TT Circuit Assen
Second pole for Simoncelli after tricky day at Assen
Round 7: Dutch TT – Qualifying
TT Assen Circuit, Friday 24 June 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Conditions today were tricky...
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli will start tomorrow’s Dutch TT from pole position, his second in the premier class, after a strong performance in a dry qualifying session saw him set his fifth successive front row start.
Simoncelli and Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies dominated the hour-long session today, each spending time at the top of the timesheets and ending up separated by just 0.01seconds. Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner completes tomorrow’s front row, whilst the second row comprises Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow who until the closing minutes held a provisional third position.
After the downpour yesterday that cancelled the afternoon free practice session, the schedule today was restructured to make up for the loss of track time and the morning practice session lasted for 90 minutes. The weather today was improved, and although rain showers interrupted running this morning and left the track slippery, most of the running for the MotoGP class was in the dry. As the temperature was low and the track still slippery, most riders favoured the softer option rear slicks but the harder fronts.
Generally track conditions so far this week have been very tricky and there have been many crashes in all three World Championship classes. By the end of MotoGP qualifying the laptimes at the front were near the lap record pace, but it has not been easy for the riders.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Conditions today were tricky especially in the morning because of the low temperature and the intermittent rain that gave the circuit little time to clean fully and left it very slippery. In fact the track temperature was 15 degrees Celsius lower than during qualifying here last year. Marco’s pole time was just 0.2seconds off the lap record set last year, but the effect of the conditions was felt more during the initial laps and in the area of tyre warm-up. For this reason, our softer option slicks were favoured all day today. This is something we are looking at very carefully, and speaking to the riders at length about, as we focus our efforts on this area.
“The double-length practice session this morning gave the riders the same amount of track time as a normal GP weekend, but less time to work on settings and development without the usual overnight break between FP2 and FP3. Nevertheless, riders have now had running in both wet and dry conditions so far, which is good as the weather tomorrow is looking just as mixed and there is every chance of a rain-interrupted race.”