Assen MotoGP: Thursday Bridgestone Report

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2012 MotoGP Championship Analysis

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies continued his affinity with the Assen circuit to set a blistering time of 1:34.866 in Free Practice Two and finish fastest on what was an incredibly close day of competition.

In an FP2 session that saw the top eleven riders set times within 0.471 seconds of each other, Spies used the combination of the harder front and softer rear slick to set the fastest time of the day to finish 0.006s ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, while Ducati’s Nicky Hayden was third fastest overall.

The CRT riders also showed impressive pace today with Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro fastest today in 12th overall and just 1.749 seconds off Spies’ benchmark time.

Weather conditions today at Assen were fine and warm, with the sun shining for most of the day and track temperatures reaching a peak of 30°C in FP1 before rising to 43°C in FP2.

The warmer than expected temperatures resulted in riders preferring to go with the harder option slicks today, though many riders used the combination of the softer rear and harder front to set their fast lap times at the end of FP2. As there is a good chance of overnight rain and cloud cover affecting tomorrow morning’s practice session, the softer slick options may be more widely used tomorrow.

MotoGP action resumes at 1010 local time Friday (GMT +2) for Free Practice 3, with the one hour qualifying session starting at 1355.

Shinichi Yamashita
(General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department) says: “Today’s warm conditions allowed riders to take to the track with a fast pace right from the beginning as grip levels were quite good. As warm-up performance wasn’t such an important consideration today, most riders preferred to use the harder front slick tire as corner stability at a circuit like Assen is very important.

“The flowing nature of this circuit and the favorable track conditions were perhaps the reason why today’s lap times were so close and the signs are good for a highly entertaining race on Saturday. With track conditions being so good today, hopefully we don’t get too much rain overnight though we anticipated unsettled weather when selecting our tires for this race to ensure maximum rider safety in any weather condition.”

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium-Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tire compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 22-28°C; Track 27-43°C (Bridgestone measurement)