Although Valentino Rossi topped the timesheets in this morning's final practice, just stealing the fastest time with his final lap of the session, it was Casey Stoner who once again dominated the free practice. Stoner consistently ran lap after lap of 1'37 and low 1'38 times, faster than anyone else. Rossi was quick, but not as consistent as the young Australian championship leader.
|2||14||Randy DE PUNIET||KAWASAKI||1'38.040||0.212||0.212|
Eurosport commentators Toby Moody and Randy Mamola have reported that Toni Elias' broken leg is worse than at first feared. Elias is said to have suffered a spiral fracture, or torsion fracture. This is a very serious kind of fracture, which takes a long time to heal. Elias could be out for up to 11 months, ending his season, and possibly much of next season as well. More information will follow, as it becomes available.
~~~ UPDATE ~~~
Gresini Honda's Toni Elias crashed heavily during the first free practice session at Assen, breaking his leg. He is out for the rest of the weekend, according to autosport.com. Elias crashed at exactly the same part of the circuit where Valentino Rossi broke his wrist last year, the fast section into the Ramshoek corner before the final GT chicane. No word as yet of a replacement.
~~~ UPDATED ~~~
MotoGP Assen Preview - The Disappearing Cathedral
After Dani Pedrosa hinted darkly that he could abandon Honda if the RC212V doesn't improve very soon, people were obviously very interested in what Alberto Puig, Pedrosa's mentor, would have to say about Pedrosa's threats. So, the Spanish radio network phoned Puig to ask, and AS.com transcribed the conversation.
Rather old news by now, but in an interview on MotoGP.com, Ian Wheeler, Communication Manager of the Kawasaki Racing Team confirmed that Roger Lee Hayden, the youngest of the three racing Hayden brothers, would be riding the Kawasaki ZX-RR at the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. At least, that's what Kawasaki hope.
Ever since Honda proudly presented their 800cc RC212V MotoGP bike, the consensus has been that it was designed with one man in mind: Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa. The dissenters countered that was far too risky a strategy to entrust the future of HRC's MotoGP project on a single rider. Riders are, as Ronald ten Kate so poetically put it, like ships, but the teams are the harbors. No guarantees exist that a rider will stay with a single team for his entire career, and an injury can change everything.
MotoGP Donington Race - No Room For Doubt
The relatively small grid in MotoGP has been a thorn in Dorna's eye for several years now. To remedy this situation, the organization which runs the MotoGP series is starting to put pressure on the manufacturers which only run factory teams (Suzuki and Kawasaki) to provide extra machinery to satellite teams, to enlarge the grid, and increase the talent pool in the premier class. Up until this weekend, it looked like Suzuki were going to do just that, by providing at least one extra bike in MotoGP next year.
While the weather gods had thrown just about everything they had at the Donington Park circuit on Friday, Saturday turned out to be a much better day. That "much better" should be seen in the light of yesterday's deluge, however, as the weather could hardly be regarded as glorious. But although it had been gray and overcast, tt least it had stayed dry for both the morning and the afternoon session.
A dry session, and a big surprise: Nicky Hayden finally leads a session.