Sam Lowes ended Free Practice 2 at the top, with his arch-rival Kenan Sofuoglu in third. The surprise was class rookie Jack Kenendy in second place, only losing the top spot at the last minute. Kennedy joined World Supersport this year, fresh from a second place in British Supersport.
A dry start to the day meant qualifying would have a more familiar look to it, in spite of the cold, and both Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes were predictably fast early on, ahead of their French team mates Sylvain Guintoli and Loris Baz. Jonathan Rea, at his team's home track, along with Carlos Checa, also put in respectable times by the half way point.
Press releases from the teams and the series organizer after the first day of practice at Assen:
Assen was wet and it got wetter. With rain came crashes and with the single bike rule, very few riders wanted to risk damaging their bike, or worse, especially considering the remainder of the weekend is predicted to be dry.
As the track started to dry out, lap times unsurprisingly came down. Ayrton Badovini showed the Ducati Panigale wouldn't be outclassed in mixed conditions early on, but it was once again Tom Sykes on his Kawasaki that took the provisional pole position, ahead of the Aprilias of Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty.
Leon Haslam has fractured his leg and will no longer be taking part in this weekend's World Superbike race at Assen. His team sent out a press release shortly after his wife tweeted from his account.
As the weather refused to improve, the pace was low while the attrition was high. Kenan Sofuoglu made a brief sojourn to the top of the table but was knocked off at the top first by Christian Iddon and finally by Andrea Antonelli. Antonelli's 2'04.455 lap was 14 seconds slower than the fastest times from this morning's free practice.
As the weather is set to improve tomorrow, it's hard to say if these times will factor in qualifying, but the wet weather experience could well help if the weather doesn't improve enough.
As the track was wetter than this morning, the pace was even slower than it was in World Supersport. Tom Sykes was over twenty seconds off qualifying pace as conditions led the events. Several riders were brought down by the conditions, including Leon Camier, who was only medically cleared to race yesterday, and Leon Haslam who went to hospital with an injured leg. Most riders nipped out, saw how wet it was and popped back in the pits, recording fewer than a dozen laps.
A wet morning in Holland put the dampers on fast laps. Christian Iddon on the MV Augusta dominated the morning session, although towards the end, the top spot was taken off him briefly by Andrea Antonelli and Sam Lowes. Iddon ended the session with a 1'50.434, a full ten seconds slower than last year's FP1 time.
Press release previews from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's Assen round:
As ever after a MotoGP race, Bridgestone issued a press release debrief with a senior engineer. This time it is the turn of Masao Azuma, who explains the difficulty of selecting tires for a new track, how the tires performed in the unexpectedly cool weather conditions, and the positive feedback the CRT tires received from the riders. The press release appears below:
Americas MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Wednesday 24 April 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
The inaugural Americas Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas was a race to remember as Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez became the youngest ever race winner in the premier class, claiming victory ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who finished in third place.
Track conditions at Circuit of the Americas varied greatly over the race weekend but for the main event on Sunday, sunny skies and a track temperature of 45°C greeted riders for their first taste of racing at this impressive venue.
Q&A with Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
Ben Spies will not take part in the Spanish MotoGP round at Jerez scheduled to take place on May 5th. The Texan has been advised to withdraw to undergo further physical rehabilitation after suffering severe muscle pain in his back and chest at Austin.
The problems are a result of the extended recovery period from the surgery he had on the shoulder he injured at Sepang in October last year. Injuries to shoulder ligaments are notorious for taking a long time to heal, and for patients to recover their full strength, and it is this which has been dogging the Texan. With his right shoulder still very weak, Spies has been forced to try to compensate using his back and chest, and this is placing too much strain on his muscles while riding. The Ignite Pramac rider will have further rehab to deal with the strained muscles, and get him ready to return at the Le Mans round of MotoGP in just over three weeks' time.
Below is the press release from the Ignite Pramac team on Spies' condition:
Ben Spies to miss Jerez race
Unfortunately, the pain felt by the Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider at the end of the warm up during last weekend in Austin (Texas), has had more serious consequences than expected.
As a result, Ben Spies will not be able to race at the next round of the Championship, held on May 5th in Jerez, Spain.
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.
It is a quarter of a century (ouch) since I visited my first United States Grand Prix in April 1988. That Laguna Seca event was historic because it was the first US GP since the 1965 races at Daytona. It was also historical because pit lane was nothing more than a row of flimsy tents, fluttering in the Monterey breeze, the timing sheets were cutely handwritten and the catering consisted of some nicely baked cakes, courtesy of a local women’s institute.
Behind the tents was a row of shipping containers, providing secure storage for team equipment. I seem to remember interviewing renowned tuner Erv Kanemoto while we were stood in the stifling heat in one of the containers. He may even have had a computer with him. Holy moly, a computer in the pitlane…