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Assertive Start to Assen Weekend for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP_Assen MotoGP#2

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a strong opening to the TT Assen weekend, securing third and sixth respectively in today’s combined session times sheets.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team kicked off the action at TT Circuit Assen today during the first free practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s race. Valentino Rossi made most of the unexpected sunny conditions and landed third place in the combined session times, slightly ahead of teammate Jorge Lorenzo who posted the sixth fastest time.

Both riders love the prestigious Dutch circuit and were quick to find their pace while testing a new chassis in the first morning session.

Eager to the hit the ground running, Valentino Rossi began his Assen challenge with finding a solid basis set-up before closing the session with a time attack. His first attempt to a hot lap immediately moved him to the top spot in the ranking order. Knowing he had more in him, he continued to further improve his leading time over the next two laps and signed off FP1 with a 1’34.357.

The afternoon saw more of the same from Rossi. He spent most of 45 minutes focusing on improving his setting before putting it to the test in the final stages of the session. Clearly feeling at home at one of his favorite tracks, he wrapped up the first day with a third fastest time of 1’33.652, 0.202s from the front.

Jorge Lorenzo had a more challenging first outing, but still enjoyed his first laps at Assen. He slowly built up his pace in the FP1 and it wasn’t long before he climbed up to the front of the leaderboard. He spent the rest of the session comparing settings and finished in fourth place, 0,415s behind his teammate.

The Spaniard was quick to pick up where he left off during FP2. He soon moved into the top three as he continued to perfect the set-up of his YZR-M1. With the temperature rising and the times dropping, he saved his best for his last stint and dropped a 1’33.741 to end the day in sixth place, 0.291s from first.

Valentino Rossi

3rd / 1’33.652 / 41 laps

“It has been a good Thursday. I’m happy because we worked well during the sessions and we found some interesting solutions. The first priority today was to find out which chassis we prefer, the new one or the standard one. I feel good with the new one. My pace and my lap times were especially good this morning when I was in front, but also in the afternoon. Securing third position is a very good performance, because the first five to seven riders are really close in times. It’s a good way to start the weekend, but we still have a lot to do. It’s very important to use this bit of dry track time in Assen well, because we hope the weather will stay like this, but you never know. Now we will wait for tomorrow. Both the harder and soft tyres are not so bad for the race, it will depend on the conditions. If it’s hot, like it was today, you can decide to try the harder rear tyre.”

Jorge Lorenzo

6th / 1’33.741 / 35 laps

“It has been a difficult day. I still don’t feel great on the bike, so we have to make some modifications to get more confortable. We don’t have the softer edge tyre that Bridgestone usually brings. This certainly didn’t help me to feel at my best in the corners, but this is the same for everyone. We have to work on it. I think we still have a margin to feel better with this tyre and go faster, but we have to find a solution to get to that stage.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“We started the practices collecting good information. Vale has been fast and consistent in both sessions, but there is still a margin for improvement. Jorge couldn’t get the feeling he was looking for, but we still have enough time to make the setup suit him better. Both riders decided to ride with the new frame on both bikes, because our findings in Aragon have been reconfirmed here. We will work this evening to prepare some amendments to the setup for ‘free practice three’ and then we will focus on qualifying, which is going to be decisive for the race.”

Espargaro and Smith confident for Dutch TT after opening shake down

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro kick-started his Motul TT Assen challenge by finishing in 11th position on the first day of action at the 8th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. The young Spaniard began confidently by getting into gear immediately and posting a best time of 1’34.927 in FP1 under bright and sunny conditions in the Netherlands which left him in 5th place. In the afternoon session, he got straight back to work and continued his efforts to refine the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the 26 lap race on Saturday, while setting his best time on lap 14. This time of 1’34.321 equalled 11th at the close of the session, which was just over half a second back from the second row. The 24 year old now sets his sights on making some further steps forward tomorrow morning before focusing on the all important qualifying where he intends to score a solid grid position to launch from in Saturday’s race.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith concluded the day in 13th after undertaking a thorough effort in setting up his Yamaha to suit the fast flowing nature of the Assen circuit. The young British rider confidently jumped into action and completed FP1 with a best lap of 1’35.042 that resulted in a 6th place finish. As a result, Smith optimistically looked towards FP2 and here, he picked up where he left off by continuing to make the necessary tweaks to his MotoGP bike. At the fall of the chequered flag, he highlighted his dedication by completing a total of 23 laps, more than any other MotoGP rider, and finished with a top time of 1’34.627. The 24 year old rider intends to make further steps forward in FP3 tomorrow ahead of the qualifying battle.

Pol Espargaro

11th / 1’34.321 / 40 laps

“We kicked off the Dutch TT in a positive manner after having a good start this morning and managed to set a quick lap at the end of the session which put us near the front of the field. Yet unfortunately this afternoon, things didn’t work out the same way as everybody improved their times, while we had to face a few slight issues which prevented us from posting a really fast single lap. Everything is so close in the times and the guys with the soft tyre have a clear advantage and can easily beat us on one lap. Yet our race pace is really promising and is quite close to the top riders. Now we just have to hope that it won’t rain tomorrow morning so that we can have a good chance of qualifying straight through to QP2. We will see what happens and I will give it my very best.”

Bradley Smith

13th / 1’34.627 / 44 laps

“Today was quite a good day despite the final position in the combined standings. I am satisfied with the work that we have undertaken and as soon as we got out on track this morning, I felt comfortable straight away. When we tried the hard tyre this afternoon, I was happy with how the bike handled, yet when we put the soft tyre in, the grip wasn’t as good as it should have been because we had a tyre that may have been defected. This limited me and unfortunately was the reason why I wasn’t able to post a strong lap time. Having said that, these things occasionally happen and it’s much better for this to occur today instead of tomorrow as we all know how important the qualifying is. We don’t know what the weather conditions will be like tomorrow so it’s not ideal to be in 13th, but we’ve had a strong pace all day today and I am optimistic for the qualifying. Therefore, we will make a few small adjustments, but overall, I’m feeling confident and I’m looking forward to getting back out on the track.”

Great start for Athinà Forward Racing at Assen

It was a positive first day of work for the Athinà Forward Racing team at the historic race track of Assen which this week hosts the eighth race of the 2015 season. Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz proved really consistent and finished today’s free practice sessions on the top of the Open class standings.

After winning in Barcelona, Bradl is back today on his Yamaha Forward and he pulled off a positive 1’34.664, which earned him the leadership of the category and a fifteenth position overall. The German is confident for qualifying tomorrow and his target is to get the Open class pole.

It was also a productive day for Loris Baz, who was eager to get back to work after the weekend at the Catalunya circuit. With an encouraging 1’34.897, the Frenchman ended a little more than two tenths behind his teammate in 16th place.

Stefan Bradl

15th / 1’34.664 / 40 laps

“I’m happy with this start. This morning we were immediately competitive and in the afternoon we were able to go even faster. We have a different setup than Barcelona, but the feeling is good and we were able to collect a lot of information to further improve the setting of the bike. We have to find a little more speed on the corner exit, but I’m confident for qualifying. The weather is the real unknown, but we are not far from the top guys.”

Loris Baz

16th / 1’34.897 / 36 laps

“Compared to Barcelona, we made a good step forward and we are positive for qualifying. I still must improve something in corner entry but I am convinced we can do well tomorrow. I will try to do my best to stay close to the other Open bikes.”

2015 MotoGP Netherlands

Assen 25/06/2015

1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’33.450
2 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’33.589
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’33.652
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’33.699
5 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 1’33.734
6 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’33.741
7 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’33.844
8 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 1’33.857
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 1’34.133
10 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 1’34.232
11 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’34.321
12 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’34.406
13 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’34.627
14 Scott Redding Honda GBR 1’34.643
15 Stefan Bradl Yamaha DE 1’34.664
16 Loris Baz Yamaha FRA 1’34.897

Circuit Length:
4555

Lap Record:
1’34.525
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2010)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’33.713
(Casey Stoner, 30-6-2012)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez