MotoGP stars Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden, Hiroshi Aoyama and Colin Edwards were the five riders chosen to air their opinions in the Assen pre-event press conference on Wednesday.
Thanks to his fourth victory of the season - and third in a row - at the previous Silverstone round, Stoner was the first rider to speak and the current championship leader began proceedings by discussing his excellent form.
“The early part of the season was a bit up and down but the last few races have been amazing and everything has worked out really well,” said the Repsol Honda rider. “The last win at Silverstone was definitely the most cherished one, because it was very difficult with the tough conditions, so to come away with the win and Championship lead was perfect for us.”
Stoner, who for the past four seasons has stood on the podium at Assen, continued: “We don't just expect that form to continue, we know we have to continue to work hard. Everything's worked so well for us so far, but that can change at any moment so we need to stay focused and see what we can do this weekend. From our past record at this track I think we can hope to be running at the front. We've had some really good success, and hopefully we can take it to try and get another podium this weekend.”
Lorenzo is eager to bounce back from his first DNF of the season at Silverstone, a result which brought to an end an incredible 25-race sequence of never finishing outside the top four and which saw him surrender the lead of the 2011 standings to Stoner.
“In Silverstone I made a mistake and couldn't finish the race, it was a long run of finishing in the top four but now the record is over and we have to look to the future,” said the reigning World Champion, who won last year's Assen race.
“I think that we now have less pressure and can push a little bit more. Of course I don't want to crash or get injured and lose second position. I have good memories at this track from all categories, so it's maybe my favourite track and it's great to be here. You have to be so smooth through the corners and I think I'll be very comfortable here.”
Lorenzo is confident that the steps taken in the previous rounds with his Factory Yamaha M1 can continue at Assen. “Over the past few races we have made some changes, and have improved by a few tenths so my confidence on the bike is rising, so let's see if we can be closer sooner here than at the previous tracks.”
Lorenzo and team-mate Ben Spies will race in a special red and white livery this weekend.
Hayden, the most recent Honda Assen race winner (in 2006), was also in attendance. The present Ducati rider will run with an updated Desmosedici chassis this weekend, but won't have the full 'GP11.1' that team-mate Valentino Rossi will use.