Honda leads the way to the classic Dutch TT at Assen on Saturday, with Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez aiming for his eighth straight win in eight races, and a further extension to his ever-growing championship lead.
Already the youngest-ever premier-class World Champion after his maiden victory last year, the former 125cc and Moto2 title-holder has been in dominant form on the class-leading 1000cc V4 Honda RC213V prototype over the first third of the season, winning every race, from pole position.
Two weeks ago at Catalunya he missed out on pole, but still added a seventh victory, under severe pressure from his three main rivals.
The strongest push came from his team-mate Dani Pedrosa, attacking so fiercely in a last-lap showdown that he actually touched Marquez‰Ûªs back wheel and was forced to run wide ‰ÛÒ ceding second place to Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).
The pair are closely engaged also for second place in the championship standings. Rossi‰Ûªs team-mate Jorge Lorenzo eventually fell out of touch, finishing fourth.
Marquez‰Ûªs win was a landmark for Honda‰Ûªs series of V5 and V4 RCV MotoGP machines ‰ÛÒ the 100th victory since the four-stroke series began in 2002. The nearest rival is Yamaha, with 79 wins.
The 21-year-old from Cervera, Spain has a strong record at Assen: winning in 2011 and 2012 in the Moto2 class, as well as in 2010 on a 125. Last year he qualified and finished second, in spite of foot and finger fractures sustained in a practice crash.
‰ÛÏWe are still enjoying a really good momentum but we know it can‰Ûªt go on forever!" Marquez admitted. "I really like Assen and have had some good results in the lower categories, and last year we took second in my first visit there on the MotoGP machine.
"The weather is always unpredictable there so we will, as always, work hard from the first session to find a good setup.‰Û