For this round the team undertook the long sea crossing between Harwich and Holland before driving onto the circuit at Assen. With the journey over, we were able to unpack and rest for Thursday before the main practice day and meeting started. It was great to be at such a historic track and to experience an international GP track outside of the UK.
Thomas started the weekend with free practise on Friday morning; taking time to learn the track as this was the first time Thomas had ever ridden at Assen. The day was bright and dry with near perfect conditions and Thomas made the most of the session completing 16 laps and finishing in ninth position. He felt really confident and knew he could improve on his position in qualifying.
Qualifying took place later the same day and as expected Thomas made significant improvement in his own lap time, finishing in 6th position for the first race.
Saturday started wet and overcast but as the day went on the track dried out. 40 minutes before the race started a rain cloud moved over the circuit and the team made a quick change over to the wet settings. Thomas headed out and lined up onto the grid, the decision was made to stay on the wet setup as in places it was still too wet, but he knew that by the end it would start to dry. Thomas got an impressive start into the first corner but on the brakes lost grip and was pushed back into 6th place. The rest of the lap went well and Thomas found his rhythm moving quickly through the pack and into 4th place. On the first few laps he struggled with the setup due to the limited practise in those conditions, but pushed hard for the rest of the race and was able to make up time on every lap; unfortunately the chequered flag beat him before he could make up any further positions! The team was very happy with this result for race one and Thomas’ last 3 laps where the fastest he had done during the race which meant he would start 3rd on the grid for race two.
The Sunday warm up session was combined with all the moto3 classes and was earlier in the day; the air temperature had dropped overnight although the conditions were dry and bright. Thomas managed to get out early and complete several laps putting him 12th out of 55 open and standard class riders, and he was the fastest standard rider including the European championship who race at the circuit more often.
Race two started at 11.20am and Thomas was feeling very confident that he could put in a good performance at Assen. The bike was performing well since the unlucky performance at Donnington and Thomas really felt at home at this GP track. The weather was still cold and the riders only had one warm up lap before the start. Once again Thomas managed a super start leading into the first corner and around the arena complex section. Unfortunately at turn 5, Thomas pushing hard, lost the front end and crashed out whilst in the lead. It was a very unlucky finish to an otherwise enjoyable weekend meeting.
Thomas would like to thank all his supporters and team for the help in getting him to Assen. We would also like to thank Chris and Mark from TDA and their family and friends for coming to support the team.Thomas’ thoughts after round eleven:
“Assen for me was one of the best weekends of the season, I absolutely loved the circuit, and the way the bike ran at the circuit. The weekend started a bit slower than I would’ve liked but by the end of the weekend it was much better; finishing first in the standard class during warm up, and then leading on the first lap of the race. I’m really looking forward to the last round at Brands Hatch, as it’s a circuit I enjoy and have gone well at. Thank you to everyone that has supported me this year including the TS25 Supporters club members!”
Photo credits to Bonnie Lane photography