Casey Lines Up Third For Dutch TT
A tough day of work for the Repsol Honda at the motorcycling Cathedral, Assen circuit, where today was held the qualifying session for the seventh race of the season. Casey Stoner will start tomorrow from the end of the first row of the grid, after setting the third fastest time, two places ahead of his team mate Andrea Dovizioso, who was fifth. The third team member, who replaces Dani Pedrosa, Hiroshi Aoyama, will start from the fourht row after setting the twelfth fastest time.
The day did not start in the best way for the three riders, who in the free practice held in the morning fell almost atthe same time in the first minutes of the session. With the tyres still cold, Casey Stoner lost grip in his third lap on corner 9 and crashed without consequences. More dramatic was Andrea Dovizioso’s crash, less than a minute later, as the Italian lost adherence on the back tyre, also when getting out of corner 9, and was thrown out in the air. After visiting the ClÃƒÂnica Mobile, where the X-ray ruled out a fracture, he went back to the practice.
He was able to get back on track when he had still 40 minutes left, as due to the cancellation of yesterday’s second free practice, today the riders had a 90-minute practice. This additional time also helped Hiroshi Aoyama, who also lost control of his Repsol Honda RC212V just moments after his team mates. As Stoner and Dovizioso, the Japanese rider was also able to get back to the practice session, until the rain stopped it twenty minutes before the end.
Despite some intermittent rain, the track dried before the start of the qualifying, where the lack of grip became one of the main difficulties for the Repsol riders. Casey Stoner, after changing the set-up of his Honda to try and find a configuration that would allow him to warm the tyres faster, finished with a register of 1 minute, 35 seconds and 8 thousandths, 290 thousandths away from the pole position set by Marco Simoncelli.
His countryman, Andrea Dovizioso, a bit sore due to the morning’s crash, finished in fifth position, with a time of 1 minute, 35 seconds and 244 thousandths. The Repsol rider did 29 laps, four more than his team mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, who finally set a time of 1 minute, 26 seconds and 580 thousandths. This register placed him in the twelfth position of the starting grid for tomorrow’s race, that will take place an hour later than usual, at 15:00 (CET).
FP2 – 1:36.342, 17 laps, 77 km.
QP – 1:35.008, 25 laps, 114 km.
“Today hasn’t been the best day for us, after this morning’s fall, our confidence was dented a little and we weren’t willing to push too hard. The only dry track time we’ve had is today which has meant we’ve had to do everything in one day.
We’re struggling with the left hand side of the tyre, we just can’t seem to get the temperature in to it, so I’m losing a lot of time on all the left hand corners. Also, we found it difficult to get the bike settled in the rear, so we have some work to do tonight and tomorrow in warm up but we’re confident we can find something and improve.
Qualifying went ok, we’re happy with front row and I don’t think we could have matched Marco’s [Simoncelli] time, it was pretty impressive and he’s been consistently fast all weekend here, to be honest I’m a little bit disappointed with our race pace which we need to improve quite a lot so we’ll have to see what we can do for tomorrow”.