2015 Assen MotoGP Friday Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and others after qualifying at Assen:


Rossi Claims Phenomenal Pole Position at the Cathedral

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi gave a stunning performance today to claim a perfect pole position for tomorrow's TT Assen, setting a new circuit best lap record. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a competitive pace but was pushed down the order in the final stages of the session and qualified on the third row.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi wasted no time today in the dry Q2 session to put in some incredible hot laps around the TT Circuit Assen, setting a new circuit best lap record of 1'32.627 and securing the 61st pole position of his career.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo was unable to ride the hot lap he had in mind and will start tomorrow's race from eighth on the grid.

Topping the combined free practice times after FP4, Rossi was determined to drop a hot lap during the 15 minute long time attack. He was the first man to leave pit lane and momentarily took pole before dropping down the order to eighth place. His second attempt didn't gain him any places, but his third hot lap moved him up to fifth.

He hastened back to his pit box for some fresh tyres with seven minutes left on the clock. After a minute he was ready to hit the track once more. The Italian was unable to improve on his next lap, dropping down to eighth in the ranking order, but this only seemed to motivate him even more. Completely focused on getting that all important front row start, he gave it his all on his final push and delivered a brilliant 1'32.627 lap to claim pole. Rossi's stunning pole is 0.835s quicker than the previous circuit best lap record set by Marc Marquez last year.

Teammate Lorenzo also posted some very competitive times, but was unable to keep up his front row qualifying streak of four in a row. He started the Q2 session with an opposite approach to his usual strategy. This time he was the last rider out of the box, to be assured of some clear track space. He briefly took provisional pole with a strong first flying lap of 1'33.146, before being pushed back down to fourth place. On his next lap he improved his time by 0.029s, moving up to third, and quickly returned to the pits for a new set of rubber.

He rejoined the track with a little less than six minutes left on the clock. The Spaniard posted a second fastest time of 1'33.044 on his next hot lap, before being pushed back to fourth. He improved his time by two thousandths of a second on his next lap, leaving him 0.415s from the front, but it was not enough to keep him on the second row. He will start tomorrow's race from eighth on the grid.

Valentino Rossi

1st / 1'32.627 / 9 laps

"Assen is always special for me, because I have great memories here. I have won here in the past and a lot of important races in my career took place at this circuit. I love this track, because it's fantastic. There's already a lot of crowd assembled here today and this is a good moment, because it gives you a special feeling when you get the pole position, especially for me, because it doesn't happen that often. Getting pole position is vital for tomorrow. It was very important that I started the weekend well, beginning with yesterday's first practice session. I felt good with the bike and started with a good basic setting. Today's result is important because I wanted to start more in front, because we always struggle a lot when qualifying on the second and third row."

Jorge Lorenzo

8th / 1'33.042 / 8 laps

"We improved the bike a lot and I'm very happy about this. In free practice four I was very competitive with a used tyre, but unfortunately I couldn't make a very explosive lap during qualifying. I rode four laps that were very similar, but not one was fast enough to be in the first row, so we are going to start from the third row for the first time. We still need to improve in some parts, because we are very fast in T1 and T3, but we were missing something in T2 and T4, especially during qualifying, but our pace is quite good in every sector. The challenge for tomorrow is to make a good start. The race is very long so the most important thing is that there won't be any rain and I think that with some patience we can little by little make our way to the top."

Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

"It was a superb pole position for Vale, something we don't see very often! They have worked hard preparing for the race and have put in a lot of effort to do well in qualifying. Even if Valentino is satisfied about the bike's set up, there are still some little things to improve for the warm up. Jorge improved the feeling with his bike and he has been fast and consistent in all the free practices. Unfortunately the qualifying didn't go as we expected and he has to start from the third row, but I am confident that he will be back at the front for tomorrow. I expect it to be a tough race, but I am certain that we will be key protagonists."


ESPARGARO & TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 2ND AT ASSEN

Team Suzuki Press Office – June 26.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro put in an astonishing qualifying-lap to claim second place on the grid for tomorrow’s eighth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship at Assen in The Netherlands with the time of 1'32.858; just 0.231-seconds from Pole Position.

However, the day didn’t start so positively, the 25-year-old Spaniard struggling to find confidence in his GSX-RR, which resulted in 12th in the combined classification and out of direct access to Q2. Yet the 1'33.380-time he scored in the first qualifying granted him a ticket to fight for the top-12. This is his third time on the front-row this year following his second place in Argentina and his Pole Position two weeks ago at his home round in Catalunya, Spain.

Team-mate Maverick Viñales also made solid progress, finally managing to find a proper set-up and feel competitive on his machine: The 1'33.526 scored in FP3 set him in eighth place with direct access to Q2. Unfortunately, a bad feeling with the first set of tyres took him away from the track for some time and prevented him making further time-attacks. His best lap in 1'33.076 sets him in ninth place on the grid for tomorrow.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“We have been working hard since the very beginning here at Assen. It was hard to find the best set-up to suit our riders immediately but at the end of the day this qualifying gave us a positive result. Aleix did an extraordinary lap and will start from second place.

“We know we are performing well but probably nobody was expecting the first-row seeing how the free practices went and we are happy with this. The race will be tough but starting from the front is a good point and Aleix could have a good pace.

“Maverick also did a very good job; he consistently-improved his performance and finally got less than half-a-second from the Pole, which is positive even if he starts from the ninth place. However the most important thing is the pace and the consistency in performance. If he is able to do one of his recoveries, as he has done previously, he should have a very good race.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made. We have improved my GSX-RR a lot since Friday. We had a bad start and had to completely change the bike; I had a lot of chattering and with Tom we decided to change a lot on the front. This is not an easy thing to do but we knew we could do much better. We have also tried some of the set-ups that we tried in Aragon but they weren’t effective here, so we looked for new solutions.

“In Barcelona, everything was easier while here we struggled more, but at the end I feel I have a good pace and also the fastest-lap is very quick. Here at Assen, the first corner is closer to the start than in Barcelona; therefore I hope I will be able not suffer too many overtakes. It’s important to start from the first-row but we must be aware that qualifying is only one lap and race is longer, but the pace I have makes me confident I can aim for the top-six.”

Maverick Viñales:

“I’m happy because we’ve improved a lot since yesterday. This morning we did a very good lap and now we have improved by nearly half-a-second. This means we are doing a really good job, but of course we want more because we feel really competitive and we know that if we make a perfect job we can be very close to the top. But honestly, MotoGP now is nearly like Moto2; if you miss one-or-two tenths you may be ninth or 10th, while being faster by only a few-tenths you can be fifth or fourth.

“Today in qualifying I had a bad feeling with the first set of tyres; I don’t know what happened, but I felt the bike was always sliding and unstable, then I suddenly changed bikes with the other tyres and I improved a lot. Tomorrow will be a hard race, but I need to be fighting with the top riders and stay close to the front, so the first laps will be crucial to stay with the top riders and have a really good race.”


Front row start for Marquez with Pedrosa 4th in closely contested qualifying

Qualifying for the Assen TT was an incredibly tough battle with the top seven riders separated by just 0.4 seconds. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez secured a front row start in third place for tomorrow’s 26 lap race after recording his fastest time of 1’32.886 on his final lap of eight. Teammate Dani Pedrosa missed out on the front row by just 0.1 seconds and will start from 4th with his best time of 1’32.987 on his penultimate lap of nine.

Marc Marquez

3rd 1'32.886

"Every rider was on the limit in qualifying. I'm happy, because we knew this circuit was going to be tough for us, but still we are close to Valentino and Jorge, who are very fast and smooth here. We are finding things a little tougher as we are still missing a tenth or half a tenth, but we will try to be as close as possible to them tomorrow and see what happens. I think it will be difficult, especially against Valentino."

Dani Pedrosa

4th 1'32.987

"Today was useful for confirming the setup of the bike as we were fortunate to be able to have dry track time again for most of the day. In the qualifying session it was amazing how close the times were and I’m happy to have qualified a bit better than at the last Grand Prix in Catalunya. We’ll try to have a good start tomorrow and hope we can do well and have a good race!"


Sixth-quickest time gives Iannone a row 2 start in Assen TT. Dovizioso on row 4 in tenth place

Ducati Team riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso qualified in sixth and tenth place respectively at the Assen TT circuit in the Netherlands and will start from rows 2 and 4 of the grid for Saturday’s eighth round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship.

In the morning’s FP3, Iannone and Dovizioso were third and fourth quickest, and went directly into the decisive Q2 session, while in the afternoon they were ninth and seventh in FP4.

In the qualifying session, valid for the first four rows of the grid, Iannone set sixth quickest time in 1’33.016 on his second run with soft tyres, just 0.389s away from Rossi’s pole mark. Despite being 0.485s off pole, Dovizioso’s time of 1’33.112, which he also set on soft tyres, was 0.485s away from the pole, but he could only record tenth place and as a result will start from row 4.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1'33.016 (6th)

“A row 2 grid slot is important after the way things went today, but with a bit more fine-tuning we can still improve. Unfortunately on my best lap I found another rider almost stopped in the middle of the track in the last sector and this made me lose some time. We have got a good overall set-up but I am still having a bit of difficulty, especially in the changes in direction, and so we have to analyze the data and understand the reason why. However I’m calm about it because I know we’ve done another step forward, even though it’s not exactly what we want because our aim is to fight for the top positions. In any case we have to be confident because we have the right basis to be more competitive.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1'33.112 (10th)

“It’s really a pity about my qualifying result because I had a good feeling, the bike’s performance was good and I had a chance of doing well. I was just not very good at putting all the best split times together on the same lap and this cost us dearly. There are tracks like these where we’re all bunched together and it’s very easy to lose out. It was important to start further up the grid, because at this circuit you can’t gain much at the start and there isn’t even a long straight where you can overtake. A bit of a pity really, but unfortunately that’s the way things went today. At this point I will try and get a good start tomorrow and then attempt to make up as many places as possible.”


SEVENTH AND EIGHTH ROW FOR BAUTISTA AND MELANDRI

Assen (Holland), 26 June 2015 - The qualifiers were held today at Assen to define the starting grid for the Dutch GP which, in accordance with tradition, will be raced on Saturday.

As always, development continued on the Aprilia RS-GP. It was a positive day, especially in free practice, for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, but in the end with some contrasting results for the two riders.

In fact, after the first two practice sessions where comforting progress was demonstrating, finishing FP3 in 17th place (with 1’34,668) and FP4 in 16th (1’35,307), Alvaro Bautista was hindered by a troubling vibration in the decisive session (QP1) which he finished with the 21st best time (1’34,736) that places him on the seventh row. Marco Melandri, with the 24th best time (1’36,376) will start from the eighth row.

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)

“It was a positive day both in FP3 and in FP4. It's a shame that then, just in the decisive qualifying session, Alvaro had a vibration that significantly limited his performance, keeping him from repeating the level of performance he had shown in free practice. Obviously we'll try to solve the problem for the race, but it is still disappointing because we definitely could have taken home a better result today.”

FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)

“We were expecting something more in the qualifiers. Unfortunately a problem with chattering came up that kept Alvaro from improving. Without this problem we would have been able to start from a better spot on the grid, but now the important thing is to stay focused on the race. We can race a good Grand Prix, which for us means crossing the finish line and collecting points, but above all gathering information useful for developing the bike.”

ALVARO BAUTISTA

“This morning we focused on the setting to improve our race pace and the results were rather positive. Then in FP4 we tried to maintain a good pace on used tyres and in this case we also are quite satisfied with the results. In qualifying, however, the bike vibrated a lot in turns and I was unable to improve on my times. Now we'll try to figure out why and if there is actually a problem we'll try to solve it for the race. Our goal for tomorrow is still the same: maintain our pace, make it to the end and gather important data for development. If we are able to battle with the other riders to finish in the points, so much the better.”

MARCO MELANDRI

“I like this track a lot but we still aren't where we need to be with the chassis. Tomorrow I'll try to make a few changes to see if we can find the balance that I've been lacking to push hard. We'll see tomorrow.”


CRUTCHLOW TO START SEVENTH IN DUTCH TT

CWM LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow will start Saturday’s Dutch TT from the third row of the grid, just missing out on the front row by less than two-tenths of a second. The forecast rain showers only appeared briefly during the morning free practice session, allowing the MotoGP riders to push to the limit during the final qualifying quarter-hour, and with the top 11 on the grid separated by less than half a second, expectations are for a tight race.

The British rider has put a lot of work in on old tyres during the weekend, and is confident this will pay off during the 26-lap event. He is hoping to bring an end to his run of bad luck, which has seen him fail to finish at the last three races.

Cal Crutchlow #35 – 7th (1’33.028)

“Obviously I’m disappointed to be in seventh and on the third row for the race, but the times are so close that it honestly could have been anybody on the front row or anyone on the fourth row.”

“Overall, though, I’m happy enough because we’ve done a lot of laps on used tyres, and an especially good stint in Free Practice four with the used tyre. I was quite pleased with that, and hopefully that will pay off in tomorrow’s race.”

“The aim is to get a good start and get past the two Espargaro brothers immediately, and then push on to be with the top five guys because I think our pace is there.”


Petrux (11°): "I've done my best. I'm very satisfied". Yonny (14°): "I can do a good race"

During the spectacular Friday's qualifications ended up with 11 riders in less than half of a second and a tenth of a secon between the second and the fourth row, Danilo Petrucci has once again proved to be one of the man to beat in Q1 winning the access to Q2 for the sixth time so far. Yonny Hernandez showed signs of growth after a difficult Thursday. In the Dutch Grand Prix which will be held on Assen circuit tomorrow, for the last time on Saturday, the two riders of OCTO Pramac Racing will start respectively from the fourth and fifth row.

Petrux confirmed the positive feelings of Thursday's practice lapping strong in FP3 and finishing in 11th place, just 59 milliseconds from the Top 10. In Q2 Danilo recorded the great laptime of 1'33.126, only 11 cents of a second away from the second row. Petrucci will start from 11th position.

Yonny Hernandez has instead had to settle for 14th position (fifth row) at the end of a day where he seemed to have found greater feeling with his bike but he couldn't take that extra step to gain the access to Q2. The rider of Medellin ended with the sixteenth time the FP3 managing to improve in Q1 by 6 tenths of a second his best lap time. Unfortunately the chrono of 1'33.875 was not enough to win the chance to fight for the top 4 rows.

11th - Danilo Petrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing # 9 - 1'33.126

“A very good qualifying. I was a bit worried before Q1 because during FP4 I did not go well. I was afraid of losing a little feeling but after having restored the morning set up, the bike was back very fast. I did a good time using the old tires then we put the new tires in front and back, and the time attack was super. At the end the 11th place does not say the truth about the performance: with a tenth of a second less I would be in the second row. Now we have to find something to be competitive with a full tank. I thank the team who did a great job. I could do better? Of course, you can always do better but I feel I've done my best and I'm very pleased with how things went.

14th - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing # 68 - 1'33.875

This weekend is rather difficult. We could not be competitive but that does not mean I can not do a good race tomorrow. We'll try to find new solutions during the warm up in order to have more feeling. Qualifying did not go well, but what matters is only the race and I think I can be in conditions to fight for the Top 10.


Sixth row start for Redding at Assen

Assen, The Netherlands - 26 June 2015: Scott Redding's difficult weekend at Assen continued this afternoon, with the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider qualifying only 16th for tomorrow’s Dutch TT, despite a significant improvement in his lap time compared to yesterday.

Securing a place in QP2 was always going to be a tall order for Redding, with the softer option rear tyre giving his open class rivals a significant advantage around the fast and flowing Assen circuit. The 22-year-old Briton was 0.3s faster in QP1 than in FP4, but the improvement wasn’t big enough to put him through into the all-important second qualifying session.

While he was disappointed with his qualifying position, Redding was able to take some consolation from the fact that the consistency that had been missing yesterday was much improved today, which, together with a good rythym, will be critical in tomorrow’s 26-lap Dutch TT.

Scott Redding: 16th – 1’34.071

"Today was a bit better for us and I got a better feeling with the bike again. We improved the lap time with every exit and that's a positive thing. In previous races we’ve hit a wall with the lap time on day two, but today the improvements continued, although it was too late to secure a slot in QP2. We knew it was going to be tough in QP1, because I’ve struggled to make one flying lap and, here at Assen, we were aware of just how much of an advantage the soft option tyre would be. We’re now focussed on further improving my consistency for the race tomorrow.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"Basically I was expecting it to be a little bit better this weekend, after the result in Catalonia. This is a track that normally suits Scott and he has always had good results here in the past, but he just didn't have the pace yesterday. Today he improved by half a second, which is a lot, but in QP1 we had only our normal tyre. When you have the other riders using the super soft tyre, which gives such a big advantage here at Assen, it was always going to be difficult. Our starting position isn't what I was expected but there's a positive from it because this weekend we have improved in each session. The bike has been going quicker all weekend but, unfortunately, it wasn't quick enough for the top 12 in qualifying."


Espargaro speeds to fifth place in qualifying at the Motul TT Assen

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro will begin the 85th Dutch TT from the middle of the second row on the grid after pulling off an impressive qualifying performance aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard completed the opening session this morning with a best lap of 1’33.660 that left him in 9th, despite a small shower in the middle which cleared quickly. His time allowed him to progress straight through to QP2 and once the 15 minute contest started, the 24 year old pulled the pin instantly as he sought to clinch a top grid position for tomorrow’s 26 lap race. He went on to complete eight laps, with his top time being a 1’33.013 which was a mere blink of an eye from the front row by only 0.127. The confident charge by the 2013 Moto2 World Champion today sets him up for a strong display tomorrow where he intends to follow up his strong qualifying with a top 6 finish.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith will commence the 8th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship from 12th on the grid at the legendary Assen circuit. Smith delivered a notable performance in FP3 to seize 5th position with a 1’33.387 lap that was just 0.220 from the leading time. He surged into action when qualifying 2 began and posted a best time of 1’33.236 which saw him at the rear of the fourth row. Nevertheless, his time was just over two tenths back from his teammate in what was a fiercely competitive qualifying shootout. The British star will now look to undertake a typical rocket start from the grid and then battle for the leading satellite honours in the Motul TT Assen in order to follow up his double top five finishes at the previous two rounds.

Pol Espargaro

Position : 5th Time : 1'33.013 Laps : 8

"I am happy to begin from fifth on the grid as it has been a few races since I’ve started from the second row. The qualifying was really tight and I’m pleased that we were able to put a fast lap together, which was our ambition after yesterday’s practice. As we achieved this, we now have a good position to start from in tomorrow’s race. Unfortunately, the changes that we tried in FP4 didn’t work as well as we hoped and I couldn’t ride the bike as aggressively as I wanted to with the low grip levels. So we changed back to the setting that we used before and with the new tyres, things seemed to be a lot better straight away. Now we have to continue to work tomorrow in the warm up in order to be all prepared for the race."

Bradley Smith

Position : 12th Time : 1'33.236 Laps : 8

"I’m quite content with how the bike is feeling for the race tomorrow, so despite being a bit frustrated that I was only 0.2 from fifth, I am still optimistic. We tried a few different settings in FP4 which seem to be positive for the race and have definitely given us a good direction. Due to this, we were weighing up our options before QP2 and considered altering the settings for qualifying, but in the end we decided to remain with what we had. Perhaps we should have risked changing something, but then again, doing that is a gamble and it doesn’t guarantee anything. Nevertheless, I know that I left more than 0.2 on the track and our race pace is more competitive than our position is showing at the moment. I have made things a bit trickier for myself by starting from 12th, but with a strong start, we will be in the mix. Just by looking at the lap times today, we know the race will be very close, plus the track is narrow and so it will be a bit more difficult than usual to find somewhere to pass. Yet, the bike is good and I am looking forward to the 26 lap battle tomorrow."


Sixth row start for Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio in Assen

26/06/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Dutch Grand Prix - QP

The rain did not appear in Assen and the MotoGP riders had perfect conditions for qualifying practice today. The Avintia Racing team riders Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio finished 17th and 18th in a very close qualifying session and they will start the 26-lap race tomorrow from the sixth row of the grid. Barbera has been working in the race pace and, although he was not very fast in his flying lap, he expects to have a good result and increase his leading in the Open Class standings. His teammate in the Avintia Racing Mike Di Meglio will start just behind Barbera, the French rider has been working really hard in the geometry of the bike with his team and now he is more comfortable and faster.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 17th (P3 Open) 1'34.223 @HectorBarbera

Today was a little bit better, but to be honest we had more problems that we expected at this track. I think that we can make a good race tomorrow and my rhythm is good, I was not able to do a fast lap today but in the last few races we were the fastest in qualifying and then the races were a disaster. So tomorrow we’ll try to turn it down. I start from a good position and with good reference, my pace is good and I will try to stick with the riders that I have in front of me. I’m looking forward to start the race because now is the time to prove we can win the Open Class.

MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 18th (P4 Open) 1'34.289 @Mikejpp63

Today was a good day. My lap time is the same Iannone did last season and without the factory electronics, and we are also quite close to Hector who is using the GP14.1 that is a step ahead of our bike, so I’m satisfied. During this weekend we have changed many thing in the bike geometry and the bike agility has improved, it turns better and I get less tired. I think we have found a good direction. In the qualifying I’ve made a great lap time with my first tyre, my pace is good and I don’t need to be close to the limit to go fast, and this can be an advantage in the 26 laps of the race.


Bradl Open poleman in Assen

It was a very positive qualifying for the Athinà Forward Racing team the one that has just ended on the historic Assen circuit that tomorrow will be hosting the Dutch Grand Prix. As in practice yesterday, Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz were the fastest Open bikes and will start tomorrow from the fifth row of the grid to chase victory in the category.

Bradl, excluded from Q2 by just over two tenths, sits on top of the Open standings with an excellent 1.33.789, which earned him the 13th place on the grid. For the German the goal is to repeat the exploit of Montmelò and shorten the gap that separates him from Barbera for the leadership of the class.

Loris Baz is trailing him by just under three tenths. With a time of 1.33.999 he will start in 15th position. The Frenchman, which is not the best shape for an intestinal virus, is again targeting points.

Stefan Bradl

"I'm really happy with this result today and in general we have made a big step forward after Mugello and Barcelona. We have proven to be consistent and fast and we can fight for victory of the Open class. Tomorrow will be a long and tough race where the tires will begin to suffer after the first few laps: we have to be prepared".

Loris Baz

"It was not a bad qualifying considering that I’m not 100% fit because of an intestinal virus. In FP4 I was losing the rear a bit but I managed to find a good solution for qualifying. I am just over two tenths from Stefan, the fastest Open, I'm sure I can do a good race and get in the points-zone. Special thanks to the guys from Clinica Mobile, thanks to them I recovered fully and I was able to get on bike for today’s sessions”.


MILLER HAPPY DESPITE DISAPPOINTMENT IN QUALIFYING

Jack Miller will start Saturday’s Dutch TT from the seventh row of the grid after he set the 20th fastest time during Friday qualifying at the legendary venue. The CWM LCR Honda rider has shown good pace throughout the weekend, but with the whole field pushing hard in the latter stages of the 15-minute Q1 session, Miller slid back through the order.

Nonetheless, the Queenslander is confident of having a good race to follow up on the impressive 11th he grabbed two weeks ago in Barcelona. He has spent much of the weekend working on old tyres, and so hopes that this will hold him in good stead during the 26-lap shootout.

Jack Miller #43 – 20th (1’34.645)

“Of course it’s a little bit disappointing, but we’re reasonably happy because we’ve got good race pace. Actually, we managed to pull out not such a bad lap time if you look at it, but the pace has been so hot round here that it was tough on us. I’ve had a lot of fun getting more and more comfortable on the bike and things are just feeling better all the time.”

“I’m looking forward to the race, because we always seem to be stronger then, so I can’t wait to get away. Our overall pace makes me happy – we’ve done a lot of laps on soft tyres, and they seem to be working well so we will see what happens on Saturday.”


POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders determined to make comeback on raceday

Friday, 26 June 2015 16:46

Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden place 19th and 22nd in qualifying for Dutch TT at Assen

This second day of the Dutch TT saw the grid decided for Saturday’s race. In qualifying, Valentino Rossi took pole position at Assen in a closely fought session. With barely two minutes remaining, seven riders were on potential pole laps, but it was the Italian who took the top spot on the grid –ahead of Aleix Espargaró and Marc Márquez. The duo were 2 tenths behind Rossi. Both the Italian and teammate Jorge Lorenzo have been fast so far this weekend, but Marquez has also been quick at the Dutch track.

The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders were unable to qualify in a good position at Assen, but both believe they are able to fight back in the race on Saturday. Eugene Laverty has debuted a new swingarm this weekend and has continued his work with his setup. Although very consistent and stable with used tyres, he did not manage to place higher up the order on new tyres. Despite starting from nineteenth on the grid, the Northern Irishman believes that his bike will be more consistent in the second half of the race than at recent rounds.

Engine issues continued to plague Nicky Hayden on Friday morning. The solution used was to change engine in the last free practice session and continue with it for qualifying. A couple of mistakes on key laps took the American rider to twenty-second position. With his setbacks resolved, he believes he will be able to make a comeback tomorrow.

19th Eugene Laverty 1.34.428: "The bike worked well today with used tyres, but our times and our position in the qualifying session are not fantastic. In qualifying with my first tyre I set a good time, but couldn’t with the second. We gave everything we had, finishing as the top Open Honda, but still we are far behind. We can’t be happy with nineteenth on the grid, but it is the first time in the last few races that we can see a positive side. With the new swingarm we will be much consistent in the second half of the race with used tyres, and the feeling with the bike is really positive. This track is not exactly a Honda circuit and maybe that's why we qualified so far back, but I'm convinced that from now on we will be more competitive in the race, both tomorrow and beyond. Now we have found the right balance and we can control the rear grip, and I’m sure that this will help us to have a good race tomorrow."

22nd Nicky Hayden 1.34.972: "Yesterday my mechanics worked late to fix the problems we had with my first bike. This morning, after two corners, the issues reappeared. So we had to work with only the second bike and we were not able to compare some things. To solve the problem we chose to change the engine between one free practice session and another. We thought it was an electrical problem, but it seems to be something related to the engine. It's strange, because these bikes do not usually have problems in that aspect. In the final practice session we improved a bit and we had more consistency with used tyres. However, the qualifying session did not go well; the first lap was successful but on the next few we made several mistakes. We have been suffering so far, but I hope that tomorrow we can reverse the situation. It is not the first time this has happened to us and we have gone on to have a good race before, so I'm confident that tomorrow we can turn things around. At least we know that the intermediate tyre is the more useful for the race. Probably where we most need to improve is on acceleration at Turn 5, in the second sector. We will work to try to be ready for the race.”


SIFI, A NEW PARTNER FOR LCR HONDA

“Looks are important too…!”

The LCR Honda Team is proud to announce the arrival of a new Partner into its Sponsor Community.

Thanks to a collaboration with RTR Sports, a leading sports marketing and international sponsorship agency (www.rtrsports.co.uk ), the LCR Team has reached an agreement with SIFI, an Italian company based in Catania, who for over 80 years have focused on research and innovation in the ophthalmological field. For years they have exported their know-how throughout the world following the company slogan of “EyeCare Together”.

From today SIFI officially joins Lucio Cecchinello’s team for the remainder of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship, becoming one of the team’s Official Sponsors supporting experienced Briton Cal Crutchlow, who on board his factory Honda RC213V has been consistently battling for the top spots in the championship standings.

Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda Team Principal): “The collaboration with SIFI brings with it a great deal of pride and enthusiasm – uniting their experience in the ophthalmological field with ours in competitive sport. The aim is to work together to bond sport, scientific research and culture for the benefit of eye health. Specifically speaking, along with SIFI we plan to undertake studies (and their related EyeGym training protocols) in order to improve the visual performance of riders, who are constantly bombarded by rapid changes in eye stimuli. That’s as well as doing our part to spread the culture of prevention and treatment of eye disease, through our vast international audience. As we say in Italian... “l’occhio vuole la sua parte”, or “looks are important too” both in sport as well as in all of our daily lives.”

Fabrizio Chines (Executive Chairman of the SIFI group): “We are proud to be associating our brand with such a young and dynamic team involved in the world’s top motorcycle racing competition, which reminds me of the distinctive features behind SIFI’s own success. With that I mean a respect for the rules, attention to detail, team spirit and an ongoing dedication to research and development. That’s how SIFI competes within its market with some multinational big-players, pursuing its mission of providing diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to eye diseases and other ocular problems. The collaboration with the LCR Honda Team will also allow us to carry out some specific studies on visual performance under stressful conditions.”


ROSSI LEADS THE WAY AT LEGENDARY ASSEN

World championship leader Valentino Rossi took his first pole position of the season after leading the way at the legendary Assen circuit in Holland this afternoon. The 36 year old Italian, riding the Movistar Yamaha, has previously won eight times round the 2.8 mile circuit and is joined on the front row for the 26 lap MotoGP™ race by Aleix Espargaro and world champion Marc Marquez.

Isle of Man – based midlander Cal Crutchlow led the British challenge, qualifying in seventh place on the CWM LCR Honda at the circuit where he took pole a couple years ago. Bradley Smith starts from the fourth row after qualifying 12th, with Scott Redding 16th and Eugene Laverty 19th.

Moto3™ World Championship leader Danny Kent starts from the second row after qualifying in fourth place as he attempts to increase that massive 51 point championship lead on the Leopard Racing Honda. Seventeen year old Italian Enea Bastianini took his second successive pole, but it was tough qualifying for Scotsman John McPhee who was 23rd on the Racing Steps Foundation supported RTG Honda.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes starts from the front of the Moto2™ race after qualifying an impressive third. Championship leader Johann Zarco decimated the lap record to lead the way, with world champion Tito Rabat in second place.


Rossi razes Assen lap record to take pole position in Dutch Grand Prix qualifying

Round 8: Dutch MotoGP™ - Qualifying

Assen, Friday June 26 2015

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

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

Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 18-19°C; Track 26-28°C (Bridgestone measurement)

FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 36-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)

In a Qualifying Practice 2 session in which every participant set a lap time quicker than the old Assen pole position record, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi produced one his greatest qualifying performances in recent years to set a new Assen Circuit Best Lap record of 1’32.627 to claim pole position for tomorrow’s Dutch Grand Prix.

Rossi saved the best until last in qualifying, setting his benchmark time on his penultimate lap to take pole position ahead of Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro who was second quickest with a best time of 1’32.858. Third in qualifying was Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez who was a mere 0.028 seconds behind Espargaro with a best time of 1’32.886, set on his final qualifying lap. On a weekend where bike and tyre performance has been extraordinary, Rossi’s record time in QP2 shaved 1.1 seconds off the previous best ever pole position time at Assen, and also bettered the Assen Circuit Best Lap record set by Marquez last year by eight tenths of a second.

Weather conditions for today were mainly fine and warm, although the morning Free Practice 3 session was interrupted by a brief rain shower, although the rain didn’t have any lasting effect on track conditions. The peak track temperature today was 38°C which was four degrees cooler than yesterday’s high. With a good amount of dry track time today, the riders were able to perform long runs on their preferred tyre combination, and a clear picture on what tyre options will feature in tomorrow’s race emerged. The soft compound front slick will be used by the vast majority of riders, although the medium compound front slick could make an appearance on the grid for tomorrow’s race as well. Rear tyre choice is more evenly split between the soft and medium compound rear slicks. All of the open class, as well as the factory Aprilia and Suzuki riders are likely to select the soft compound rear for the race, while the factory Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders look set to race with the medium compound rear slick.

MotoGP™ Warm Up takes place at 0940 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow morning before the twenty-six lap Dutch Grand Prix gets underway at 1400.

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

“I am pleased to see the strong performance shown by all the riders today, the pace this year at Assen has been very quick and we’ve seen very few incidents which is always a positive outcome. Thankfully the rain we had today didn’t cause too much disruption and the riders were able to do long runs in FP4 to help decide on their race tyre choice. The soft compound front slick has emerged as the clear favourite this weekend, but for the rear tyre it seems that if the race is dry, half the grid will race with the soft rear, the other half on the medium rear as both these options are working very well. There is a chance of rain tomorrow, but hopefully we can enjoy an exciting race in dry conditions tomorrow.”


Tissot Pole Position Awards - Dutch TT

ROSSI ON POLE FOR FIRST TIME THIS SEASON

MotoGP™ Championship leader Valentino Rossi grabbed his first pole position of the season for the Dutch TT at the legendary Assen circuit this afternoon. The 36 year old Italian Yamaha rider, who leads team-mate Jorge Lorenzo by a single point in the Championship, decimated the three year old lap record around the 4.542kms circuit where he has won on eight previous occasions.

The nine times world champion received his pole setting Tissot T-Touch Solar watch from Pim Jans, the Brand Manager Tissot Netherlands. He is joined on the front row of the grid for the 26 lap race by the Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro, who was on pole a couple of weeks ago in Barcelona and World Champion Marc Marquez, who won the race last year. Tissot Ambassador Bradley Smith had looked quick throughout practice but struggled in qualifying and starts from the fourth row in 12th place. Stefan Bradl was the fastest rider in the Open Class on the Yamaha and starts from 13th with Nicky Hayden starting from eighth row of the grid.

New Tissot Ambassador Tito Rabat decimated the Moto2™ lap record but had to settle for second place on the grid when Championship leader Johann Zarco bettered his time towards the finish of the 45 minute qualifying session. Frenchman Zarco received his third Tissot T-Race Pole setting watch of the season – he has won from pole on the two previous occasions. The front row for the 24 lap race is completed by British rider Sam Lowes, with Tissot Ambassador Tom Luthi starting from the third row in eighth place.

Seventeen year old Italian Honda rider Enea Bastianini took his second consecutive Moto3™ pole, to receive his pole setting Tissot Quickster watch as he chases his first grand prix victory. He is joined on the front row for the 22 lap race by Jorge Navarro and Karel Hanika, with championship leader Danny Kent in fourth place.

FAST FACTS

MotoGP™

• Valentino Rossi starts from pole for the first time since the final race of 2014 at Valencia, which was also the last time he started from the front row. Rossi is the oldest rider to start from pole in the MotoGP class since Jeremy McWilliams at Phillip Island in 2002. The last time that Rossi won from pole was at the San Marino GP in 2009.

• In second place on the grid is Aleix Espargaro, who will be aiming to become the first Suzuki rider to finish on the podium at the Dutch TT since Kenny Roberts was second in 1999.

• Marc Marquez starts from the front row for the sixth time in 2015. Marquez has had four wins and a second place finish in the last five years at the Dutch TT.

• Dani Pedrosa heads the second row of the grid – his best qualifying result since the opening race of the year in Qatar. Pedrosa has not won at Assen since he took his maiden GP win in the 125cc class at the Dutch TT in 2002.

• For the first time this year Tissot Ambassador Stefan Bradl is the highest placed Open Class rider, in 13th place on the grid.

Moto2™

• Johan Zarco starts from pole for the third time in 2015; on both previous occasions this year he has started from pole he has gone on to win the race, in Argentina in Catalunya. This is the first time that a French rider has had back-to-back poles in the intermediate-class since Randy de Puniet at the final race of 2003 in Valencia and the first race of 2004 in South Africa. Zarco will be aiming to be the first French rider to win back-to-back races in the intermediate-class of grand prix racing since Christian Sarron in 1984.

• Tissot Ambassador Tito Rabat is starting from the front row for the seventh time in 2015. Assen is one of only two circuits on the current grand prix schedule where Rabat has not had a podium finish in the Moto2 class, the other is the Sachsenring.

• In the final place on the front row is Sam Lowes, who has finished 4th at the last three races and will be attempting to get back on the podium for the first time since he was third in Argentina.

Moto3™

• Enea Bastianini starts from pole for the second successive race. He is the first Italian rider to have back-to-back poles in the lightweight-class of grand prix racing since Simone Corsi in 2008, and he takes the record as the youngest ever Italian rider to start from pole at successive races.

• Jorge Navarro starts from second place on the grid, which equals his best ever qualifying result, at Le Mans earlier in the year.

• Karel Hanika has qualified on the front row for the first time in his grand prix career. Hanika has not managed to score any points since he had his best ever GP result at the third event of the year in Argentina, when he finished seventh.


Round Number: 
8
2015

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