Assen MotoGP: Spies Finds Speed Thursday

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2012 Assen MotoGP Practice

Yamaha 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:

os. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 299.1 1’34.866
2. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 297.4 1’34.872 0.006 / 0.006
3. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 297.7 1’34.968 0.102 / 0.096
4. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 302.2 1’35.008 0.142 / 0.040
5. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 299.6 1’35.057 0.191 / 0.049
6. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 303.5 1’35.080 0.214 / 0.023
7. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 302.3 1’35.257 0.391 / 0.177
8. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 300.8 1’35.296 0.430 / 0.039
9. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 302.7 1’35.298 0.432 / 0.002
10. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 301.4 1’35.304 0.438 / 0.006
11. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 302.9 1’35.337 0.471 / 0.033
12. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 282.4 1’36.615 1.749 / 1.278
13. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 281.2 1’36.871 2.005 / 0.256
14. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 282.4 1’37.057 2.191 / 0.186
15. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 281.3 1’37.572 2.706 / 0.515
16. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 300.0 1’37.628 2.762 / 0.056
17. 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 285.5 1’37.657 2.791 / 0.029
18. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 282.1 1’37.669 2.803 / 0.012
19. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 283.8 1’37.973 3.107 / 0.304
20. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 281.7 1’38.279 3.413 / 0.306
21. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 266.1 1’38.373 3.507 / 0.094

2012 Assen MotoGP Free Practice One Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 297.9 1’35.106
2. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 304.2 1’35.126 0.020 / 0.020
3. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 302.4 1’35.181 0.075 / 0.055
4. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 297.4 1’35.555 0.449 / 0.374
5. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 296.3 1’35.841 0.735 / 0.286
6. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 300.3 1’35.867 0.761 / 0.026
7. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 301.8 1’35.970 0.864 / 0.103
8. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 299.8 1’35.995 0.889 / 0.025
9. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 298.8 1’36.031 0.925 / 0.036
10. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 300.3 1’36.084 0.978 / 0.053
11. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 300.1 1’36.737 1.631 / 0.653
12. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 283.1 1’37.187 2.081 / 0.450
13. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 279.9 1’37.365 2.259 / 0.178
14. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 281.7 1’37.771 2.665 / 0.406
15. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 297.9 1’37.850 2.744 / 0.079
16. 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 283.5 1’38.642 3.536 / 0.792
17. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 279.4 1’38.649 3.543 / 0.007
18. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 282.4 1’39.076 3.970 / 0.427
19. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 264.9 1’39.385 4.279 / 0.309
20. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 281.7 1’39.495 4.389 / 0.110
21. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 280.8 1’39.530 4.424 / 0.035