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Aussie watch ahead of the 2024 Dutch TT MotoGP™

Matt Clayton
Thursday, 27 June 2024

There’s been three weeks – and approximately 3000 headlines – since the most recent MotoGP™ event in Italy; what does one of the sport’s signature circuits at Assen have in store for round eight this weekend?

A three-week break between the most recent race in Italy and this weekend’s Dutch TT (June 28-30) meant not a lot happened in MotoGP™, right? Um … The volatility in the rider market around Mugello always suggested there could be some shake-ups coming, but the resumption of on-track activity this weekend means we finally get a distraction from the madness off it. 

The wash-up: five of the top six riders in the standings cemented deals with new teams for 2025 either side of Mugello, and the ripple effects of Marc Marquez’s power play to form a super team at the factory Ducati squad alongside Pecco Bagnaia are still being felt. What’s delicious in prospect is what all those moves do for the rest of this season, which still has 65 per cent of its calendar to come.

Secure your tickets to the Qatar Airways Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2024 today!

The first of those 13 stops comes at Assen, one of the sport’s signature tracks that has held a race in 74 of the 75 years of the world championship. Fast, flowing and packed with passionate fans, this is one of the highlights of any season, let alone one as close as this and with as many storylines bubbling beneath the surface.

What to watch? We’ve got you covered.

Miller’s memories amidst uncertainty

Jack Miller has had the same warm feeling every time he’s come to Assen since 2016, where – from 18th on the grid and with odds of 1000-1 from the bookies – he took one of the more remarkable wins in the MotoGP™ era, and a maiden success that will never be forgotten for its sheer absurdity. 

The Australian’s results in the Netherlands since haven’t come close to replicating that special day eight years ago – a pair of sixth-place finishes is as good as it’s got. But he’d sign up for that points haul if it was offered this weekend as he attempts to secure his future, which became uncertain when KTM predictably promoted Pedro Acosta to the factory team for 2025 in his place at Mugello, and surprisingly signed Enea Bastianini and Maverick Vinales to its Tech3 squad currently running under the GasGas banner a week later. 

There’s still spots open on the 2025 grid, and stretching his world championship tenure to an 11th season remains Miller’s focus for the time being. A chance to get on track and leave the chatter (temporarily) behind will be as welcomed as it is important.


High hopes for Moto3™ duo

The 2024 season has been one of learning fast for Jacob Roulstone, the Moto3™ debutant the leading rookie in the championship after seven rounds with 42 points to sit 10th overall in the standings for GasGas Tech3. The 19-year-old will be confident of climbing higher this week, too; last year, in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, Roulstone took one of two podiums for the season at Assen with third in the second race. 

Joel Kelso also has form to draw upon in the Netherlands; last year, Kelso qualified a career-best second before finishing ninth. Kelso, who turned 21 on June 12, has tailed off a bit after a superb start to 2024, managing 13th and 12th in Le Mans and Mugello either side of a DNF in Catalunya to sit seventh overall for BOE Motorsports. 

The other feeder-class Aussie on the grid, Senna Agius in Moto2™, came back to earth with a thud after a career-best fifth in Catalunya, struggling to a season-worst 17th on his first visit to Mugello last time out. Intact GP team manager Jurgen Lingg wasn’t perturbed though, commenting after Italy that “Senna and his crew are doing a great job, and I think he'll be back with good results soon.” Assen awaits …


Binder under the microscope

With Miller’s ousting, Acosta’s promotion and the signings of Bastianini from Ducati and Vinales from Aprilia in the last three weeks, KTM has been in the news … but it’s the rider who spearheaded their 2023 season who is now in the spotlight. 

Brad Binder has comfortably had Miller’s measure again this season – the South African has 85 points to the Australian’s 27 to sit nine places higher in the standings (seventh to 16th), but it’s what Acosta has done on the RC16 machine that has paddock insiders wondering if the rookie is now raising the ceiling of the bike in a way Binder hasn’t. 

A first point of order for Binder will be to stay within the lines defining the circuit this weekend; last year, the KTM rider lost a podium in the Sprint after a three-second time penalty for a track limits infringement that dropped him to fifth, and did it again 24 hours later in the Grand Prix proper, losing third after running ever-so slightly wide on the final lap. 

“I feel really sorry for my entire team,” Binder lamented last year; getting anywhere near the podium this weekend will be the best possible payback, and a result he needs to resuscitate a season that has only been so-so after finishing second in Qatar.

Dutch TT MotoGP™ fast facts
Circuit name/location: TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands
Length/laps: 4.54km, 26 laps (MotoGP™), 22 laps (Moto2™), 20 laps (Moto3™)
Grands Prix held/debut: 74, 1949
Most successful rider: Valentino Rossi (eight wins)
2023 podium 1st: Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati), 2nd: Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati), 3rd: Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia)

The 2024 Dutch TT Motorcycle Grand Prix will be available to watch live on Foxtel and Kayo. See our What time does the 2024 Dutch TT MotoGP™ start for Australians? article for timings.