BEN SPIES (1st – Yamaha Factory Racing): “Today was a good day, both this morning and this afternoon. In the second session we did almost race distance on the tyres in case it rains tomorrow to be ready for Saturday. We had quick times and then tried the soft tyre at the end of the session and were able to put down some quick laps with over race distance on the front tyre. The bike feels good so we’re going to continue on this path and try to make the bike even better for tomorrow and Saturday”.
CAL CRUTCHLOW (2nd – Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “I am happy to be second quickest considering my physical condition is certainly still not the best after the crash at Silverstone. This morning was a bit of a shock to be honest because although I have been able to do a bit of cycling at home on the Isle of Man as part of the recovery, it definitely wasn’t easy. There was quite a bit of pain with the ankle this morning and it took me longer than normal to get into a rhythm. But overall I am really pleased to be second because I am still quite sore. I am sure it is going to get better the more time I spend on the bike but I had arm pump this morning too because I was compensating for the ankle. But this afternoon it wasn’t an issue at all. I tried the hard and soft rear tyres and felt good on both so we have done a good job as always. The target for this weekend was to try and be inside the top six throughout and I’ve done that today. My ideal time was actually fastest so that is a really big positive and gives me a good boost to take into tomorrow”.
NICKY HAYDEN (3rd – Ducati Team): “I really like the Assen track, and the weather was perfect today. The team had some good ideas, and we tried a couple of things. I enjoyed riding the bike, and the day went pretty well. This morning we used the hard tyre for the entire session, and I was able to improve the rhythm in the last exit, with a tyre that had quite a few laps on it. This afternoon we didn’t make any big adjustments because the bike is working pretty well at the moment. Tomorrow we’re going to work on making the bike better at changing direction, and we’ll keep trying to make it better for race distance”.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (4th – San Carlo Honda Gresini): “It has been a positive first day, which was important for me because this is my first time here with this bike and I don’t have great memories of this track in MotoGP. It was like riding a completely new circuit for me this morning and we also had a setting in the bike that I didn’t like so much, so in the afternoon we went back a step with the setting and tried the harder tyre. We had to work on the bike a little bit because it was moving around in corner exit and we also made some improvements to the handling. We have work to do but I am happy with the start we made today”.
JORGE LORENZO (5th – Yamaha Factory Racing): “The feeling is pretty good with the bike, we started in a good way this morning and were fastest. In the afternoon we were fastest for most of the session but finally the riders who switched to soft tyres went in front of me. We concentrated on improving the pace with a race tyre and I think we succeeded. We have a good package and I’m confident with the bike which is important”.
DANI PEDROSA (6th – Repsol Honda): “It’s been very good to have these temperatures in Assen and it really helps us to take profit of both practice sessions to work on the setup of the bike. We tried different things on the chassis to improve our feeling with the front tyre and we did many laps on both tyres, the soft in the morning and the hard in the afternoon. We are pleased with the steps we made today and I think we have a good basic setting to keep improving tomorrow”.
CASEY STONER (7th – Repsol Honda): “We tried a few things with the bike but weren’t really happy with them. We tested another chassis but haven’t found many positives with it yet, in the morning if felt like we had slightly less chatter in the front, then this afternoon no real benefit, perhaps a little worse. Everything we’re doing, trying to reduce the chatter is just making the bike difficult to ride. We’re going to have to rethink things again and come out fresh tomorrow. I’m not too worried about finding the pace, it was just a little bit disappointing this afternoon”.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (8th – Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “The characteristics of this track means the lap times look very close but if you look at the tyres some were using then it is easier to understand who is really fast for race pace. Obviously I would have liked to be higher up than eighth but I am not unhappy with my race pace. I am quite fast but I can improve the setting of the bike, particularly the front-end. I don’t have the stability like normal and that means I don’t have a comfortable feeling entering the corner and I can’t be as aggressive as I’d like. But I am only 0.3s away from the fastest pace, so it is not such a big gap to close to the front and I am confident I will be higher up the order tomorrow”.
VALENTINO ROSSI (9th – Ducati Team): “Today went pretty well, especially in the afternoon. I’m eighth, but the gap to the front is only four tenths, which is a decent step forward for us. Now the bike works well with new tyres, but we have to keep working on our race pace. Both Nicky and I start sliding a lot when the tyre is worn, so we have to slow down too much compared to the others. Tomorrow, in order to be more consistent and improve the pace, we must try to improve rear grip without losing it at the front. Anyway, today wasn’t a bad start”.
HECTOR BARBERA (10th – Pramac Racing): “It was a satisfying day for us. In the morning session I had a good setup on my Ducati Desmosedici and I was able to finish in 7th place. Unfortunately during the second free practice, I made a mistake at the entrance of a corner while I was changing gear and I crashed out. This made us change our initial plans because we lost some time fixing the second bike. Despite this small hitch I’m confident with my crew’s work, and I know that we can have a better qualifying day tomorrow”.
STEFAN BRADL (11th – LCR Honda): “This morning we have struggled a lot with the bike and we were far away from our perfect set up and at the end of the first session I was a bit worried. I had no idea of what we should improve to be back in our standard shape. But in the second outing we made a good progression gaining much more confidence. The bike was easier to ride but I must improve on section one which is the main issue at the moment. If you look at the classification we are only 11th but if you check the lap times we are very close to the top ten”.
ALEIX ESPARGARO (12th – Power Electronics Aspar Team): “We have improved at every race this season and the bike is getting easier and easier to ride. I really like this track and we’ve hardly touched the set-up from Silverstone, I feel at one with the bike and we were able to push hard today and close the gap to the factory bikes. This is a bold statement but I think we’re getting close to finding the limit of this bike and it is going to be difficult to get more out of it. I spent three laps behind Bradl and Valentino and was barely conceding three tenths a lap to them. The chassis on the ART is magnificent, we’re just struggling for power”.
RANDY DE PUNIET (13th – Power Electronics Aspar Team): “We have tried some different chassis settings today working from the base set-up and it seems like the results were positive this morning. We tried some more things this afternoon to improve the rear traction especially when the tyre begins to wear. We improved both the rear and the front but lost a little bit in turning so I need to adjust to that but in general I am happy because we’re working in the right way. My fastest lap was on the hard tyre so we’re happy with that but as always we need to keep working”.
MICHELE PIRRO (14th – San Carlo Honda Gresini): “Today provided further confirmation of the progress we are making every time we go on the track and now we are very close to being able to show our full potential. As always I have great faith in the team and they are helping me find those few tenths to join the fight with Espargarò and De Puniet. We are getting closer and I am sure we’ll be there soon”.
KAREL ABRAHAM (16th – Cardion AB Motoracing): “I started the first practice session hoping that the hand wouldn’t hurt too much, but I entered the pits after three laps, it was unthinkable to continue. We were running to clinic immediately [for a painkilling injection] and it helped a little and I was able to get back on track, but I needed another injection before afternoon practice. After the injections I didn’t feel the pain so much, but the hand is less sensitive and I haven’t enough strength to handle. Naturally this is affecting the results. We will try to ride again tomorrow and hope that it won’t be worse”.
MATTIA PASINI (17th – Speed Master): “I can say I’m satisfied with this first two sessions. In the morning, we got out on the track with a bike that was quite different from the setting we used from the beginning of the championship till Silverstone. We worked on the information we gathered in the last six races, and that was a good start. I really like the bike now, we still have to improve it, but this is a nice starting point and we have some margin to work on. It was a good session, even if we didn’t really get to focus on the lap time. We maintained a good consistency and now we’ll keep working for tomorrow and in particular for Sunday”.
Sincerely, Eduard Ballús