Rossi second but with work still to do in Assen Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi returned to one of his favourite race tracks today, as the 60th Dutch TT got started in bright sunshine at Assen. Rossi won the race from 11th on the grid...
Rossi second but with work still to do in Assen
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi returned to one of his favourite race tracks today, as the 60th Dutch TT got started in bright sunshine at Assen. Rossi won the race from 11th on the grid last year, arguably his best performance of 2007, and the Italian is keen to emulate his success with another win on Saturday. He started well today by finishing the first day of free practice in second place, although he was 0.732 seconds off Casey Stoner and will be looking to improve on this tomorrow.
This morning saw Rossi in sixth position but some set-up alterations for the afternoon session brought about a good improvement in his lap times and the Italian was one of only three riders to lap under the 1'37 mark, the others being Stoner and Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards. Rossi lapped consistently in the high 1'36s, already well under the circuit record, but he will be aiming to shave a few more tenths off tomorrow in order to narrow the gap to Stoner. Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo meanwhile finished the day 14th in the combined standings after a difficult day in which he struggled for front-end feeling.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: 1'36.819 Laps: 56
"Second place this afternoon is not bad at all, considering that this morning we had some problems. This afternoon we made some modifications and we started to improve quite a bit. We are still struggling in some points of the track however and this shows in the gap that we still have to Stoner. During this afternoon's session we understood some interesting things, which we hope will help us tomorrow. Today, however, it seems like I am the leader of the 'other' championship!"
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"This afternoon we made a good improvement to our setting compared to this morning, and our pace got better accordingly. Compared to the majority of the field in fact our pace is very good, the problem is Casey! In order to fight with him it's clear that we're going to need to work even harder and improve even more, so this is what we will do. It seems that we now have a good base setting so now we will just try to make the next step. The weather today has been fantastic - a nice change from recent races - so we hope for more of the same tomorrow so we can keep on improving."
Lorenzo lacking confidence at Assen
Despite an impressive ride through the field to sixth from the back of the grid at Donington just four days ago, it seems that Jorge Lorenzo's recent trials are not completely behind him and the Fiat Yamaha Team rookie underwent a difficult opening day at the Dutch TT. The Spaniard is struggling with front-end feeling but worst of all is lacking confidence and trust in his bike, and could only manage 14th in the combined standings today.
Lorenzo started off the day 11th in morning practice and hoped to improve further this afternoon. However this was not to be as he was only able to better his morning time by 0.027 seconds and slipped back through the order. With this being one of his favourite tracks he is doubly frustrated and is now hoping that a good night's sleep can result in a clearer head and a more relaxed frame of mind tomorrow. His team-mate Valentino Rossi fared better today and finished second but a gap of 0.732 seconds to Casey Stoner, in first place, means that he too has work to do tomorrow.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 14th Time: 1'37.960 Laps: 54
"It was a bad session today and I was not expecting to be so slow here, at a track that I love. We need to do more laps in order to improve and try to find a way to change things; I am suffering a lot on the bike because I don't have enough confidence in the front. I am losing time in all areas, we know the bike can be faster but I can't find the way to ride it like this. I need to have more trust in the bike, but at the moment I think the problem is me and I am just not riding as I should be."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"Today was quite a difficult session for us. We struggled all day to find a good feeling with the front and at the moment we have too much understeer. At the same time the bike is unstable under acceleration. This afternoon we stayed on just one set of Michelin tyres for the whole session in order to just concentrate on the bike setting without worrying about the tyres. We have tried some different solutions but they didn't work. It's clear that Jorge still needs more time and more laps in order to get his confidence back and for sure tomorrow the team will do all they can to help him to enjoy riding again."