2012 Assen MotoGP PracticeYamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies was quickest Thursday during the first day of practice for the Iveco TT Assen, the same circuit where the American earned his maiden premier-class MotoGP victory last year.
During the second and final practice of the day, Spies posted a quickest lap of 1:34.866. The Yamaha team reports that ran some of the session on race-spec hard tires, but switched over to soft towards the end of the season when he posted the quickest lap.Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Today was a good day, both this morning and this afternoon. In the second session we did almost race distance on the tires in case it rains tomorrow to be ready for Saturday. We had quick times and then tried the soft tire at the end of the session and were able to put down some quick laps with over race distance on the front tire. 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.”But Spies wasn’t the only fast rider out on the Assen circuit Thursday; the top 11 MotoGP riders were all within a half-second of Spies.Closest to Spies was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, who continues to recover from a broken left ankle sustained at the last MotoGP round in Silverstone. The Brit was 0.006 of a second behind Spies.Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “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 tires 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.”Further back in third was Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden. The American, who has had positive dry results all season aboard the GP12, trailed Spies by 0.102 of a second.Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “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 tire for the entire session, and I was able to improve the rhythm in the last exit, with a tire 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.”Fourth quickest went to San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Baustia. The Spaniard continues to show strenght on the satellite Honda RC213V, the machine he earned his maiden pole on at Silverstone.Fifth went to Spies teammate, the 2010 MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard, who led the first free practice on Thursday, struggled at the final sector of the Assen circuit, and also didn’t switch to softer tires. With the hard tires, Lorenzo focused on race pace.The top Repsol Honda was the RC213V piloted by Dani Pedrosa, who was followed by his teammate Casey Stoner. The reigning champion Stoner wasn’t able to post a quick lap with the softer tire compound.Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who is looking to make amends for his crash in the last race, took the eighth-quickest time, followed by Ducati’s Team Valentino Rossi. The nine-time World Champion showed improvement as the day progressed, but he couldn’t match the pace of his teammate Hayden. Both Ducati Team riders also said the GP12 quickly lacked rear grip, so the team and riders will work towards a solution ahead of Saturday’s MotoGP.Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá finished the practice in tenth, after recovering from a crash early in the session. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró put in a solid performance to finish as top CRT machine, ahead of his teammate Randy de Puniet, MotoGP says.2012 Assen MotoGP Free Practice Two Results: