Assen, The Netherlands

2009 Assen 250cc FP2 Result - Aoyama Deposes Bautista As Flag Falls

Hiroshi Aoyama set the fastest time in the second session of free practice for the 250cc class, beating Alvaro Bautista's time by nearly a quarter of a second as the checkered flag fell. Mattia Pasini set the 3rd fastest time, forcing Marco Simoncelli down to 4th. The session saw both Bautista and his team mate Mike di Meglio go down at the south end of the track, though both men walked away unharmed.

Results of 250cc FP2:

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2009 Assen MotoGP FP2 Result - Lorenzo Swipes Top Time From Stoner

Temperatures are cooler this morning at Assen, and the times are much further apart. Casey Stoner was fastest for much of the session, and by quite some margin, but Jorge Lorenzo put in a scorching lap in the final seconds to take the top spot in highly convincing manner, beating Stoner's previous best by over 4/10ths of a second. Andrea Dovizioso was 3rd quickest, just behind Stoner and a quarter of a second ahead of Valentino Rossi.

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2009 Assen 125cc FP2 Result - Gadea Edges Smith

Sergio Gadea bumped Bancaja Aspar team mate Bradley Smith from the top spot in the final moments of FP2 for the 125 class. Derbi's Pol Espargaro went 3rd fastest, just edging out Andrea Iannone. British rider Danny Webb was 7th quickest, while Blusens' Scott Redding set the 12th time.

Results of 125cc FP2:

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Assen - Friday Morning Update

The weather has changed overnight here at Assen, the sun hidden behind a thin layer of gray clouds. Temperatures are a good deal cooler than yesterday, and there's plenty of moisture in the air, but it doesn't look like it's going to rain. The 125s have just taken to the track for FP1, and the crowds are already starting to wander in.

The forecast is that it will stay overcast for the rest of the day, but the rain should hold off. Tomorrow is a different story, with a good chance of rain falling some time in the afternoon. Whether that's before, during or after the MotoGP race remains to be seen. 

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Casey Stoner: Last Lap Rossi Pass At Catalunya Was "Silly Mistake By Lorenzo"

The last lap at Barcelona was one for the ages, with the lead swapping four times before the flag finally fell. In the post-race press conference with Casey Stoner, the subject of that pass almost inevitably came up, as Stoner passed Rossi in exactly the same place in 2007. Ever forthright in his opinion, Stoner was clear about how Rossi's victory came about. "It was a silly mistake by Jorge," Stoner said. "He was just that confident that he had it in the bag, that he braked too early. Even where he braked, I brake later than that. If you get a little bit better run up there, it's so easy just to run it up inside. You saw it was an easy pass."

"Jorge braked earlier than he had been braking all race. I was behind him earlier, and he was braking much later than that then." But Stoner didn't expect Lorenzo to make the same mistake in the future. "He was just thinking about getting a run for the line. But Jorge learns, and he'll learn from this mistake."

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2009 Assen 250cc FP1 Result - Bautista Takes First Blood

Alvaro Bautista took control of the first session of free practice for the 250cc class late on in the session, after Marco Simoncelli stood in top spot for much of the first half of the session. Bautista had to hold off a storming Hector Barbera, Barbera coming up just under 2/10ths short of his fellow Spaniard's time. Mike di Meglio finished the session 3rd fastest, putting the Aspar bikes in 1st and 3rd places on the timesheets.

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2009 Assen MotoGP FP1 Result - De Puniet Leads Tight Top Three

Randy de Puniet was the surprise leader at the end of the first session of practice for the MotoGP class. The Frenchman pipped Valentino Rossi in the final seconds of FP1 to take over the lead, consolidating his run of strong results over recent weeks.

The session had been dominated by the Yamahas from the opening minutes, with Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo taking it in turns at the top of the timesheets. But just before the halfway mark, an interloper stole the top spot, Colin Edwards bringing the times under the mid-1'38 mark. Edwards' time held for 10 minutes or so, at which point the injured but still fast Dani Pedrosa took over the top spot with a lap of 1'38.194.

With quarter of the session left, Rossi and Lorenzo took to the track again, and dropped under the mark set by Pedrosa, Rossi breaking into the 1'37s. Despite the best efforts of Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner, they could not best Rossi's time, and it was left to De Puniet and the LCR Honda to topple Rossi from the top of the standings.

Stoner did manage to beat Jorge Lorenzo's time, taking 3rd spot behind De Puniet and Rossi, but the order of the top 3 is almost irrelevant. Just 0.03 of a second separates De Puniet in 1st from Stoner in 3rd. Less than 2/10ths behind Stoner, Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso are similary very close. In fact, the top half of the field is close, the first 11 riders separated by just 0.653 seconds.

James Toseland had a strong start to the session, and finished a respectable 9th, better than he has done recently, while Nicky Hayden was back as second fastest Ducati, edging out Mika Kallio in 12th place. Fastest Ducati or not, 12th position is not where Hayden really wants to be.

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2009 Assen 125cc FP1 Result - Simon Takes Top Spot In Last Moments

Julian Simon leads the first free practice session for the 125cc class at Assen, as is his custom. But the Bancaja Aspar didn't reach that top spot until the very end of the session. Nicolas Terol, Bradley Smith and Sergio Gadea took it in turns to nudge him off the top every time Simon set the fastest time.

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Assen - Thursday Morning Update

The sun is out at Assen this Thursday morning, and the prospects are for good weather. A large crowd of fans have already thronged the pit lane walk, gawking at the bikes put out on display. Identifying the Fiat Yamaha garages or the Repsol Honda garages was simple: They were the ones which you had to squeeze through the crowds. For those with a fetish for two strokes, the pickings were much richer: bikes were out on display and in the pits being fettled.

On the subject of two strokes, the Team Toth pit was open, and Pasini's Aprilia RSA was being assembled. Word in the paddock is that Toth has given Aprilia assurances that the outstanding funds will be paid, and Aprilia will allow the bike to be scrutineered. Whether Pasini will be allowed to race or not depends on the promised bank transfers actually taking place.

The stands are slowly filling up, and hordes of pasty-faced Northern Europeans are working on acquiring that lobster tint which Assen so often seems to produce. The heat and sun is great for the riders, though, as they face the prospect of getting another three full hours of practice in, uninterrupted by rain. The only factor they will have to deal with is the win, as a stiff breeze is coming in from the north east, hitting the bikes fully in the flank as they line up for the GT chicane.

Race day is likely to be different. They say it's going to rain at some point, but the quesion is when. If the riders are lucky, then it will hold off until the race is over, and only rain on the fans as they head for home.

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The Pasini Mystery - Toth Denies Pasini's Bike Impounded By Aprilia

Mattia Pasini has had a few rough years recently, and things don't seem to be getting any better. His last year in the 125 championship with Polaris World was plagued by engine breakdowns and mechanical problems, producing the entertaining spectacle of the Italian administering a thorough kicking to his factory-spec Aprilia. Then at the end his debut 250 year, the Polaris World team folded as a result of the financial crisis, and the demand for holiday homes in Spain collapsed.

2009 was looking much more promising, especially after the Italian took victory at Mugello once Marco Simoncelli had taken both himself and Alvaro Bautista out of the equation. But at Catalunya, trouble emerged, in the shape of money problems. Rumors surfaced of unpaid bills to Aprilia by Team Toth, and that Aprilia would be demanding its Aprilia RSA back. At Assen, the prominent Italian site reported that Aprilia has impounded Pasini's Aprilia RSA over the unpaid fees, and that Pasini will not be riding here on Saturday.

Imre Toth, team manager of the eponymous team, has denied everything to the Hungarian press. His response to the Hungarian website when confronted with the allegations was "Whaaaat!!!" Toth told the Hungarian website that he expected to start the races as normal this weekend.

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