2013 Assen MotoGP Friday Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying for Saturday's race at Assen:


Dutch delight for Crutchlow with maiden pole position

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow delivered a sensational performance at the historic Assen track in Holland this afternoon to storm to a maiden MotoGP pole position for tomorrow’s Dutch TT.

The French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad had double reason to celebrate in cool and cloudy conditions after rookie Bradley Smith produced an equally stunning display to qualify in a career best sixth position for tomorrow’s 26-lap race.

Crutchlow threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the field right from the start of QP2, his first flying lap of 1.35.613 sending him soaring to the top of the timesheets. Bumped down to fourth when he started his last lap attack, he produced an exhibition in controlled and aggressive riding, the 27-year-old almost 0.5s ahead of the best pace as he entered the final section of the legendary Assen track.

Having been narrowly beaten to pole position in Qatar and Catalunya, British rider Crutchlow wasn’t to be thwarted again and he grabbed the headlines today with a perfect final lap of 1.34.398 that secured a career first pole position by a comfortable margin of 0.357s over Marc Marquez.

Crutchlow’s phenomenal result saw him become the first British rider to claim a MotoGP pole position since Jeremy McWilliams in 2002.

There was plenty to be proud of on the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage this afternoon after Smith’s heroics ensured he will start from the second row of the grid for the first time in his premier class career.

Still troubled by pain and discomfort from a recovering left wrist injury he sustained in Mugello recently, Smith brilliantly powered his YZR-M1 machine to sixth position with a best time of 1.35.454.

He managed to knock over a second off his pace in nine breathless laps and like Crutchlow he saved his best to last and he will sit alongside Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa on the grid for Assen’s unique Saturday race.

Today’s result was easily the 22-year-old’s best in MotoGP qualifying after he had previously started ninth on the grid in Qatar and Le Mans. After racing to a career first top six at the last round in Catalunya, Smith is confident he can produce another strong race tomorrow to strengthen his challenge for a place inside the top 10 in the World Championship standings.

Cal Crutchlow 1st 1.34.398 – 9 laps:

“It feels fantastic to have finally got my first pole position in MotoGP. It might have been a different story if Jorge (Lorenzo) wasn’t injured but you can only beat the guys on track and I did that today. It would have been good to have a dogfight for pole position with Jorge because it was obvious before his crash that he was going to be the man to beat. Hopefully at some stage this year I’ll be having a battle with him for the win. It is a great achievement for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because it is not often a non-factory rider gets a pole position in MotoGP. The competition is incredibly tough but today we showed again that we can compete with the very best. I’m particularly pleased to be on pole because I’ve been struggling a bit with the bike in the dry. I wasn’t happy in FP4 and if we can make the bike calmer there is no reason why I can’t go faster. I’m looking forward to the race now with a lot of confidence and we will see what happens but it could be a big battle hopefully for the fans to watch. Congratulations also to Bradley because he is not in the best physical condition and to be on the second row shows he is making big progress.”

Bradley Smith 6th 1.35.454 – 9 laps:

“Sixth position is a fantastic achievement and I am really happy. With Ducati not performing well at this track I took advantage of that situation and to be only one second away from pole position is also great. Starting on the second row gives me a good chance to follow the factory guys and also Cal if I can. The biggest goal for the race will be to learn as much as I can from racing against the very best in the world. I am expecting a tough race though because Assen is a really physical track and for my wrist it will not be easy to do 26 laps. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile staff again because they have done an awesome job in helping me be as comfortable and pain free as possible. I am feeling more confident with the bike and we found a good base for this track. I’m really excited to see what I can do in the race and congratulations to Cal on his pole position. He’s been riding awesome all season and today we saw once again just how strong the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is.”


Rossi Scores Fourth in Assen TT Qualifying

Assen (The Netherlands), 28th June 2013

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi secured fourth position in qualifying today for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Netherlands. After a wet morning practice the nine-time world champion enjoyed a dry qualifying session this afternoon, initially climbing to fourth position on his first set of rubber. With eight minutes remaining of the 15 minute quick-fire session Rossi pitted for a new rear tyre before heading back out. As the last minutes ticked down the pace increased and a potential pole position looked possible as he topped the time sheets with a 1’34.974 lap. A late flurry of hot laps from rivals as the clock hit zero left no time for a reply, leaving the Italian just 0.096 seconds off the front row in fourth for tomorrow’s race.

Having made a significant step forward in set up during the recent Spanish tests Rossi has been strong in both wet and dry conditions this weekend, consistently in the fastest group and showing a very competitive pace for race day.

Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo returns to Assen this afternoon after surgery last night in Barcelona to repair a collarbone injury sustained in yesterday’s wet second practice session. Lorenzo did not take part in the qualifying heat.

Valentino Rossi

4th / 1'34.974 / 9 laps

“I’m happy for my speed, my pace and my performance in the practices. I feel good with the setting of the bike. It's a pity I didn't stay on the first row as I think I had the potential to do a little better and stay in the first three. Anyway, I’m fourth, the best qualifying of the season and especially I have a good pace, even after a lot of laps so I’m happy. Now we wait for tomorrow, we have some small modifications to make to the settings and we have to hope that the weather will be good. I hope for a dry race, but if it is wet I hope it is 100% wet, half and half is the worst conditions.”

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“It has been the best qualifying session for Vale this year which is really promising as we know he is more of a racer than a pole man. He has been pretty fast and consistent in all the sessions so it looks like he is ready for tomorrow. It is important because it means we have made a good job in the last week. We are waiting for Jorge’s final status however we look forward to the race with good prospects whatever the weather conditions.”


Lorenzo Returns to Assen

Assen (The Netherlands), 28th June 2013

Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo returned to the Assen circuit at 6.15pm today to be reunited with his team. The World Champion flew directly from Barcelona following surgery last night to repair a broken left collarbone sustained in Thursday’s second free practice.

Lorenzo is in positive mood following the operation but is understandably tired after an exhaustive day so will now rest before attending a medical check tomorrow morning to be cleared for the MotoGP Warm Up session. Should he be cleared to ride he will then attend a further medical check following the session along with a team consultation before making a decision on whether to participate in the afternoon’s race.

A further update will be released following tomorrow morning's medical check to confirm Lorenzo's participation in the MotoGP Warm Up session.


Front row start for Marquez but disappointment for Pedrosa after crash in Q2

The drama continued in Assen at the Dutch TT today with another day of changeable conditions.

In the final minutes of this morning's wet-dry FP3 session, Marc Marquez suffered a big crash in turn 13 in his first exit on slick tyres on the drying track. Fortunately, he escaped serious injury but after further checks at Clinica Mobile, it was confirmed he had a small fracture in the intermediate phalanx of the little finger on the right hand and also in the first row phalanx of the big toe in his right foot. Unfazed, Marc went back on track for FP4 and finished fastest. He then executed a great Qualifying session securing his third front row start of the season, in second position, with a time of 1'34.755 on his final lap of 9.

For teammate Dani Pedrosa, it has been a frustrating end to his day. Dani, finishing 5th - just 0,248 seconds from Marc in FP4, was leading in Qualifying when he crashed in turn 7 midway through Q2. He arrived back in the garage with just two minutes left of the session, still leading by 0.3 with a time of 1'35.006, and opted not to go back on track. In the dying moments he was dislodged from the top spot and will start tomorrow's 26 lap race from 5th on the grid.

Marc Marquez 2nd 1'34.755

"The session went pretty well. It was very important that we took part in qualifying and got this position on the grid, as before FP4 we did not expect to get a spot on the front row. We were certainly not expecting second, because the pain in my finger was really affecting me. When I put my glove on it hurt a lot, as did my back - my foot wasn't as bad, fortunately. I tried to stay focused on the bike, despite the bruises, and we managed to get a good time. Today we were able to ride a hot lap, tomorrow we will have to see how we manage over 26 laps. The weather will also be a very important factor, because here it has been constantly changing this weekend"

Dani Pedrosa 5th 1'35.006

"We haven't had any sessions that have really been good for putting in laps and trying out things with the bike. The conditions of the track and the weather haven't really allowed us to improve the setup, because we've had very few laps on a completely dry track. However, in qualifying we were able to run a faster pace than in the rest of the practice sessions here. Despite the crash, the feeling is a lot better than it was yesterday. So, we will see if tomorrow we can get a good start and have a strong race"


BRADL GETS HIS FIRST FRONT ROW START FOR HIS 25TH MOTOGP RACE

Assen, 28 June: a frenetic qualifying session for the 65th Dutch GP concluded today with several riders grabbing provisional pole positions, including LCR racer Stefan Bradl who gained his first premier class front row ahead tomorrow’s 26-lap race. The German registered a best lap time of 1’34.878 on soft rubber at the floating 4.542km circuit, confirming his good shape after Mugello and Catalunya positive rounds and rewarding the LCR Team with this third place.

“Well... it’s a special day for me and for the LCR Team. This is my first front row in the top category and I am happy to share this special moment with Lucio and his Team. Even today we have experienced tricky conditions and both free sessions were pretty tough for me because I had to put too much energy in riding the bike. So we have changed something before the qualifying and it was a very good improvement as I could use the soft tyre in the best way gaining the 3rd place on the grid.”


BAUTISTA CONFIDENT FOR THE RACE

Alvaro Bautista is looking forward to tomorrow's Dutch TT despite starting from further back on the grid than he would have hoped after an impressive showing during free practice. Unfortunately at the moment of truth in qualifying he didn't have the confidence to push any harder but his pace on used rubber is promising with the race in mind. Bryan Staring continued to gather confidence and knowledge around this technically challenging track today, the closing the gap to the riders in front of him – a progression he hopes to continue tomorrow.

Alvaro Bautista (8th 1’ 35” 508) “I am not very happy with qualifying today because in free practice we managed to improve the setting compared to yesterday but for some reason this afternoon I wasn't as confident with it. Luckily I feel ready for the race because when we rode with used tyres in FP4 we had a good pace and if we can get a good start tomorrow I am convinced we can make up a lot of ground. It would have been better to be higher up the grid but in the end we have to be confident in our race pace.”

Bryan Staring (19th 1’ 37” 315) “I am happy because we have made some good progress from yesterday and we have a decent starting position for the race tomorrow. Now I feel more confident with the bike and the track, which I know my way around. It will be important to get a good start and stay consistent throughout the race if we are to fight with the guys in front of us tomorrow.”

Fausto Gresini “The grid position is not what we hoped for but the consolation is that we have good race pace that bodes well for tomorrow. Unfortunately Alvaro couldn't get confident enough with the bike to set a good lap time in qualifying so he will have to settle for a third row start. He has a good pace and if he gets a good start I think he can have a decent race. Bryan is making progress and has managed to improve his pace and make up positions today.”


POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR RIDERS IN BEST GRID POSITIONS OF THE SEASON

Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet, seventh and ninth, close to the top prototypes and ready for a great race

There was a sense of someone important missing on Friday at the Dutch TT with World Champion Jorge Lorenzo out of action with a broken collarbone. Lorenzo had surgery in Barcelona overnight and is returning to Assen, although whether he can race is still not confirmed. After a wet morning session the riders went into Q2 in the afternoon, with POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet both present and Márquez leading early on. Pedrosa took over at the top but then suffered a crash and did not go back out. Rossi, Bradl and Crutchlow all featured at the top, with the Briton eventually taking P1 for his first MotoGP pole. There is plenty of focus on the CRT class at Assen with those riders closer than ever to the top competitors ahead of Saturday’s race.

Following their great QP efforts the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet are in their best grid spots of the year, on the third row. They are looking forward to fighting with the factory prototypes in the race. Catalan rider Espargaró rode well on Friday and in Q2 worked gradually towards seventh place. Two places and a tenth of a second back De Puniet made it through to Q2 for the first time this year, by leading Q1. Around a second off pole, both POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders are feeling great, in both wet and dry conditions. Both are looking forward to the race.

7th Aleix Espargaró 1.35.500: “So far it has been a great weekend. Yesterday we were good in the wet and the dry. I had a feeling we could go well at this track but not this good! The flowing corner layout is useful for us here. It’s the first time that we are so close to the top factory bikes. The electronics package has also really improved which I’m happy about. I still feel we can improve some more in warm up. I want to fight with an official factory bike in the race and we know the conditions could be changeable in the race. We are optimistic, whatever the conditions.”

9th Randy De Puniet 1.35.622: “I’m really please with how it has gone today. Yesterday we were struggling with front and rear grip and we made some significant progress today. The team have worked really hard to improve my feeling. It was a good feeling to lead Q1 and to make it into Q2. I felt more confident today and if this base setting can be maintained I can feel big improvements in form coming from now on. The electronics are improving and the geometry settings are helping with the rear feeling. We’re making positive adjustments and we’re ready to race.”


Fourth and fifth rows for Ducati Team at Assen TT

The difficulties encountered by the Ducati Team during free practice yesterday at the Assen circuit continued in today’s qualifying sessions, and riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s Dutch TT from the fourth and fifth rows, respectively.

A strong wet FP3 performance this morning demonstrated that the team has a good rain setup for the Desmosedici GP13, but the issues in the dry meant both riders had to take part in Q1. That session took place in dry conditions, and while Hayden was able to advance through to Q2, Dovizioso was blocked by another rider on his fast lap. Hayden again struggled with a lack of feeling during the dry Q2 session and finished tenth.

Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:35.908)

“It’s a tough day for me and the team. After we made some changes overnight, the bike felt better in the wet this morning than yesterday, and I was immediately able to go faster. I was hoping those improvements might carry over into the dry, but then in FP4, the bike was still moving a lot, especially on corner entry. The tyres here have a pretty stiff carcass, which isn’t helping us, and I’m really fighting the bike a lot. I barely advanced through to Q2, and my time in that was over a second slower than in qualifying last year, which is too much. I hate to admit it, but I hope for rain tomorrow.”

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 15th (1:36.524)

“There’s not much to say: we’re simply not fast, the gap is big, and all of the Ducati riders are really far from the front. Nicky is the fastest among us, and even while riding well, he’s a second and a half back. I didn’t manage to advance into Q2, and I’m sorry for the whole team. Then Barbera came into this already-difficult situation and hindered me during my fast lap, making everything even more complicated. I was pushing and had done a split that was a tenth better when he entered the track in front of me with a new tyre and started to push as well, causing me problems. I know I shouldn’t have gestured at him, but my conscience is clear because I think I’m one of the most respectful riders in the championship. We’re starting from very far back, and it will definitely be a really long and difficult race, but we’ll try our hardest, as always.”


Fourth row for Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team

The qualifying sessions for this seventh round of the MotoGP world championship played out today at the Assen TT Circuit, where a nice crowd filled the grandstand.

It was another day marked by changing weather conditions, which inevitably influenced the work of the teams and riders and caused for a wide variation of times from one session to the next.

Andrea Iannone made a good improvement in FP4, giving him confidence following several challenging sessions. Unfortunately, the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team rider fell just a couple of minutes from the end of Q1, and he’ll have to be content with starting from the fifth row along with his compatriot, Andrea Dovizioso.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team

“Unfortunately, I fell just as I was improving. I’m not sure what happened because I overdid it. I didn’t have a lot of trust in the front, but I wanted to try to push anyway. I wanted to improve my time, and I thought I could go faster to understand if it was just a problem of feeling with the bike, but I honestly don’t understand it. I’ll try again tomorrow, but I must say that for the moment, this is the most difficult track we’ve tried. I’m certainly sorry to have crashed, as it’s never nice, but at least it happened while I was really giving it my all. It’ll be a difficult race because at the moment, I’m always on the limit. Here, I’m risking as soon as I start braking. Today I was vertical; I hadn’t even begun the turn, and I was already on the ground. I’m having a hard time working the hard front tyre. It doesn’t flex, and although I’m faster in the changes of direction, I can’t use it as I would like. I need to be able to brake harder and push harder, but we saw what happened when I tried. For tomorrow, we still don’t have clear ideas, but I’ll speak with the engineers and see if we can find the best solution for the setup.”


11th place for Michele Pirro and the Ignite Pramac Racing Team

The qualifying sessions for this seventh round of the MotoGP world championship played out today at the Assen TT Circuit, where a nice crowd filled the grandstand.

It was another day marked by changing weather conditions, which inevitably influenced the work of the teams and riders and caused for a wide variation of times from one session to the next.

Thanks to some important set-up work and a good result obtained during FP1, in which he set 9th fastest time in 1'36.910, Michele and his Desmosedici GP13 'lab' bike entered directly into Q2, concluding the day with an 11th place on the grid for the Ignite Pramac Racing Team.

Michele Pirro - Ignite Pramac Racing Team

“With the cold weather we should have obtained better results, but because of the lack of the grip today, probably due to more rubber on the track, it just didn’t happen. We recorded the same time as yesterday, but it took more effort, and we have to find out the reason why. Tomorrow we have to understand why our bike is not stable and I don’t think it makes much difference if it rains or not. Dovizioso and Nicky have more or less the same problems as we do, and our results have not changed much so far. We still have quite a lot of work to do. "


Crutchlow claims first ever MotoGP™ pole position at Assen

Round 7: Dutch MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice

Assen, Friday 28 June 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium-soft & Medium (Asymmetric)

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)

Weather: FP3 - Wet. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 15-17°C (Bridgestone measurement)

FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 17-17°C; Track 22-22°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow’s stunning form this MotoGP™ season hit a new high after the British rider claimed his first ever pole position in an enthralling qualifying session at Assen.

In conditions that were far from easy for the riders due to cool track temperatures and a strong breeze, Crutchlow stopped the clocks on his last lap in QP2 with a time of 1’34.398 that saw him relegate Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez to second place by 0.357 seconds. Qualifying on the front row for the first time in his career was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who secured an excellent third place in qualifying with a best lap time of 1’34.878. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was again the best of the CRT qualifiers, the Spaniard’s quickest lap time of 1’35.500 sees him line up on the third row for tomorrow’s race in seventh position.

In a mirror image of yesterday, today’s on-track action was again affected by rainfall with wet conditions for the morning FP3 session before a dry track presented itself for FP4 and the two qualifying sessions in the afternoon. The wet track for FP3 meant that no riders were able to better their lap times from FP1, so the results determining which riders qualified directly for QP2 remained unchanged from yesterday. Both wet and slick tyres were used in Free Practice 3 as the track conditions quickly changed from wet to dry with some damp patches, creating highly variable grip levels which caught out some riders. For FP4 and qualifying track temperatures reached their maximum level at 22°C, with all riders selecting softer rear slicks to ensure the best grip and warm-up in the cool conditions. Front tyre choice was more varied, with most riders preferring the greater cornering and braking stability of the harder front slick, while other riders seeking the maximum amount of front-end grip possible and selecting the extra-soft compound front slick. As both front slick compounds for Assen are the two softest in Bridgestone’s line-up, both options are well suited to running in cool conditions.

The 65th Dutch TT will start at 1500 local time tomorrow (GMT +2) with the riders taking to the track beforehand for the morning Warm Up session at 0940.

Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“That was a truly fantastic qualifying session in conditions that weren’t easy for the riders and congratulations to Cal on his first pole position and also Stefan for his first ever front row in MotoGP. As expected the rain earlier today and cool temperatures meant that grip levels were not optimal and this was reflected in the lap times that were slower than in qualifying last year. Riders had the chance to try wet tyres today on a track that was wet but drying quickly and managing tyre performance in such conditions could be a major factor for the race if we have rain tomorrow. If the race is dry, it seems that all riders will most likely select the softer rear slick, but at the front it is less clear as although the majority of riders seem to prefer the harder front option, if temperatures are cooler tomorrow then some riders may opt for the better edge grip and warm-up performance of the softer front slick.”

Round Number: 
7
Year: 
2013

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