2012 Assen MotoGP Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying at Assen:

Karel Abraham after qualifying practice at Assen:

I hope to be able endure whole race with this injury

Karel Abraham will start to Dutch Grand Prix at TT Circuit Assen from 5th row. Abraham completed his best lap time 1:37,110, which is 3,397 seconds behind fastest Casey Stoner. The final decision about tomorrow´s race will be done after warm up.

Karel Abraham

“Doctors must give me stronger anesthetics than yesterday. I don´t feel pain so much but the hand is less sensitive and I haven´t enough power to handle. Moreover I was able to ride only three fast laps together, than I must let the hand rest. It´s naturally unthinkable to do this in race, so the key aspect is if I will be able to ride fast so long time.”

Marco Grana, Cardion AB Motoracing chief mechanic

„We are in the same situation as yesterday. We tried to do the best lap we can, but the key problem is physical condition of rider. We improved the bike and eliminated sliding on the rear. Karel has better feeling on the bike and I hope we do everything to be prepared for tomorrow. After warm up we will make the final decision.“

Lorenzo Scores Front Row in Difficult Assen Qualifying

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo took third today in qualifying for tomorrow’s Assen TT race. The famous Dutch weather proved to be the biggest challenge for all riders with rain intermittently halting the session and frustrating attempts to string together a series of hot laps. The sun came out to provide a final six-minute flurry of activity with Casey Stoner setting the provisional pole time. Lorenzo then responded, taking red through the first three splits but making a small mistake on the final chicane to end up in third on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Having wrapped up day one as the fastest rider Texan Ben Spies was again ready to deliver in qualifying. Having worked through different set up solutions Spies was on pace for a front row position until running into slower CRT traffic on his hot lap. As a result he starts from the second row of the grid in sixth position.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 3rd Time: 1'34.001 Laps: 20

“I tried my best in the last lap of qualifying but I made a little mistake in the last chicane on braking and lost a few tenths. I was surprised at Casey’s last lap; it was fantastic and so fast and Dani was also very close to him. We have a good position for tomorrow on the front row and we have a good race pace and I’m confident with the bike so I’m happy. Qualifying is one thing but the race is another, tyre choice will be important for the race.”

Ben Spies

Position : 6th Time: 1'34.644 Laps: 16

“Qualifying was a frustrating experience. We tried a setting this morning and went backwards so the first bit of qualifying we tried a modified setting from yesterday which again wasn’t working so well. We went back to yesterday’s set up with a minor change but only got one lap in, which turned out to be my fastest lap. Unfortunately one of the CRT bikes got in the way on my qualifying lap. I know they are out there trying to do their thing as well so it’s difficult.”

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

“A very Dutch qualification I would say, having to stop the practice because of the constant weather changes. Finally the last ten minutes were exciting and Jorge managed two hot laps. I think we are happy to be on the front row, Jorge’s first three splits were very good then he missed the last one otherwise he would have been pole. Race rhythm is very good so we are confident for tomorrow.”

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“The rain didn’t help so much today. Ben was on form for a best lap until T9 when he caught a slower CRT rider who closed the door on him and he lost his lap. I think he could have had a better position but in the end second row is not so bad. He’s had good starts in the last races so we expect the same tomorrow. The pace is good, bike set up is good and we don’t have any doubts about the tyres. Jorge showed a good pace with both soft and hard tyres so he will be there in the fight for victory.”


The starting grid for the MotoGP class for the Iveco TT Assen was defined with today’s qualifying session.

Rain fell soon after the beginning of the free practice in the morning, and that limited the work that had been planned by Pasini and his crew: the Italian managed to take advantage mostly of the last part of the session, taking the chance to verify the track conditions and to assess some choices that were thought after yesterday’s sessions.

In the afternoon, the same situation arose again: two short showers forced the riders back to their pit boxes. Mattia and the team therefore had to change the schedule they had prepared for the afternoon, when they decided to put in as many laps as possible and focus on the rhythm for tomorrow’s race at the best.

Mattia Pasini #54 - 15th with 1'36.943

“For sure the weather situation didn’t really help us out. It was quite a difficult morning and, in the whole, a day which got complicated by few grops of rain that interrupted us every now and then. In the afternoon we managed to improve, we put together a few things we had worked on in the previous sessions and we tried to complete as many laps as possible, limiting the modifications to the bike. There are some points we need to sort out and fix, but generally speaking we did a good job. After all, I am happy with the result of this qualifying session.”

Fantastic Qualifying for Stoner and Pedrosa in the Cathedral of Speed

Casey Stoner will start tomorrow's Dutch TT from pole position, with team mate Dani Pedrosa alongside him after one of the best qualifying sessions of the season for the Repsol Honda Team. It is the third time in 2012 that the Repsol Honda riders have started from 1st and 2nd, having also done so in Estoril (1st Stoner - 2nd Pedrosa) and Le Mans (1st Pedrosa - 2nd Stoner).

The session was interrupted twice due to light showers and the final grid positions were only decided in the final flying laps. Casey did a fantastic job to put this morning's hard crash behind him and whilst laying ninth on the grid with just six minutes remaining, put in an incredible lap to take his third pole of the season, after Portugal and Catalunya.

Dani, finally finishing second and just one tenth off his team mate, was topping the time sheets on both occasions when the rain stopped play but missed his chance at the top spot after he ran wide on his final lap. In the morning practice session, Dani set the fastest lap of the combined free practice times, and remains confident to maintain a high pace in tomorrow's race.

CASEY STONER 1st 1'33.713

"This morning was probably one of my biggest crashes, which is saying something! The crash really knocked the wind out of me, I hurt my head, neck, wrist, knee and shoulder, it was a bad one for sure. The shoulder isn't too bad, in some of the faster corners it's tricky but my knee is the worst on the change of direction in the chicane and a few other places. The team did a really great job, they kept their heads down even when I wasn't riding to my full potential or the bike's full potential and when we were struggling to get the rear tyre to work, they didn't give up. Then when we came back onto the soft rear tyre for the first time since FP1, the bike had much more feeling and we were able to put together a fantastic lap and put it on pole. As far as race pace goes, we're still struggling and we need to work on this and make some decisions before the race. It's been a really strange day for us but hopefully we can be competitive tomorrow".

DANI PEDROSA 2nd 1'33.828

"We did a very good job in all the practice sessions and I'm happy with qualifying, even though I missed the pole position at the very end. The target was to be on the front row because the first corner here is very close and tight, and to work hard to get a good race pace, I think we did everything well. We improved the feeling with the front tyre a little and I'm really looking forward to confirm this in the race tomorrow. The times are very close again but the key point will be the race pace. I feel good, the bike is working well and we just need to make the correct tyre choice, because the weather can be uncertain like it was in Silverstone. It looks like the soft tyre gives you a lot of potential but for the race distance we are not 100% sure, especially on the left side which is softer. Here it is important to have good stability out of the corner and with the hard compound you get it, so we will need to wait and see what the conditions are like tomorrow and do the best in the race".


Alvaro Bautista was unable to follow up his promising free practice form with anything more than an eighth place start in tomorrow's Dutch TT after qualifying this afternoon was interrupted for the Spaniard first by a rain shower and then by a crash. Even though the riders were able to return to the drying track once the shower had passed it certainly didn't help the Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider, who at least has the race pace to suggest he can make up positions tomorrow. Michele Pirro continued to close the gap to the pair of Aprilias currently leading the CRT chase, the Italian setting a solid race pace to suggest he can cause them a problem in tomorrow's race.

Alvaro Bautista ( 8th 1’ 34” 722 ) "It was a shame about the crash because we did such a good job this morning and our pace was strong. This afternoon the rain came first, which set us back, and then when I went back out and tried to push I lost the front and crashed, which cost me a lot of grid positions. The good thing is we are fast and our rhythm is good so we just have to try and get a good start, make up positions as quickly as possible and not lose contact with the front guys."

Michele Pirro (14th 1’ 36” 647) "We lost half of the session to the rain this afternoon and that didn't help us but we have closed the gap a little to the two best CRT bikes and this is positive. Obviously we still have some things to do, especially to solve a bad vibration, but I'm sure the team can help resolve it tomorrow and put me in a position to be fighting to be the top CRT."

Fausto Gresini "It was a shame because we had been enjoying a good weekend up until this afternoon and we could have done without the crash. Unfortunately he dropped several positions and it doesn't do his true potential justice. Obviously the rain didn't help either but now we have to look to the warm-up tomorrow, make some final improvements and then hope to make a good start and recover positions in the race. Michele did well despite a small technical problem but I believe our engineers can give him the bike to put on a strong performance tomorrow."


De Puniet fastest ahead of team-mate Espargaró as ART pair close the gap to MotoGP prototypes

A rain-interrupted qualifying practice at Assen this afternoon decided the grid positions for tomorrow's Dutch TT, with the riders limited to their pit garages for much of the session before a desperate rush for lap times in the final fifteen minutes. Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso held the top positions up to that point but an opportunist attack from Casey Stoner sealed a late pole position for the Australian.

POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró once again set the pace amongst the CRT bikes and the Frenchman and the Spaniard are looking forward to the challenge of trying to beat each other tomorrow, as well as the possibility of fighting with more than one MotoGP prototype. Randy qualified twelfth fastest, half a second behind Héctor Barberá, with Aleix just a couple of tenths and one grid position behind him.

12th Randy De Puniet 1.35.830 (20 laps): "We have worked hard on our race set-up over the past two days and the weekend is going very well. We have tested and tried a lot of things and then this afternoon was the moment to give everything we had. The rain set us back, as it did everybody, but I am satisfied with our lap times in the end even though we could have perhaps gone faster on a fresh new tyre. Anyway, we have qualified as the top CRT, the team have done a great job and I am happy. We are ready and confident about the race so hopefully we can repeat this result tomorrow."

13th Aleix Espargaró 1.36.007 (14 laps): "We started the afternoon session very well and I was able to step my pace up from free practice in the opening couple of laps, which I don't tend to do. On my last lap I ran into some traffic so I wasn't able to improve any further but I am happy with the job done and the most important thing today is our race pace. It has been one of the best weekends of the year so far so hopefully we can follow it up in the race tomorrow, although I know Randy will make life difficult for me. I have unfinished business because I wanted to set a 1'35 today so I'll be trying hard to do that tomorrow."

Last minute dash sees Stoner take pole at Assen

Round 7: Dutch TT – Qualifying

Assen, Friday 29 June 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium-Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)

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

Weather: Dry/Wet. Ambient 23-24°C; Track 30-31°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner set a scorching lap time of 1:33.713 right at the end of a rain-interrupted qualifying session to claim pole position for tomorrow’s Dutch TT at Assen.

Intermittent showers caused delays throughout qualifying, but as the track dried out with five minutes remaining it was reigning champion Stoner who emerged fastest to finish 0.115 seconds ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa to secure a Repsol Honda 1-2 on the grid for tomorrow’s race. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo qualified third as he hunts for a fourth consecutive MotoGP™ victory, while top CRT qualifier was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet who will start on the fourth row in 12th position.

This morning’s FP3 session was also subject to spells of rainy weather, though there was still enough dry running today to allow teams to further refine their dry setup for tomorrow’s race. The high corner speeds at Assen mean almost every rider this weekend has preferred the greater stability of the harder front slick, though rear slick choice has been varied with some riders favouring the better edge grip of the softer rear option over the greater durability of the harder rear.

The riders will be back on track for morning warm up at 0940 local time tomorrow (GMT +2) with the lights going out for the race at 1400.

Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“That was quite an exciting qualifying session and just like we saw yesterday the pace at the front of the field is very close so we may be in for a thrilling contest tomorrow. The rain did arrive today as expected, but thankfully the track dried quickly and the good warm-up performance of our 2012 specification slicks allowed riders to head out in the last five minutes of qualifying and set some stunning lap times.

“The combination of the softer rear with the harder front slick provided the best combination of rear grip and front stability to set quick lap times for qualifying, though for tomorrow’s race I expect the field to be split fairly evenly between the softer and harder rear slicks matched with the harder front.”

Crutchlow and Dovizioso target strong race at historic Assen

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso will start tomorrow's historic Dutch TT from inside the top seven after a rain disrupted qualifying session at Assen this afternoon.

Less than 15 minutes of the session had elapsed when a short cloudburst forced Crutchlow and Dovizioso into the pits when they were lying eighth and third respectively on the timesheets.

The track quickly dried and after a 10-minute delay, Crutchlow and Dovizioso were able to resume their preparation s for tomorrow's 26-lap race.

Both were just about to start switching to Bridgestone's soft tyre to push for a fast lap time when a second rain shower hit with 20 minutes remaining and forced them back into the pits once again.

Six minutes remained when the rapidly changing conditions suddenly improved and grey and gloomy skies gave way to glorious sunshine and Crutchlow and Dovizioso were able to attack for three laps on slick tyres.

Continuing to ride in considerable discomfort with the broken left ankle he suffered in practice for his home round at Silverstone 13 days ago, Crutchlow produced a stunning final lap of 1.34.486 to finish fifth quickest.

Crutchlow's brilliant last lap attack continue d his impressive qualifying record in 2012 and he will start tomorrow's race from inside the top five for the sixth time in seven races. The 26-year-old is confident he can maintain his grip on fourth place in the World Championship standings.

Changes to the set-up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine gave Dovizioso the front-end confidence and feedback he lacked yesterday and a lap of 1.34.698 secured him seventh position on the grid.

Dovizioso was as high as third in the early part of the session prior to the rain interruptions but he was unable to improve his lap time in a frenetic finale to the session. The Italian's pace in race trim though has boosted his confidence that he will be battling for the rostrum for the fourth race in succession.

Cal Cru tchlow 5th 1.34.486 – 17 laps:

“I'm happy on one side because to be fifth fastest and on the second row is a good result considering my physical condition and how much pain I have from the left ankle. But I'm upset a little bit too because I'm sure I could have been into the 33s and on the front row, but (Hector) Barbera got in my way on my final lap and cost me some crucial tenths. He was looking for a tow again to improve his lap time like he always does and unfortunately it was me that got caught up with him this time. All week though I have been consistently in the top five and my aim was to be in the top six, so I am not doing badly. We'll make a decision on which tyre to use tomorrow but we have a little bit of work to do on stopping the bike in a few areas, but we have some ideas to make it better. It will be a tough race with the ankle injury and fighting with Jorge (Lorenzo) is going to be incredibly difficult. He's got an amazing pace but I am doing the best job I can and will be looking to finish in the top six.”

Andrea Dovizioso 7th 1.34.698 – 17 laps:

“It is a pity to be starting on the third row of the grid because I am sure my potential is much higher. It was a very tricky session with the weather conditions changing a lot, but I am really happy to have done a 34.7 on the hard tyre. We have made some big steps improving my feeling with the front-end of the bike and I am satisfied with my race pace. I am sure I will be able to fight for the podium. I was on the third row at Silverstone but still came through to battle for the podium and that is a realistic goal tomorrow. In the final minutes when I went out on the new rear tyre, I didn't feel ready to push right at the limit. Going into the firs t corner I locked the rear wheel and lost some time and because I wasn't sure if I had warmed the rear tyre up enough, I decided not to take any big risks. I am sure I could have been higher up the grid but I am confident for the race and my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew have done a fantastic job again improving the bike in every session.”


Pramac Racing Team rider Hèctor Barberà took the fourth row at Assen today, ahead of tomorrow’s TT Assen Grand Prix.

The experienced Spaniard declared himself satisfied with the setup of his white and green machine and he finished with a best time of 1’35.289 , even if he wasn’t able to further improve his best lap time in conditions that were warm but cooler than yesterday.

In fact, the balmy weather of the first two free practice sessions gave way to unsettled weather, and both the morning free practice and the qualifying sessions were briefly interrupted by spots of rain that forced most of the Premier Class riders to wait in their boxes.

Rain is also a possibility tomorrow and with the weather at Assen generally changing extremely quickly,as we saw today, the Pramac Team may have to wait until just before the race to make a final tyre decision. Tomorrow’s 26-lap race will begin at 1400 CET.

Hèctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider –

“It was a shame. When I tried to set the fastest lap time with the soft tyre I was not lucky enough because during the first try, it started to rain, and on the second one, I found a rider on my line who was more slower than me, so I lost a better grid position.

Despite that I’m confident about the race, thanks to my crew, which did a great job on my Ducati Desmosedici, finding the right setup for this historic track.”

Marco Rigamonti – Pramac Racing Track Engineer -

“The weather did not help us, when we needed its assistance to clock a fast lap time. But the highlight of today’s qualifying practice was our race pace which was so close, to the other Ducati’s riders, giving us a lots of confidence for tomorrow’s race.”


Assen, 29th June: the LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl puts in his best qualifying display in the premier class today at Assen circuit leading the second row in tomorrow’s 26-lap race thanks to his massive 4th position.After yesterday’s first outing, Bradl gained more confidence aboard his Honda quickly adapting to the floating nature of the Dutch track.

The 60-minute qualifying session started in dry conditions but with dark clouds overhead and some light downpours throughout the session but the German easily coped with tricky conditions on soft rubber posting his fastest lap time of 1’34.035.

Bradl: “Finally we put the things together and we had a very good qualifying, a very good lap time and a very good placement on the starting grid for tomorrow. I was not expecting this result because yesterday we were struggling a lot but we remained concentrated: basically we did not give up and the great result finally arrived and the Team demonstrated a strong character. We have found a good balance for the bike using a perfect strategy and it was not easy because the weather was pretty unstable. This is our real potential and now I must learn to repeat this in the future”.

Ducati Team’s progress slows in qualifying

Following a good start to the Dutch TT weekend in yesterday’s free practice sessions, the Ducati Team experienced a relatively challenging qualifying session today.

On a day marked by shifting weather conditions, with rain periodically interrupting the track time, Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi both slightly improved their lap times from yesterday, but not by as much as they would have liked. Tomorrow, Hayden and Rossi will start from the ninth and tenth spots on the grid, respectively.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:34.751)

“The weather was obviously very strange, but that’s something everybody has to deal with. During the first exit, I did a 34.9 with the hard tyre, and as I was fourth at the time, I thought maybe we could do something good today. Then the rain came and I lost the feeling a little bit. In the last exit, with a soft tyre, I managed to improve by a couple of tenths, but it clearly wasn’t enough. I’m not happy. I can’t say I left a lot out there, but even a tenth would have moved me up a couple of spots. With the group in front of me going fast and consistent, 26 laps around here definitely won’t be easy, but we’ll try to understand something and see what tomorrow brings.”

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 10th (1:35.057)

“Today obviously didn’t go as well as yesterday. Unfortunately, we tried to make a few adjustments in an effort to get the tyre to slide less, but as soon as we load the rear a bit, the bike becomes difficult to ride because I lose a lot of grip on the front. We tried it this morning and a little in the afternoon, but in the end we returned to yesterday’s settings. We were also a bit unlucky with the weather, as I had three soft tyres to use in qualifying, but because of the various rain breaks, I was only able to use one. With this setup, maybe I can be a bit more competitive in the first part of the race, but then we’ll have to see what pace we’re able to do when the tyres start sliding a lot.”

The rain interferes with Edwards qualifying session

Complicated qualifying day for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team at the Dutch GP. The best lap made by Colin Edwards was done within the first few minutes of the session before it started raining and ruined the work done in dry conditions yesterday and during the morning free practice.

The American rider had already shown yesterday he could go faster during the FPs by recording a fast lap in 1´37.6 at almost half a second faster than the times done during today’s qualifying. Tomorrow it will be necessary to take full advantage of the warm up, which will start at 9:40 am local time, to be able to have a more competitive pace for the race.

Colin Edwards – 21st (1´38.305)

“I have won races here in the rain, I’ve always loved this track and I have always found it pretty easy to make a bike work around here. Right now nothing is working; the bike doesn’t turn, there is nothing smooth about power delivery, there is not enough traction control. At the moment if you add it all up it seems that nothing works, we have to solve a few issues and that will take some time.”

Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief

“We are not happy with today’s results, this is our worst qualifying session so far. We though we had made some progress, we find our selves having to go back and start from zero. We have to find a solution to be able to provide Colin the best possible conditions to show his true potential. He is one of the fastest riders out there still today and we have to make him be as comfortable as possible on the bike to be able to allow him to ride the way he knows.”


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