All three Thursday afternoon practice sessions for the TT Assen have been cancelled after an oil spillage proved impossible to clear.
The track conditions were already treacherous after rain fell during the morning but matters were made worse at the end of Moto2 FP1 when the engine in Alex Baldolini's Suter let go following an accident, spraying oil all over the circuit.
The track surface effectively turned into an ice rink with Javier Fores and Ricard Cardus both sliding into the gravel in quick succession, leaving the race directors with no option but to red flag the session with four minutes still to go.
Rather unwisely, Baldolini chose not to pull off the track, instead recovering back to the pits, and as a result a substantial part of the 4.542km was coated in oil. The marshalls were now left with a tough task to try and ready the circuit for the afternoon sessions which were due to start just over an hour later.
Initially the second 125cc session, scheduled for 13:15 local time, was delayed as cleaning trucks and road sweepers joined the marshalls as they made use of high pressure water hoses in an attempt to wash the track. With those attempts proving unsuccessful, race direction then took the decision to reschedule the session in the hope of starting the MotoGP action on time.
Shortly before 14:20 local time, race direction took the inevitable decision to cancel the three afternoon sessions with the clean-up operation failing to make any progress. The patient Dutch supporters were left disappointed with only half of the day's running being completed.
In light of the cancellations, Friday’s timetable has been altered with the three morning practice sessions having been extended. The starting time for qualifying in all three classes remains unchanged. Whether the track is suitable for action remains to be seen.
Revised Friday Schedule (UK Time):
07:40-08:40 – 125cc FP2
08:50-10:20 – MotoGP FP2
10:30-11:35 – Moto2 FP2
12:00-12:40 – 125cc Qualifying
12:55-13:55 – MotoGP Qualifying
14:10-14:55 – Moto2 Qualifying