Espargaro goes top on first day at Assen and laps under track record

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Open Class rider leads ahead of Repsol men Marquez and Pedrosa

Aleix Espargaro set the fastest time during today’s free practice for the Iveco Daily TT at Assen with the NGM Forward Racing rider leading the Repsol Honda pairing of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Espargaro eventually set a fastest lap of 1m 34.719s in the second free practice session with Marquez .211s behind and Pedrosa a further .416s back. Espargaro’s fastest time was quicker than the official lap record set by Casey Stoner in 2012.

I was not expecting that. To go in the 1’33s on the first day is really fast. I love this track.

Aleix Espargaro

Jorge Lorenzo was the first factory rider on the timesheets with the Movistar Yamaha rider laying down his fastest time of 1m 34.148s ahead of Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone who continues his good form while the 6th best time of 1m 34.286s was set by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith who set the exact same time as Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi in FP2 but was quicker than the seven times MotoGP champion in the first Free Practice session.

Pol Espargaro was right at the front this morning but this afternoon the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 man set a best time of 1m 34.408s while Stefan Bradl’s best lap of 1m 34.457s sees the LCR Honda man in 9th and in 10th place sits the Ducati Team machine of Andrea Dovizioso on a best time of 1m 34.460s. Sitting just outside the top ten is Alvaro Bautista for the GO&Fun Honda Gresini team with a best time of 1m 34.466 while his teammate Scott Redding was just behind on a best lap of 1m 35.445s.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Speaking after setting the best time of the day Espargaro was thrilled with his performance. He said, “I was not expecting that. To go in the 1’33s on the first day is really fast. I love this track, it’s one of my favorite on the calendar. I’ve had good results here before. With the front tire we are a little bit lost. We tried all three front tyres and we still don’t know which direction to go. With the rear I can be fast with both, but it’s strange, the soft tire drops less than the hard. Maybe we can race with the soft as I was third with a 15-lap rear tire.”

Marquez was pleased with his first day and speaking afterwards he said, “Today went pretty well and I'm happy, because last year we suffered a lot at this track. I think is a good track for both Honda and Yamaha; they were better here last year but maybe this year we have taken a step forward and I feel very comfortable and happy with the pace that I have. We'll see tomorrow, because it seems that we’re not so strong in the low temperatures, but I am convinced that we can match the competitors level.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Pedrosa was happy that the rain stayed away at Assen where rain is commonplace. "Today we were fortunate to have two dry sessions here in Assen,” said Pedrosa who continued, “In the morning the track was cooler but in the afternoon we had a very good track temperature, which allowed us to improve our feeling a little and in general we had good conditions for riding. We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what condition the track is in, and then hope for a good qualifying session.”

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Event Dutch TT
Sub-event Thursday practice
Article type Practice reports
Tags assen, espargaro, featured, forward racing, hatch, marquez, pedrosa, repsol honda, yamaha