Simoncelli Tops Rain Affected Assen Practice

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San Carlo Honda Gresni’s Marco Simoncelli  topped the first practice session for this weekends Dutch Grand Prix after swapping positions with Ducati’s Valentino Rossi all session long. Rossi has benefited this weekend from updates to his GP11, including the use of next years new chassis. 0.491s behind Simoncelli’s top time of 1:49.036 was Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner.

Stoner’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso finished in 4th in conditions similar to the previous Grand Prix at Silverstone. In lashing rain Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo finished in 5th place, nearly a second off Simonchelli’s pace. Returning Cal Crutchlow finished in 6th on his Monster Yamaha Tech3 machine. The slower pace helped Crutchlow, who broke his collarbone at the previous grand prix.

Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham continued his impressive form from Silverstone with 7th place followed by Colin Edwards on the second Monster Yamaha Tech3 machine in 8th. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, who doesn’t have the updates that Rossi has, finished in 9th with Yamaha’s Ben Spies just behind, rounding out the top 10.

Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera finished the session in 11th ahead of Dani Pedrosa’s replacement Hiroshi Aoyama in 12th. Rizla Suzuki’s Àlvaro Bautista struggled through the session with grip issues to finish in 13th. Toni Elias dropped back through the field to claim 14th on the LCR Honda.

Aoyama’s replacement, HRC test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi finished in 16th between a Pramac Ducati sandwich, with Loris Capirossi in 15th and Randy De Puniet in 17th.

All riders will complete an extended free practice session tomorrow morning as the planned second session was cancelled after 2 separate Moto2 riders dropped a large amount of oil in a significant part of the track in their session. Despite a clean up operation involving sweepers and a large amount of water and detergent, the track was unusable for the remainder of the day.

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