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Riders open to Assen MotoGP race day change

27 June 2012

It seems there would be little objection from MotoGP riders if the Dutch TT at Assen switched from its traditional Saturday race to a Sunday.

Assen is the only survivor from the inaugural 1949 World Championship calendar and the event continues to be held on the last Saturday in June, Sunday racing having originally been frowned upon for religious reasons.

That could change in the near future, as the event considers ways to attract the maximum number of fans by switching to a normal Sunday race.

“I don't really care,” said Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow. “Tradition or not. They changed the circuit so they should change the date!”

Ducati's Nicky Hayden felt the change should be made if it helps viewing figures.

“Things change. Sure it [the Saturday race] has been a tradition, but if it's better for the fans and people at home watching - if it's easier for the viewers - then let's change it [to Sunday] and have the most eyes on race day as possible.”

Some other riders questioned were happy to stick with Saturday, but admitted to having ulterior motives.

“I say leave it on Saturday - it doesn't bother me anymore after this year!” joked world champion Casey Stoner, retiring at the end of 2012. “Maybe do four back-to-back races [next year] with this one in the middle!”

Gresini Honda rider Michele Pirro's objection was also for personal reasons. “When the race is Saturday, then on Sunday I go to the beach,” he smiled.

Motorcycle racing started on the roads surrounding Assen in 1925 and, apart from a break in the Second World War, has continued ever since.

The circuit has changed considerably during that time, the most recent major alternation occurring for 2006, when the Northern Loop was removed and replaced with a twisty stadium-type section at the start of the lap - the change which Crutchlow was referring to.

Assen is the only event on the present MotoGP calendar not to race on Sunday, although the Qatar round was also held on a Saturday from 2004-2007, after which it became a (Sunday) night race.

The Assen WSBK round takes place on a Sunday.



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