Chris Vermeulen heads to the land of his ancestors looking to beat his previous Dutch TT best of seventh and help secure his MotoGP future.
Vermeulen's fourth season as a Suzuki grand prix rider has so far yielded a best finish of sixth and tenth in the championship standings. His GSV-R seat has already been linked with all three of the leading names for a 2010 MotoGP debut; Marco Simoncelli, Alvaro Bautista and Ben Spies.
As such the former WSS champion, WSBK runner-up and only man to win a four-stroke MotoGP race for Suzuki needs to remind the paddock of his talents to help ensure his GSV-R future, or provoke interest from elsewhere in the pitlane.
"I really look forward to going to Assen. Holland is where my family came from so there are always people around that remember my Grandfather and tell me how they are related to me - so I feel like a bit of me is coming home!” said the Australian, who qualified on pole at Assen in 2007.
“We had a good test after the Catalunya race and if we can translate that into the forthcoming weekend then I am sure we can be competitive. I enjoy riding at Assen and I have won there in World Superbikes, but I have never quite got the results I think I've deserved - or certainly wanted - in MotoGP. I hope this will be the weekend when that all changes," he admitted.
It is not yet clear if Vermeulen and team-mate Loris Capirossi will be able to use the latest engine upgrades this weekend, when Capirossi will be aiming to make his Assen Suzuki race debut after sustaining a right arm injury in practice for the 2008 event.
The experienced Italian is presently eighth in the world championship, with a best finish of fifth, and looking a lot safer in terms of a 2010 GSV-R seat.
"I am still very happy from my performance in Catalunya, but this is a whole new race and we have to begin again,” said Loris after his second fifth position in a row. “We used the new engine specification in Spain and then did a lot of testing with new parts on the Monday so we have a lot of data to use for this weekend.
“We hope we'll use the new spec engine again at Assen but it is still being developed and Suzuki needs to check everything, so we will just have to wait and see.
“I really want to carry on with the good progress we are making, especially at Assen because I didn't get the chance to race there last year. I also want to do well for Rizla - they deserve a good result at what is really their 'home' racetrack."