MotoGP – Marco Simoncelli Fastest As Day 1 Cut Short

June 24, 2011

MotoGP

The first day of practice at the Iveco TT Assen was shortened substantially when the afternoon practice sessions for all three categories were cancelled. Heavy rain during the first practice sessions claimed many riders in crashes, particularly in the Moto2 class which saw the heaviest rain. Italian rider Alex Baldolini inadvertently left a trail of oil over a considerable portion of the track when he reentered following a crash in the Moto2 session, which caused problems.

The clean up work initially delayed the start of the FP2 125cc session, which was due to begin at 13:15, and then finally forced a full cancellation of the afternoon sessions when the MotoGP FP2 was unable to start, despite a team of clean-up trucks spending close to two hours scrubbing oil spilled over one third of the circuit.

The session losses will be compensated for each class on Friday, where 125cc will have a one hour practice beginning at 8:40, MotoGP will have time extended to an hour and a half beginning at 9:50, and Moto2 will be on the track for an hour and five minutes with a start time of 11:30.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) started the weekend off the best way possible, lapping 0.360s ahead of Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi who is on board the GP11.1 Desmosedici for the Dutch TT. Completing the top three was Repsol Honda rider and series leader Casey Stoner, who was close to half a second down on Rossi in the morning practice session.

The two Italians had tussled to lead the timings early in the session, swapping first and second fastest positions until the Australian stepped into the mix. All three pulled out fast laps at the close of the session, with Simoncelli coming out on top. The three were followed by Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) in fourth and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) in fifth.

Cal Crutchlow, after breaking his collarbone only two weeks ago at his home Silverstone race, stuck in out for 13 laps to lay down a time that put him sixth in the standings.

Rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) carried his form over from the weekend in Silverstone with the seventh fastest time, finishing the practice ahead of Americans Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in eighth, Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) ninth and Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) in tenth. Spanish rider Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) followed with 11th place.

Hiroshi Aoyama who is replacing the injured Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda Team, put in a 12th fastest time in the wet session.

MOTO2

Current leader of the Moto2 pack, Stefan Bradl put the heat on his intermediate category rivals in the rainy Assen FP1.

Viessmann Kiefer Racing rider Bradl opened up the first Moto2 practice session of the Iveco TT Assen weekend riding his Kalex machine to the top of the timesheet with a best lap of 1’54.435 on the historic Dutch circuit. Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP) was second fastest, less than three tenths behind the German with Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project), who is currently second in the Championship, third quickest in the wet.

Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing), who is now third in the Championship, was 0.83s adrift of Bradl’s pace in fourth. Last year’s race winner Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) lead in the beginning of the session though crashed out in the first 15 minutes. The Italian’s first laps were quick enough to put him fifth in the times, Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing), Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda Singha-SAG), Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) – who crashed before the end of the session- and American rider Kenny Noyes (Avintia-STX) all registering top ten times.

The adverse weather claimed several more riders, with a sudden spate of crashes bringing out the red flag, and later the cancellation of the session, with four minutes remaining due to oil spillage on the track. But not before Elena Rosell, the replacement rider for Julián Simon on the Mapfre Aspar team, crashed twice, Axel Pons (Pons HP 40), Javier Forés (Mapfre Aspar) and Ricky Cardús (QMMF Racing Team), among others, crashed out of the session in various corners.

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