TT Assen Circuit
Rossi Second, Hayden Ninth On A Wet, Unpredictable Day At Assen
The first day of practice at the Dutch Grand Prix only gave the riders in each of the three classes a single, wet session. Four minutes from the end of the Moto2 session, a bike had a significant oil leak that forced the cancellation of the afternoon sessions, despite officials spending nearly two hours cleaning the track in an effort to make the surface safe enough for riding.
Friday morning’s session will be lengthened in order to make up for the lost time, with the MotoGP class riding from 9:50 a.m. to 11:20. Thursday was nonetheless positive for Valentino Rossi, who had a good feeling during his first laps aboard the GP11.1 and set the day’s second-fastest time.
Nicky Hayden started to work on his bike’s wet setup as he looks for the same good feeling he found two weeks ago at Silverstone.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd (1:49.396)
“We only had one practice session with the new bike, so it’s very early to make a full verdict, but the first feelings are certainly positive. The GP11 also went well in the wet, but the GP11.1 didn’t just maintain the positive aspects; I actually liked it a little bit more, so I’m curious to also try it in dry conditions. Unfortunately, they canceled the afternoon session because of an oil leak in Moto2; it would have been very nice to continue—in either the wet or the dry—the work that we started. We’ll have an hour and a half tomorrow morning, but we’ll have to work differently because we can’t make as many changes as we can in two separate sessions. Anyway, we’re happy for now. The new gearbox helps with acceleration on corner exits, and the rear of the bike is more stable. Now I can ride more naturally. There are still some small things to improve with the bike’s character, but we knew that and will continue to work on it.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th (1:51.277)
“This morning didn’t go particularly well. I just couldn’t get a good feeling, and we were having a few issues. The clutch wasn’t working well on corner-entry, and we didn’t completely understand why until after the session. I wasn’t so fast, which isn’t good after coming from Silverstone, where I was strong in the wet. This afternoon getting canceled was a bit of a letdown when you’ve got your leathers on and are ready to go. It was also a shame for the diehard fans who stayed around waiting, and for those who planned to watch on TV, but the officials did the right thing for having oil on the track. For tomorrow, we’ll just see what the weather’s going to do and take advantage of whatever conditions we have.”