MotoGP Assen Thurdsay Practice 2011

June 23, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Marco Simoncelli led the way in a wet Free Practice 1  the Thursday afternoon practice session aborted thanks to oil on the track.
Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli led the way in a wet Free Practice 1 at Assen, the Thursday afternoon practice session aborted thanks to oil on the Dutch circuit.

Oil and water mixed to cut Thursday short as Grand Prix festivities got underway at Assen. Wet conditions greeted riders and teams, as Gresini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli led the way in Free Practice 1. It would be the only session for the premier class, however, as the rain that hindered speeds in MotoGP only worsened during an incident plagued session for the Moto2 class. Oil from competitor Alex Baldolini’s Moto2 machine fouled the circuit upon re-entry after a crash, the cleanup effort delaying and eventually cancelling the remaining practice sessions.

Simoncelli’s timesheet-heading performance continues the impressive form the Gresini pilot has yet to replicate in a full GP race. The Italian-led timesheet featured compatriot Valentino Rossi finishing second-fastest, the nine-time world champion making good use of the new GP11.1 – at least in the wet. Rounding out the provisional front row was championship points leader, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner.

Andrea Dovizioso lapped fourth-fastest, now Honda’s number two rider with Dani Pedrosa out of commission at Assen. Filling in on Pedrosa’s empty factory Honda, Hiroshi Aoyama was 12th-fastest on the day. The Gresini Honda seat was in turn filled by Kousuke Akiyoshi, who was 16th-fastest in the rain and more than four seconds behind Simoncelli’s time.

Jorge Lorenzo led the Yamaha contingent – the defending champ fifth-fastest at nearly a full second down on the front-runner. Cal Crutchlow marked his return from a broken collarbone with a sixth-place result, his Tech 3 Yamaha paddock-mate Colin Edwards also on the mend from the same injury and running in eighth after FP1.

Marking his 100th career Grand Prix weekend, MotoGP rookie Karel Abraham paced seventh-fastest on the Cardion AB Ducati, two spots ahead of factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden. The Kentucky Kid slotted one spot ahead of his countryman, the factory Yamaha-equipped Ben Spies.

MotoGP riders will make up for the time lost Thursday with an extension of Friday’s morning practice, now 90 minutes in length.

Valentino Rossi in Thursday Free Practice 1 where he placed second - 2011 Assen TT
Valentino Rossi put the new GP11.1 into second on the opening free practice timesheet.

2011 MotoGP Assen Thursday Practice Results:
1. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’49.036
2. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’49.396
3. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’49.527
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’49.640
5. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’49.995
6. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’50.386
7. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’50.413
8. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’50.968
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’51.277
10. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’51.590
11. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’52.646
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’53.132
13. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’53.164
14. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’53.323
15. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1’53.348
16. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Honda) 1’53.353
17. Randy De Puniet (Ducati) 1’53.562


Stefan Bradl led the way in Moto2’s problematic Free Practice 1. The Viessmann Kiefer Racing rider and runaway points leader lapped ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu in the rain-drenched session. Following the Kalex/Suter 1-2 was Simone Corsi on a FTR chassis, with the Moriwaki-equipped Yuki Takahashi in fourth.

Bradl’s best was more than 15 seconds off last year’s lap record set by Andrea Iannone. As for Iannone, the Speed Master/Suter rider was fifth-fastest on the day but was one of many to crash in the rain. Alex Baldolini was another unlucky rider making his name known in the worst way, cited as the rider responsible for tracking the oil that caused racing to come to its abrupt halt.

American Kenny Noyes cracked the top 10 with his Avintia-STX/FTR entry.

2011 Moto2 Assen Thursday Practice Results:
1. Stefan Bradl (Kalex) 1’54.435
2. Kenan Sofuoglu (Suter) 1’54.715
3. Simone Corsi (FTR) 1’55.058
4. Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki) 1’55.268
5. Andrea Iannone (Suter) 1’55.424
6. Thomas Luthi (Suter) 1’55.436
7. Mika Kallio (Suter) 1’56.145
8. Ratthapark Wilairot (FTR) 1’56.297
9. Pol Espargaro (FTR) 1’56.480
10. Kenny Noyes (FTR) 1’56.585
11. Yonny Hernandez (FTR) 1’56.657
12. Alex de Anglis (Motobi) 1’56.845
13. Mike di Meglio (Tech 3) 1’56.915
14. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) 1’57.112
15. Ricard Cardus (Moriwaki) 1’57.137

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