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Solid Start for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP at TT Assen

Movistar Yamaha_062416

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo showed their intentions for this weekend’s TT Assen round today. The teammates enjoyed two productive free practice sessions, securing second and fifth place respectively in the combined time sheets.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo started the eighth round of the MotoGP World Championship today at an overcast TT Circuit Assen. The teammates set a solid pace early on in the weekend, during what are expected to be the only dry sessions of the TT Assen, securing second and fifth position respectively in the combined times.

Eager to claim a position in the top ten, Valentino Rossi needed little time to get a feel for the iconic ‘Cathedral of Speed’. Determined to battle for victory again this weekend, he hit the ground running and climbing to third in the provisional results list on his first stint. He kept this position while working on the balance of his bike whilst comparing the two frames brought by Yamaha until the pace quickened at the end of FP1. His best time, a 1’34.758s, earned him seventh place.

The Doctor made great progress in the afternoon. With some rays of sun peering through the clouds, he rode his YZR-M1 to a provisional third position and continued to improve his times throughout the session. He didn’t stop pushing until he set a 1’33.595s lap for second place, only 0.004s from first.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo was also quick on the pace in the morning practice session, climbing up to second after the first ten minutes. Having established a good rhythm around the TT Circuit Assen, he shifted his attention towards fine-tuning the basis set up of his YZR-M1 with both frames. He finished FP1 in sixth position with a best lap of 1’34.722s.

The Mallorcan carried forward his solid form in the afternoon. He was keen to head back out on track and gradually built up his pace. He continued to work hard on his setting and dropped under the 1’34 mark at the end of the session. His fastest time of 1’33.991s puts him in fifth place in today’s combined times, 0.400s from the front.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“The predicted rain could mean that today’s FP1 and FP2 were the only dry sessions of the week, making it crucial for our riders to finish in the top ten today, to make it safely through to Q2 tomorrow. We are pleased to have done just that. We’ve been busy working on finding a good set up whilst comparing the two frames we brought here on both sides of the garage. Vale will change to the old frame whereas Jorge will probably continue to use the new one. Valentino had two productive practice sessions today and this showed in his fast time at the end of FP2. He feels comfortable on his bike and seems to have resolved some of the issues he had in the morning. Jorge also delivered solid and consistent times and made great progress, dropping under the 1’34s mark, but is not completely satisfied yet. With the use of today’s data we identified the areas we will work on tonight to prepare something for tomorrow’s Free Practice 3, however the conditions at the track could be very different by then.”

Valentino Rossi
2nd / 1’33.595 / 41 laps

“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. For sure we need to continue to work. With the harder tyre 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.”

Jorge Lorenzo
5th / 1’33.991 / 38 laps

“Today we again tried the new chassis on a different track. In Montmeló I felt quite a big difference, here I didn’t feel it so much so I need one more day to understand if it’s also better here. It’s been a difficult day, but at least we practiced in dry conditions. We are still missing something, especially in T4 and I also don’t completely like how the bike is working, so we are going to try to change the setting for tomorrow. We are not far behind, but I would like to have some more speed.”

Espargaro begins Motul TT Assen Charge

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro got straight on the pace in the Netherlands and closed day one with a positive performance. The young Spaniard began strongly and after completing the first shake down laps, he quickly set about adjusting his Yamaha YZR-M1 to the iconic Assen circuit. He impressively finished the FP1 in 3rd, with a lap time that was a mere 0.074 from the position in front, which left him highly confident for the afternoon. Here, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion carried on his efforts and with rain expected tomorrow morning, he pushed and determinedly posted a best time on his penultimate lap that left him only half a second from the top. Espargaro now optimistically looks on to the all-important qualifying shootout at the Cathedral of Speed.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 pit box, Bradley Smith concluded a solid opening day at the historic Dutch circuit for the 8th round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship. The 25-year-old instantly jumped into action when the morning session kicked off and he started the initial work as he looks to seal a strong placement in Sunday’s Grand Prix. He finished in 9th with a time that was only 0.269 behind his teammate. Then, when Free Practice 2 commenced, the Briton continued his tireless work as he made adjustments to the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 and also made progress with the Michelin tyres as he gathered information for his race choice. He eventually completed 21 laps, setting his best time on the penultimate one and now he confidently awaits the second day of action at the Motul TT Assen.

Pol Espargaró
9th / 1’34.163 / 36 laps

“I am very pleased overall with the first day at Assen, because the times were competitive throughout both sessions and I finished only half a second from the front, plus, just 0.1 from Jorge. I enjoy riding at this track and my feeling this morning, when we started, was positive straight away. Then, at the beginning of FP2, we had to try some tyre options in order to have a clear idea about which way to go this weekend. Initially I didn’t feel too comfortable on the hard compound of rear tyre, so we tried another one but it was the same, which means the hard compound won’t be our choice. At the end of the FP2, it felt like a qualifying session as the forecast for tomorrow is not ideal so it was important to finish inside the top ten. There were a lot of fast guys outside the cut off point for QP2 so to end up where I did means that I can have a better rest tonight as I am through to Qualifying 2 even if the rain falls tomorrow. There, I plan to be strong and continue the good form in the Netherlands.”

Bradley Smith
14th / 1’34.531 / 40 laps

“The opening day at the Motul TT Assen has been quite encouraging and I am satisfied with what we accomplished as I was inside the top ten throughout the day, which is positive for us. Yet, unfortunately we didn’t undertake the best strategy for FP2 in terms of the scoring a fast lap time. Instead, we focused more on setting the bike up for the race and trying to improve my feeling, which seems to be good here, so we wanted to take advantage of this. Having said that, I’m a little disappointed to end up in 14th because we had the potential to finish inside the top ten today, which would have been useful in case of bad weather tomorrow. Anyway I have to acknowledge the positives, and overall, this is probably one of the better starts that we’ve had so far this season on a Friday. The guys and I worked really well as a team and all day we focused on trying to improve the rear setting of the bike and now we have a good plan for the rest of the weekend. We were able to try the soft and medium compounds of front tyre as well as the soft and hard rear options so now we have a clear indication of the direction which way we will follow this weekend.”