Back with a bang: buckle up as MotoGP™ returns at Assen

75 years of history, 4.54km of awesome: the world’s most exciting sport arrives at the Cathedral

Have there ever been so many talking points created off track in such a short space of time? Despite three weekends off, MotoGP™ has been making headlines since the Mugello Test, when 6pm local time saw the first bombshell rider announcement of the season drop: Jorge Martin moves from Prima Pramac Racing to Aprilia Racing from 2025. That made it fairly clear who was going to be announced alongside reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia at Ducati Lenovo Team, and sure enough it was confirmed not too long thereafter: Marc Marquez will move from Gresini Racing MotoGP™ to the factory team. We’ll leave the debate about whether that was the concrete plan before 6pm on Monday at Mugello to the rumour mill.

There was then a détente in the rush to win announcement roulette before KTM came out with their big reveal for 2025. The rumour of Enea Bastianini’s move from alongside Bagnaia to Austrian machinery was true. But the rumour of who would be his teammate had not even begun as KTM managed to keep their full line-up under wraps, and it was another bombshell: Maverick Viñales will join a newly orange Red Bull KTM Tech3 squad alongside the ‘Beast’.

Now, we know who will replace him at Aprilia: Marco Bezzecchi, moving from Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team. The dominoes are falling into their own fascinating jigsaw, but that’s all 2025. This season, there remains a Championship to win. 13 Grands Prix, 13 Tissot Sprints and a maximum of 481 points still await the world’s most exciting sport in 2024 and we get back on track with a back-to-back line-up of two classics, starting with the TT Circuit Assen.

As MotoGP™ celebrates our 75th anniversary, Assen celebrates its 75th Grand Prix as it’s been on the calendar every year since 1949 barring one gap in 2020. But heritage isn’t a throwback at the Cathedral, it lives alongside what’s often one of the most spectacular race weekends of the season, and there’s even more to race for as everyone rolls out.

Bagnaia, winner of the last two and superfan of the venue, wants to rule both for the points and to make one as his 2025 teammate is confirmed. Martin, with only one Moto3™ win at the venue so far, wants to show even more. That the track doesn’t matter, that his speed and consistency are there. Maybe that his decisions for the future are backed by both. Marc Marquez, having somewhat made a point already, is still missing that Grand Prix win in 2024 too. Can he take that at Assen, one of Bagnaia’s most coveted top steps? With the three riders covered by 35 points, these two weekends are tantalising as the form book for Assen doesn’t much resemble that for Germany.

Then there’s Bastianini, only 57 off the top, and that could be less barring his adventures garnering attention from the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards at Le Mans and Barcelona, including his one-man insurrection there that dropped him outside the points. Mugello’s last lap, last corner move on Martin, however, shows what he’s got when the cards fall right. Viñales, meanwhile, is a master of Assen. His CV at the venue is one of the best on the grid and his form in 2024 strong. Can he get back into the podium fight and revive some COTA BatMav?

Teammate Aleix Espargaro has form at Assen too, including a podium last year as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) got done for track limits and the Aprilia was promoted. Espargaro has also pulled off that stunning two-for-one on Binder and now-teammate Jack Miller at the final chicane within recent memory. Binder, track limits aside, had podium pace too, and Miller – now on the market for 2025 – has fair form at Assen including his historic first MotoGP™ win in the rain in 2016.

Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3), now confirmed in orange next season, will want to get back in the podium battle, and his teammate Augusto Fernandez will hope Assen – where he won his first Grand Prix, in Moto2™, and which is one of his favourite tracks – helps his luck to turn. After a much tougher run of late, Bezzecchi will be looking for a turnaround too. Last year here he won the Sprint to deny Bagnaia the chance at the double, and even if the eventual Champion took the spoils on Sunday, Bezzecchi wasn’t too far behind for an impressive podium.

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team), meanwhile, is quietly impressing as he keeps the upper hand on a fair few fellow GP23 riders, and he’ll want to continue doing that. Bezzecchi and Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) are looking to put a stop to it. Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) is on his own mission, with the speed now there more often than not, but more points-paying finishes on the menu.

At Trackhouse Racing, the rumour mills remain full steam ahead, but Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez have to maximise the weekend regardless. Fernandez’ 2024 is showing flashes of what we’ve been waiting for since his promotion to the premier class, including that impressive Sprint lead a few races ago, but he’ll want more, and Oliveira wants to stamp some authority back on the dynamic.

Those rumour mills still abound at Honda, too. Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) is now in the spotlight there, with the 2020 Champion seemingly a big piece of the remaining puzzle. Still, on track the mission remains simple: move forward. Teammate Luca Marini, already signed up and with no market stress, joins him in that, and likewise Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR) on both counts. Meanwhile Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda LCR) is quietly impressing in the battle there, and he's also a former Moto2™ winner at Assen.

At Yamaha, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) will be hoping Assen – where last year his speed was impressive – will help give their mission back to the front a boost, and his own record at the venue is a good one, too. He’s also out the shop window, head down and focused on the mission in hand. Alex Rins, meanwhile, remains on the hunt for more points in a difficult season as Yamaha look to rebuild into frontrunners, but reports from the Iwata marque's recent test were very positive.

The headlines off track will keep us talking as we head into the weekend, but once the action starts we know Assen will grab the spotlight back for the stunning racing promised at the Cathedral. So don’t miss it, with the Championship poised for more twists, the rumour mill still going strong, and the longest-serving venue on the calendar primed to serve up another classic.