Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner weren't worried by their performance on Thursday at Assen despite finishing practice in sixth and seventh respectively. The top 11 riders were covered by half a second in a fiercely competitive second session and Pedrosa is looking for improved traction from his RC213V to ensure he's at the front of the grid on Saturday.
“It’s been very good to have these temperatures in Assen and it really helps us to take profit of both practice sessions to work on the setup of the bike. We tried different things on the chassis to improve our feeling with the front tyre and we did many laps on both tyres, the soft in the morning and the hard in the afternoon. We are pleased with the steps we made today and I think we have a good basic setting to keep improving tomorrow. Basically, we would like to get better traction to give us more corner speed. Concerning the chassis we tried, I felt slightly differences, but I still need to compare them a little bit more because we are looking to improve the performance with the front tyre and Assen doesn’t really have hard braking. It’s impressive that the lap times are so close from the first to the eighth position, it means that tomorrow’s qualifying will be tough and here it’s important to get a good position on the grid because the first corner is very tight”.
Stoner was the only rider in the field to go slower in the afternoon than he had in the morning and the world champion blamed his failure to improve on a nervous rear end on his bike.
“We tried a few things with the bike but weren’t really happy with them. We tested another chassis but haven’t found many positives with it yet, in the morning if felt like we had slightly less chatter in the front, then this afternoon no real benefit, perhaps a little worse. In FP2 we couldn’t get any feeling from the rear and to be honest I felt a little nervous on the bike because from the first two exits, the bike just wanted to throw me off, every time I touched the throttle the rear wanted to come around on me and I lost the front quite a few times, too many for my liking. Everything we’re doing, trying to reduce the chatter is just making the bike difficult to ride. We’re going to have to rethink things again and come out fresh tomorrow. I’m not too worried about finding the pace, it was just a little bit disappointing this afternoon”.