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Factory Yamaha rivals assess opening day’s action

Factory Yamaha rivals assess opening day’s action

Team-mates and World Championship rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo spoke to on Thursday afternoon at Assen.

Fiat Yamaha’s front-running MotoGP rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who currently sit in joint first position in the standings on 106 points alongside Ducati’s Casey Stoner were virtually inseparable again on Thursday, as the Alice TT Assen commenced.

Behind Thursday’s fastest rider Randy de Puniet on the Free Practice 1 timesheet, second placed Rossi and fourth quickest Lorenzo were separated by Stoner himself with the finest margins between the top four. Rossi trailed De Puniet’s pace by just 0.005s, whilst Lorenzo was just 0.219s behind the Frenchman.

Summarising day one, World Champion Rossi stated, “I’m happy about today. The practice was ok right from the beginning and I was fast. I had a good feeling on the bike and I was able to ride quite well, so our work has started in a positive way. Now we need to fix some small problems to improve our performance around the track.”

Rossi was also asked about the performance of De Puniet, who was the victim of a first lap clash with The Doctor last year at Assen and unlike the legendary Italian was unable to remount and finish the race.

“I think Randy wants to make sure he is not near me because we touched on the first lap last year!” joked Rossi about the possibility of the pair starting Saturday’s race close together on the grid. “Today Randy has done a good job and ridden fast. He has had two or three very good races this year with good results.”

On the fine margins separating Thursday’s leading riders – the top ten all went round within just over half a second of each other – Lorenzo added, “It has been very close today, because no individual rider went really fast. I don’t know why, because normally there are one or two guys who take control of the practice but today the times have been quite similar between everybody.”

The talented Spaniard continued, “This year the championship seems to be more competitive and there does not seem to be one rider who can do the opening three laps really fast and get a big gap. This year it is more difficult and the fans can appreciate it.”

MotoGP, 2009, ALICE TT ASSEN, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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