Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Thursday's truncated day of practice at Assen:
Simoncelli fastest in the morning; afternoon sessions cancelled
Round 7: Dutch TT – Free Practice One & Two
TT Assen Circuit, Thursday 23 June 2011
Bridgestone wet compounds available: Front: Soft. Rear: Soft
Press releases after Thursday from the 125cc and Moto2 teams at Assen:
Day off because of oil on the track
Luis Salom, like all other rider, had an unexpected day off. All free practices on the Dutch TT track were cancelled in the afternoon, after Alex Baldolini blew up his engine in the morning practice in Moto2, leaving an oil track on the tarmac of at least one kilometer long. Due to the rain the oil spread over the track leaving a spillery film on the wet tarmac.
The oil spill which caused the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class at Assen to be red-flagged eventually ended up having major consequences. Alex Baldolini toured for nearly a quarter of a lap dropping oil on the track in the pouring rain before realizing that his engine had a problem and pulling off the track.
A grenaded engine in Moto2 FP1 has had dramatic consequences. The engine of Alex Baldolini MGM Forward Racing Suter let go in the final minutes of FP1, depositing oil on the track, but due to the spray and rain, Baldolini was unable to see the problem, and Baldolini cruised around for half a lap with oil pouring from his bike.
Stefan Bradl has topped the shortened first session of Moto2 free practice, which ended up red-flagged and then canceled after a series of crashes left petrol and oil on the track, and the cleanup took longer to complete than hoped. Kenan Sofuoglu ended the session in 2nd, looking much more comfortable at a track he knows very well, while Simone Corsi finished in 3rd.
The rain at Assen started to fall in earnest towards the end of the first session of free practice for the 125cc class at Assen, and even the early times were set on a cold and greasy track. Jonas Folger was the fastest of the 125cc class, ending FP1 ahead of Sandro Cortese and Maverick Viñales, while Nico Terol ended the session in 4th.
There was naturally only one topic of conversation in the paddock in Assen, and I'm sure you won't be shocked to hear that it wasn't the composition of the new Greek cabinet. Valentino Rossi's brand new Ducati, the legality of using parts for a 2011 bike which have been tested for a 2012 machine, and what this all means about the machine that Casey Stoner left behind for Valentino Rossi, all these things were discussed, but really, they all boil down to what is rapidly becoming the most over-debated topic in motorcycle racing at the moment: Valentino Rossi vs Casey Stoner.
Spain is to continue to form the backbone of the MotoGP championship. After earlier announcements that the Valencia, Jerez and Motorland Aragon circuits would be organizing MotoGP rounds through 2016, today, Dorna announced that it had agreed to extend its contract with the Circuit de Catalunya (which hosts the Barcelona round of MotoGP) for the next five years. The agreement means that there will be four rounds of MotoGP in Spain through 2016, three of which are dotted in Spain's northeastern corner.
Press release previews of Assen from the 125cc and Moto2 teams:
RW Racing GP in TVM-colors
Luis Salom will start the Iveco Dutch TT in green and white, the colors of insurancecompany TVM. For its home race RW Racing GP signed a sponsor contract with the Dutch company that is based in Hoogeveen, not far from Assen.