the event every year.
But Foggy, who still holds the record for race wins at any one circuit with 15 at Assen, will be disappointed to see the fast and flowing section of the 6.027km track make way for a theme park and extra car parking.
He said: "I can understand why they are doing it but it will spoil the track from a rider's point of view. That was my favourite section of my favourite track in the world. I used to love those first few 'ballsy' corners. As soon as you let go of the brakes you were straight on the gas because the banking helped you hold the line. I am hoping that the handling of our bike will allow our riders to do a nice lap around Assen, but they might find themselves held up through the corners again."
Steve Martin and Garry McCoy will also be faced with a slightly different lay-out for this year's races, with two minor modifications to the back straight having been made in advance of the radical redevelopment.
Both Australians are hoping to build on recent set-up development and improvements to the electrical management system of the PETRONAS FP1 as the season enters its final four rounds.
Steve said: "I normally go well at Assen and finished seventh in the first race last year after starting 16th on the grid, having crashed in Superpole. I have learned that our prospects depend on a few factors, one of which is grip. If there is not too much grip then we should do okay. I am also sure that we made some changes at Brands that will help us cure the chatter problem at other circuits, so I can't wait to get back on the bike and put that to the test. There have been some minor changes to the back straight section but it is such a fast, flowing and long circuit that I do not think they will have too much effect on the characteristics of the track."
Garry said: "I've always liked Assen as it's just a great riders' track. It's very fast and long and you can really get into it. For me the key corner is the last chicane. You need to be completely on the right spot to get through it as fast as possible onto the start-finish straight. I haven't had much luck at this track but my best moment was in 1997, racing in the 125cc GP. I was leading the race and I thought the victory was mine, until the bike had an electrical problem and I had to retire from the race. So Rossi won that one!"
Circuit information: Assen, Netherlands;
- Best lap: Frankie Chili 2:00.874 (Superpole 2003)
- Lap record (race): Colin Edwards 2:02.395 (2002)
- Fastest FPR lap on Pirelli (race): Troy Corser 2:05.541 (race 2, 2004)
- Fastest FPR lap on Pirelli (qual): Troy Corser 2:04.570 (2nd free practice, 2004)
- Pole position: Left
- Circuit length: 6.027km
- Corners: 6 left, 11 right
- Corner radius: 175m maximum, 10m minimum
- Maximum slope: 0 per cent