Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards started their Dutch challenge in unusual style today, both sporting a new 1950's-inspired livery on their leathers and bikes. The colourful pair finished the day fourth and seventh in the combined standings after a thankfully dry first day of practice for the Dutch TT.
This morning saw the Yamaha duo second and fourth respectively in the first practice as they tested tyres and worked on bike set-up. They continued with more of the same throughout this afternoon's second practice, dropping slightly down the order but both improving on their times from the morning. Both riders finished the day feeling initially positive about their tyre choices and potential in the dry and, with rain a possibility tomorrow, today's two hours of dry track time could prove crucial. The fastest time of the day was set by Casey Stoner with a lap of 1'37.828, just 0.320 seconds faster than Rossi.
The Fiat Yamaha Team's special Assen livery is inspired by Fiat's famous '500' and celebrates the forthcoming re-launch of the iconic car on 4th July, exactly 50 years after it was first launched in 1957. The design is inspired by the art and discography of the era, including Elvis Presley and Italy's Rita Pavone.
Valentino Rossi - 4th, 1'38.148;
"Today was not too bad! This morning was actually better than this afternoon, even though we were faster in the second session. Our initial base set-up this morning felt quite good but this afternoon we tested some different things and honestly I didn't have such a good feel. Our tyre choice seems to be okay and we have some softer tyres here which should work better in lower temperatures, as we should be able to get the heat into them faster. We've started out okay today but we need to improve some things so I really hope it's not going to rain tomorrow. I really like my new livery, it's fun and different and the colours especially are something you don't usually see on the racetrack! The Fiat 500 is a famous Italian icon so it's good to be able to celebrate the new version of the car in this way."
Colin Edwards - 7th, 1'38.341;
"I'm pretty happy with how we've started out here today. Michelin have brought some good stuff again and we've managed to get through all the things we needed to test for the weekend. At the moment it looks like we could actually race three of our tyre choices so that's a good situation to be in at this stage. Today we had my bikes set-up in two different ways and one was better than the other, so tomorrow we'll go with that for them both. It's actually pretty similar to last year's bike and that obviously worked good then so we'll keep going on like that. It was great to have two sessions uninterrupted by rain for once, fingers crossed we'll have more of the same tomorrow. The livery's pretty cool, it's fun to have something different and I've had some good comments from the rest of the riders. I'm not sure I could handle the pink every week but as a one-off special it's great!"
Davide Brivio - Team Director;
"It's been good to have an entirely dry day after all the rain we've had recently. We were able to check some good tyres with both our riders and it seems we've got a good base on the bike. Now we need to put everything together and fine-tune the settings and make our final tyre choices. Unfortunately it might rain tomorrow, in which case we'll only have today's data to analyse for a dry race, but we've got some good information so we should be okay. We're very pleased to be able to help Fiat to celebrate such an important event with our special 'Cinquecento' livery. The fact that our team can be used as a tool to help publicise the re-launch of an Italian icon is a great example of the importance and success of Fiat's sponsorship."
Casey Stoner, fastest, 1m 37.828s;
"I don't know why but we got a little bit confused with the settings and went backwards this morning, so I wasn't overly confident. The time we had on the track this afternoon was very positive, we managed to get everything sorted and towards the end of the session I was feeling quite confident with a different tyre we had chosen. It looks like we've found our race tyre already, it's the hardest compound we've got, we did the fastest lap on that tyre, so we know it's going to last the race, which is good. We're looking very good if the weather plays up again tomorrow. The settings we use here are pretty similar to what we used at Donington, not straight out of the box, but you don't need a totally different set-up here like you did with the old track. There's no big g-force areas anymore, they've pretty much destroyed an awesome racetrack. It's so disappointing, you keep thinking 'where's the old one gone', it's not the most fun to ride anymore. But we've still got a job to do here. Donington and here seem to have pretty similar surfaces now, there's not much grip here either, it seems dusty in places, so we're having to work in similar areas to what we were working on at Donington."
Loris Capirossi, 11th fastest, 1m 38.600s;
"We tested some tyres today but have yet to find what we really want. I tried the 16 but I was lacking rear grip into the corners, especially through the last part of the track. At the end of the afternoon session I tried the 16.5 again, it felt better and I did my best lap at the end, even though the bike settings weren't ideal for the tyre. Seven tenths isn't a small gap but we have a good margin for improvement with the set-up. In general, I feel okay and if tomorrow's weather is similar to today's, we should be make a few changes and go faster."
Nicky Hayden - 1'38.114s, 59 laps 269 Km;
"I really like the Assen track and things went relatively smoothly today with no major dramas. The package we've got with the RC212V works pretty well here straight out of the box and we're not too far away from getting a pretty good dry race set-up.
Tyre choice is going to be really important of course and we tried to put in as many laps as we could in today's two sessions because the weather looks really bad for tomorrow. We might catch a break on Saturday for the race though, and it might be dry. It's been a decent start to the weekend and we'll look at the data we gathered today and hopefully we can sweeten the machine up a little bit more. I enjoyed riding out there today so we've just got to keep the momentum going."
Dani Pedrosa - 1'38.221s, 51 laps 232 Km;
"We did a lot of work today on the machine set-up and tyre choice because the weather forecast says we might lose some dry practice time tomorrow.
The RC212V feels quite good here and not really too different to the 990cc machine from last year - you notice the power is lower, but not too much, and the lap times are already pretty close. The practice sessions went reasonably well and I made a fair improvement from the morning to the afternoon. However, I made some mistakes in the afternoon session which lost me some time and so my final lap times were not as fast as they should have been really. We'll continue to make adjustments to the bike tonight and come ready for whatever the weather gives us for tomorrow's sessions."
"I can honestly say we struggled a bit with set-up this morning - we were nowhere near where we wanted to be! This is one of the first tracks this year that we have showed up at and had to work really hard to get the bike how we want it. The crew has worked really hard to get us up to near where we have to be - we are still a bit behind, but we can make that up! We've got some stuff to try in the morning that I am sure will make things even better. We also worked hard with Bridgestone and went through our tyre allocation to find a compound that works well here. In the last run at the end of this afternoon's session we found some big things that really moved us forward, it was almost like a night and day difference! I now can't wait to get back out on track, it's a shame we don't have another hour today as I'm sure we could smooth some more things out and make a big step up!"
"We've had a few problems on the bike today, but the biggest has been the brakes. We've had a bit of inconsistency and I've had to work the lever really hard and that has given me a bit of arm pump. We have tried a lot of things and improved considerably this afternoon. I did get a bit of chassis vibration later on in the session, but we know what that is caused by and we'll put it right tomorrow. We still have a lot to come from me and the bike around here and I know Tom and the crew will be working flat out to find the answers that we need!"
Carlos Checa: 13th overall - 1'38.733;
"A productive day in that we gained a lot of information for the race set-up, although we to make a final decision on race tyres. There are still two options and we will work with the rear set-up to find the right choice for the race. Also I need to confirm our front tyre choice, to improve turning and also the gearbox ratios and braking points. A positive point is that I am able to carry speed through the final section of the lap, S4, which is important at this track."
Alex Barros (1'38.485 - 20 laps):
"I'm satisfied for my first day spent in Assen. The bike has a good set-up and made us able to be really competitive. The feeling we have found here is better than in Donington and for this reason I'm particularly confident for Saturday's race. Today we worked both on tires and bike set-up to individualize the most satisfactory solution; we have to do some more adjustment in order to be more fast on the T2 and T8, two turns that I'm not like so much and give me some difficulties loosing important time. Tomorrow I hope to have the possibility to make further improvement , but even if the weather will be not so good, I'm not worried because my race configuration and pace are already competitive."
Alex Hofmann (1'38.846 - 22 laps):
"Today we worked so hard and we have made tests as much as possible to try all material we thought important for the race. In general have been a positive day, especially in the morning when I recorded the fifth position. During the afternoon practice I had some little difficulties, maybe due to the wind that was particularly noising; unfortunately I make my time better only for few thousandth, but I'm not worried about that, I've a good feeling and my race pace is constant. We need only to do small adjustment to avoid to lose too much time in the chicane."
Shinya Nakano - Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (53 laps - 1' 38.444");
"Despite the track being dry this morning, the overall grip levels were not so good, perhaps because of the overnight rain. We made some adjustments to the suspension settings for the afternoon session and got a much better feeling from the bike, but we still need one more big step to fight the other guys. At Assen you need a good rhythm and consistency so we will make some adjustments for tomorrow to try and find that. I love the track: it's one of my favourites, so I'm looking for a good qualifying result for tomorrow and a decent finish in the race."
- 1. Casey Stoner, Ducati (AUS) 1'37.828
- 2. Randy De Puniet, Kawasaki (FRA) 1'38.040
- 3. Nicky Hayden, Honda (USA) 1'38.114
- 4. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha (ITA) 1'38.148
- 5. Daniel Pedrosa, Honda (ESP) 1'38.221
- 6. Makoto Tamada, Yamaha (JPN) 1'38.256
- 7. Colin Edwards, Yamaha (USA) 1'38.341
- 8. John Hopkins, Suzuki (USA) 1'38.436
- 9. Shinya Nakano, Honda (JPN) 1'38.444
- 10. Alex Barros, Ducati (BRA) 1'38.485
- 11. Loris Capirossi, Ducati (ITA) 1'38.600
- 12. Sylvain Guintoli, Yamaha (FRA) 1'38.650
- 13. Carlos Checa, Honda (ESP) 1'38.733
- 14. Alex Hofmann, Ducati (GER) 1'38.846
- 15. Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki (AUS) 1'39.152