De Puniet surprised the MotoGP field by topping the first practice today in Assen.
Randy de Puniet ripped off a hot lap with time running out on the first session of MotoGP practice today in Assen to take a surprise top spot. De Puniet pulled out a 1:37.842 around the Dutch track, which came as a shock to nearly everyone in the paddock – De Puniet included.
“I’m very surprised, because even though my bike is good for this track I had a lot of problems with the soft front tire, with the brakes and the electronics,” De Puniet said right after the session. “At the end I used a hard tire for the last five laps. I’m satisfied with the bike for the first day. We can still improve with the electronics and myself, but it’s a good surprise for me and the team today.”
For the majority of the session it was Fiat Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo trading positions at the front of the group, followed by fellow championship point’s leader Casey Stoner on the Marlboro Ducati. Rossi ended the session second-quick with a 1:37.847.
“I’m happy about today,” said the Italian. “The practice was okay from the beginning. I have a good feeling on the bike so I am able to go quite well. Now we have to improve our performance at places around the track to improve our lap time but the first practice is okay.”
"I have a good feeling on the bike so I am able to go quite well. Now we have to improve our performance at places around the track to improve our lap time."
When asked about De Puniet at the front of the standings, Rossi added: “He ride very well and fast today but I think we have a good margin to improve so we have to try to go faster.”
Behind him in the third spot was Stoner, posting a best time of 1:37.877.
“The first day has been quite positive for us,” Stoner commented. “We still need to improve the bike a lot but the lap times that we were capable of were a lot better than what we expected. For tomorrow it has put us in a good position. I still haven’t found the limit of the braking points and we still have some small improvements to make on the front end. Also the engine braking wasn’t working so
Stoner: "We still need to improve the bike a lot but the lap times that we were capable of were a lot better than what we expected. For tomorrow it has put us in a good position."
well today. The bike should feel much better. We did race distance and the tire felt very good, so we have to look forward to the next two days. Maybe we’re one step behind after not being fully fit for the Barcelona test, but we’ll try and do what we have to do.”
1. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1:37.842
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:37.847
3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:37.877
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:38.061
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:38.092
6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:38.194
7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:38.205
8. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:38.350
9. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:38.379
10. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:38.429
11. Alex De Angelis (Honda) 1:38.495
12. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:38.928
13. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:39.464
14. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) 1:39.597
15. Toni Elias (Honda) 1:39.642