TT Assen: Repsol Honda Thursday report

Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso set the fifth fastest time in first practice for the Dutch TT today as round six of the MotoGP World Championship got under way at Assen. The 24-year-old Italian, who lies second in the title standings coming to...

Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso set the fifth fastest time in first practice for the Dutch TT today as round six of the MotoGP World Championship got under way at Assen. The 24-year-old Italian, who lies second in the title standings coming to the Netherlands, is confident that with improvements to the feeling from the front end of his RC212V tomorrow he can qualify well in the afternoon session and continue his impressive start to the 2010 season.

His factory Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa was right behind him in sixth as the pair made the first inroads into setting-up their RC212Vs for the fast and sinuous Assen circuit. Though the 24-year-old Spaniard and his crew initially went the wrong way with suspension settings for this circuit, they too expect improvements tomorrow after the data they've collected is analysed and setting adjustments are decided upon.

The historic Assen track has been mildly modified for 2010 and has been speeded up in the process, with a re-profiled Ruskenhoek corner giving a faster approach to following Stekkenwal curve. The changes have also reduced the length of the lap by 13m from 4.555km to 4.542km (2.823 miles). Today's fastest lap by Jorge Lorenzo of 1m 35.169 was duly 1.4s faster than the existing race lap record, with Dovizioso 0.699s behind Lorenzo's best and Pedrosa just 0.054s back from his team-mate. With more fine weather forecast for the rest of the weekend, lap times are expected to fall further in tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions.

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 5th -- 1m 35.868s +0.699s

"This was a decent first session and a positive start to the weekend. Of course we still need to improve things and make up some time but I think we can do this tomorrow. We had some movement on the front end entering turns and also mid-corner and we need to sort this out in order to improve. It's an issue that I've had already this season so we're familiar with it. Today's session was just the start to the weekend and I think we'll see the real pace that we can run in tomorrow's two sessions. We used the harder option Bridgestone tyres for our fast laps today, so there's room for improvement on the softer ones tomorrow. The modifications to the track are good fun to ride although maybe it's a little bit dangerous if a bike goes down in the right hander because it could come back onto the track in the next corner. Still, it was a positive session today and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

DANI PEDROSA -- 6th -- 1m 35.922s +0.753s

"We're in sixth place which isn't actually so bad considering that we initially chose the wrong direction with our suspension settings for this track. Basically our set-up was too soft today and this cost us time - especially in T1 - which meant that our lap times suffered quite a lot. So it's not the ideal start to the race meeting that we were hoping for, but it looks like the weather is going to be stable for the rest of the weekend so we have time to improve things a lot. We need a good result at this race to put Silverstone behind us and because last year I crashed here. The change to the circuit is good and that corner is now very fast - perhaps 270km/h in fifth gear. I'm confident that tomorrow we can do a better job than today and move forward."

TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER

"We began the process of setting up the machine for Assen and we have gained some useful information about the adjustments required for the 2010 RC212V at this track. Andrea's session went quite well. He has some front end issues to correct and when this is done he can close the gap to the leaders tomorrow. With Dani we started off with a suspension set-up that was too soft and this is what held him back today. With work in this area he can climb the timesheets and qualify well for Saturday's race."

-source: repsol

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa