TT Circuit Assen
Bridgestone wet compounds available:
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli was fastest in this morning’s wet free practice session, but the afternoon running was cancelled after an oil spill in the first Moto2 practice couldn’t be sufficiently cleared and left track conditions too treacherous.
The 45 minute morning free practice was completely wet as rain fell intermittently all morning, never giving the tarmac a chance to dry. In the conditions, Simoncelli topped the standings ahead of Valentino Rossi on a heavily revised Ducati with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner third fastest.
The inconsistent nature of Assen’s tarmac, brought about by the many circuit revisions over the years, makes conditions ever trickier in the wet as the grip is unpredictable. The newer sections are slippery whereas the older parts are more abrasive and thus more grippy, and managing the transition from one to the other is crucial.
The forecast for the rest of the weekend is for the overcast weather to continue, so although today’s running was reduced by half and many riders and teams had hoped for dry conditions in which they can gain more valuable setup data, at least the teams and riders have now completed laps on Bridgestone’s wet tyres already.
Running will recommence tomorrow with the next MotoGP free practice starting at 0950hrs local time. In a change to the schedule brought about by today’s events, tomorrow morning’s free practice will be doubled in length to 90 minutes to make up for the loss of this afternoon’s track time.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Obviously it is a shame that the afternoon session had to be cancelled, but of course we support this decision from the officials on the grounds of safety. It will have interrupted the teams’ schedules for this weekend, but at least they will get the track time back tomorrow with the extension of the final free practice session. This morning the track was very wet and slippery and the temperature was quite low at just 18 degrees Celsius, but the performance of our soft wets was good and the times at the front were competitive. Many riders used just one set of wets for the whole session and performance was consistent so although today’s running was short I am satisfied.”