A new era of the MotoGP eSport Championship is already underway as the second Online Challenge of the WINDTRE Rising Stars Series started on Thursday, as a host of new gaming talent attempts to qualify for the regional finals.
The technical, highly complex Assen circuit awaits any challengers, who must use 2019 rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo’s Petronas SRT Yamaha to set the fastest possible time at this historic venue.
Hosting its first world championship event in 1949, the year of the MotoGP championship’s inception, Assen would go onto become a regular fixture on every calendar since. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Dutch venue doesn’t feature on the 2020 calendar – a first in 71 years.
The original layout was based on roads around that particular area of northern Holland, renowned for its fast, flowing bends unique with their flowing camber. Known as ‘The Cathedral’ for its historical significance, the Dutch TT at Assen became the race everyone wanted to win.
The circuit gradually decreased in length, with the current incarnation coming in 2006. Despite being shorter in length than before, it still carries the features that has made it a rider favourite across the board. Few slithers of tarmac test a rider’s bravery – and a bike’s design – than the infamous sector four that includes Hoge Heide and Ramshoek, two of the fastest, scariest corners on the calendar.
It all begins with the run over the start finish line and the fast approach to turn one. Downshift from fifth to second gear, turning in early and carrying plenty of corner speed through the inside apex. Then accelerate hard through turn two and back to fifth gear before turning in for the long turns three and four, to be taken as one. Try to cut off turn four for the short, sharp squirt into turn five (De Strubben), the first gear left hand hairpin that leads onto the back straight.
From there feather the throttle slightly and drop back a gear for turn six, then ease your way through the fast turn seven left. Turn eight (Stekkenwal) should be taken in third gear, with braking done before the corner. Turn in early and accelerate all the way through. Drop down to second gear for turn nine before going back to first for the slow turn ten.
Then the test really starts! Gradually build speed and climb through the gears as you ease through turn eleven. Turn twelve (Meeuwenmeer) should be taken in fifth. Feather the throttle before hand and use the inside apex to power through and get good drive toward the critical Hoge Heide. Drop back from sixth to fifth and drift out wide for turn 15 (Ramshoek) before cutting back to the inside apex. Drop back to first gear for the Geert Timmer Bocht chicane but keep your momentum all the way to the finish line.