The Dutch TT at Assen is always a special event on the GP calendar and has been part of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup since its inception in 2007. In the last three years the eventual Cup champion has won at least one of the two races at the famous circuit.
This time it is 17-year-old Czech Karel Hanika who heads the points table going into race 5 of the 14 race season and while he has only won a single race, the second in the opening weekend in Austin, his string of three second places puts him clear of the his nearest rival, Jorge Martin, by 28 points.
It can all change
Nothing is predictable in Rookies Cup though and a slightest error by Hanika will be seized upon not only by Martin but by Bradley Ray who is a single point astern of the 15-year-old Spaniard and by Toprak Razgatlıoğlu who is a further three behind the 16-year-old Briton.
Both Ray and Martin have already won races this year as has Enea Bastianini, the 15-year-old Italian, who is fifth in the standings. He is another four points behind Turkish 16-year-old Razgatlıoğlu and arguably the man on a charge as his results have gone 15th, 9th, 3rd, 1st through the opening four races and he, like Razgatlıoğlu, is in his first season. Both are learning fast.
Sixth in the table is Scott Deroue. The 17-year-old Dutchman has had, by his standards, a disappointing season so far, 6th, 7th, 9th and 7th when last year he spent his time on or near the podium, won 3 races and finished second in the season's standings.
He is racing at home of course and that will add to the pressure but he is brim full of confidence having dominated the German Moto3 Championship round at Oschersleben with victories in both races. Just the platform from which to turn his Rookies season around.
As is tradition, the weekend starts early in Assen with practice and qualifying on Thursday.
Race 1 is on Friday at 16.30 and on Saturday Race 2 lights up the day of Grand Prix action at the unusual time of 10.25 in the morning, a great way to start the day of World Championship drama.
Communication Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup -www.redbullrookiescup.com-