2016 Assen MotoGP Friday Practice Results

Ducati's Iannone Rules Friday | 2016 Assen MotoGP Practice Results
Ducati’s Andrea Iannone

Due causing a crash that sent both him and Jorge Lorenzo to the ground at Catalunya two weeks ago, Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone is forced to start from the back of the grid for Sunday’s 26-lap MotoGP at the TT Assen Circuit in the Netherlands, known as “The Cathedral” of speed.

But this didn’t slow the Italian GP16 pilot during the Friday’s opening free practices at the 2.82-mile circuit containing 18 corners. Iannone, who joins Alex Rins on the Team Ecstar Suzuki team next season, held off Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso by 0.226 of a second.

Rain threatened for the second and final free practice of Friday, but the track remained dry. But with rain in the forecast for Saturday, all riders were looking to get the most out of the dry situation. And Iannone did just that, leading once again with a quickest lap of 1:33.591 – 0.8 of second quicker than his morning time.

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Yamaha Valentino Rossi at Assen Friday MotoGP
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

“Today’s result is very positive, even though I’m not totally satisfied. It’s true that we are very quick, but I am unable to ride the way I want because when I arrive at the changes of direction, the bike struggles to follow the cornering line and this is penalizing me a lot,” Iannone says.

“I have to work with the guys in the team to try and improve my bike both to become more nimble in this part of the circuit and to improve cornering. If we manage to sort out these issues, we can be very competitive and do a good race, even though I have to start from the last row.”

But it wasn’t a runaway time; following a mere 0.004 of a second behind was the most successful rider of the 21-rider grid at Assen, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi. The nine-time World Champion, who has seven premier-class victories at the Dutch circuit including his last-corner victory over Marc Marquez last season, posted the time while using a new frame on his YZR-M1.

Rossi’s biggest worries were finding some extra grip at Assen with the new Michelin tires, and his quick times proved he is accomplishing this task.

“It was a good day and I‘m quite satisfied. This morning I had a small problem but in the afternoon we improved the setting of the bike and we improved my speed. In the end Iannone just beat me by 0.004s, but I‘m in second place so I‘m quite happy,” Rossi says. “For sure we need to continue to work. With the harder tire for the race it will be a bit more difficult with a higher pace, and four or five riders are very fast. We need to improve but, for a Friday, it was a good performance. We compared the chassis we have tried during the Barcelona test another time. The difference is not so big but in the end I prefer my standard frame. I have more feeling in the front so we will continue with the normal one.”

Earning third quickest, 0.133 of a second behind Iannone, was two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez. Unlike Rossi, who rode with a new frame, Marquez’s bike remains nearly identical to Catalunya except for the use of new winglets. Heading into Assen MotoGP, Marquez has 125 points, 10 ahead of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and 22 ahead of Rossi.

Honda Marc Marquez at Assen MotoGP Friday Practice
Honda’s Marc Marquez

Making for four different manufacturers in the top-four spots, the Team Ecstar Suzuki GSX-RR piloted by Maverick Vinales finished fourth. The Spaniard, who joins Rossi next year on the other factory Yamaha, posted a quickest time of 1:33.982, 0.301 off the top pace.

Vinales was followed by Rossi’s teammate, Lorenzo, who was the final rider to post under the 1:34 mark.

Rounding out the top 10 were Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich). As for Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa finished 11th.

Two riders crashed, but walked away unharmed – Aprilia Racing Team’s Alvaro Bautista crashed twice (turn 3 and 5), finishing 20th, and Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera crashed at turn 3; the Spaniard finished 12th.

The MotoGP grid returns to the Assen TT circuit Saturday for two additional free practice sessions and qualifying. Last season, Rossi qualified ahead of Marquez and Aleix Espargaro.

Photos by Luciano Bianchetto

2016 Assen MotoGP Free Practice Results – Photo Gallery

2016 Assen MotoGP Friday Practice Results

1. A. IANNONE DUCATI TEAM 1’33.591
2. V. ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’33.595
3. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’33.724
4. M. VIÑALES TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’33.892
5. J. LORENZO MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’33.991
6. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI TEAM 1’34.011
7. D. PETRUCCI OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’34.065
8. A. ESPARGARÒ TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’34.087
9. P. ESPARGARÒ MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’34.163
10. S. REDDING OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’34.172
11. D. PEDROSA REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’34.206
12. H. BARBERA AVINTIA RACING 1’34.404
13. C. CRUTCHLOW LCR HONDA 1’34.480
14. B. SMITH MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’34.531
15. E. LAVERTY ASPAR TEAM MOTOGP 1’34.789
16. J. MILLER ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 1’35.008
17. S. BRADL APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’35.056
18. Y. HERNANDEZ ASPAR TEAM MOTOGP 1’35.125
19. M. PIRRO AVINTIA RACING 1’35.220
20. A. BAUTISTA APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’35.284
21. T. RABAT ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 1’36.582

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