Pol Espargaro has topped the timesheets at the conclusion of the opening Moto2 practice session at the Dutch TT. The Kalex rider ended the session a tenth of a second ahead of championship leader and title rival Scott Redding. The gap to Dominique Aegerter in third was almost half a second, setting up the prospect of a mouth watering head-to-head battle between Espargaro and Redding during Saturday's race.
Riding a wave of momentum from his hometown victory in Catalunya, Jorge Lorenzo has shown fantastic form in the opening practice session of the Dutch TT at Assen. The factory Yamaha rider set the pace by three tenths of a second with a lap time of 1:35.263. Cal Crutchlow was his closest rival on the timesheets finishing up in second place, a further three tenths ahead of Marc Marquez in third.
Maverick Vinales has stamped his authority on the Moto3 class at Assen, leading the first session of free practice by over four tenths of a second. The Team Calvo rider finished ahead of title rivals Luis Salom and Alex Rins, but the gaps were large. Niklas Ajo, in fourth, was already over a second behind Vinales, and at the head of a big group all much closer together. Interesting name in among that was Dutch wildcard Bryan Schouten, the FTR Honda rider having secured some very strong results in the Spanish CEV championship, and now doing well at his home round.
Wednesday at Assen is always a rather odd day. At most rounds, Wednesday is a travel day, and the paddock regulars spend the day in airports, planes and hire cars. But because the race at Assen is on Saturday, the events that normally take place on Thursday such as the pre-event press conference, happen a day earlier. That leaves everyone with the racing equivalent of jet lag, their bodies and minds 24 hours behind events. Mentally, we are all prepared for a day of torpor and inaction.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's Dutch TT at Assen:
Yamaha Prepare for Historic TT Assen
Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 25th June 2013
Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of Saturday's Dutch TT at Assen:
TVM one event sponsor RW Racing GP for Dutch TT
To the occasion of the Iveco Dutch TT insurance company TVM will be the one event sponsor of RW Racing GP. Jasper Iwema and Jakub Kornfeil will take part in the home race of their team with a green banner on their bikes.
Ask anyone what makes a great circuit, and they will tell you that it takes three things: fast corners, great scenery and lots of elevation changes. So what makes the TT Circuit at Assen so great? It only really has one of the three factors that makes it a great circuit: if the track has elevation changes, they can be measured in centimeters. The scenery is mostly absent, though that does allow more of a view of the expansive skies the Dutch masters of the 17th Century were so famed for.
For the past five years, the world of MotoGP has been obsessed with cost-cutting, introducing a range of measures aimed at reducing the expense involved in racing. Unfortunately - and unsurprisingly - many of the actions meant to cut costs have done nothing of the sort, saving money in one area only to increase spending in others.
The real solution to MotoGP's malaise is of course a monetary one. If money is in short supply in the series, then what is needed are efforts to raise yet more money. Only be increasing sponsorship will the sport start to grow again.
The Dutch TT at Assen looks like being a very busy few days for everyone looking for a ride next year. The end of June has been earmarked as a deadline for all sorts of negotiations, from rider contracts to bike projects. Decisions will be made and contracts - or at least letters of intent - will be signed. A lot of paperwork should get done by the time the trucks roll out of the paddock on Sunday, heading for Germany and the Sachsenring.
In 1952, Doris Lessing, a Nobel prize-winning author, was one of a group of writers and prominent intellectuals who visited the Soviet Union, then in the iron grip of Joseph Stalin, one of history's greatest criminals and murderers. She was introduced to the political leaders of the country, and escorted around the nation by the Russian secret police. Lessing, along with the others on the trip, returned home to write gushing praise of the Soviet Union, describing it as 'a land of hope.'
Jorge Lorenzo has won the last two MotoGP rounds in utterly dominating style. Though his win at Mugello was by a greater margin, the victory at Barcelona was one of the most impressive of his career. Afterwards, both Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg and Monster Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow said of the Barcelona win that it was probably one of the best races he had ever ridden. Lorenzo had made only one mistake, the Spaniard said afterwards, and it was so small it did not even show up on the data.
The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team today issued the following press release, detailing the progress being made by Bradley Smith after the operation to repair his damaged finger, and to fix the scaphoid in his left hand:
Bradley Smith recovering well from successful double surgery
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Bradley Smith returned to the UK yesterday (Thursday) to continue his recovery from successful left hand and wrist sugrery he underwent in Barcelona on Monday.
The press release issued by the Repsol Honda team after their final day of testing at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
Marquez completes productive Aragon Test
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez has completed the Aragon test, spending valuable hours getting to know his RC213V machine in more detail.
The Motorland Aragon test is over. After the second day of good weather at the Aragon circuit, Marc Marquez finally got a chance to ride the 2014 version of the RC213V which Honda had brought to the track, while Suzuki solved the braking problems which De Puniet had been having, and allowed him to find an extra burst of pace.
As is the case after every race weekend, Bridgestone today issued their post-race debrief press release, with the Japanese tire company's view of the weekend. With tires a subject of constant discussion during the weekend, there is much to talk about, but the most intriguing nugget of information in this press release comes in Aoki's explanation of why all of the prototype riders went for the soft rear tire, and the role which electronics and set up has come to play in determining tire choice.