Simoncelli stays in front of MotoGP rivals

Friday, 24 June 2011

Marco Simoncelli was again the fastest rider in practice as he followed up Thursday’s performance in front of Casey Stoner and Ben Spies in the extended FP2 at the Iveco TT Assen.

Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) came out swinging for the second and final free practice of the weekend, setting a fast lap of 1’36.149 on a dry but cold track, 0.193s faster than Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) and 0.260s quicker than Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing). The entire field went significantly faster than the previous day’s wet practice times.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) set the fourth fastest time of 1’36.745, followed by the GP11.1 of Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) who was half a second behind the Spaniard. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team mates Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards, both recovering from fractured collarbones, were sixth and seventh, with the American just 0.054s behind his British counterpart.

Despite the early drama of all three Repsol Hondas crashing within three minutes of each other at the start of the session, the three riders were all able to reenter the hour and a half long practice. Stoner was the first to rejoin, immediately jumping to the top of the timings, only to be bumped down by Simoncelli at the halfway point in the session. Hiroshi Aoyama and Andrea Dovizioso both followed the Australian after visits to the medical center, finishing 15th and 8th respectively in the charts.

Completing the top ten were Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 0.275s behind Dovizioso in ninth and Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP) in tenth with a time of 1’38.276.

With 24 minutes remaining in the session, rain began to fall and all the riders entered the pits to change tires, only to have the sun come out and the rain clear. The last ten minutes had riders on both wet and dry tires, with the rider’s fastest times set in the first half of FP2.

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