Pedrosa Leads Honda 1-2 on Thursday at Assen

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Dani Pedrosa gave Repsol Honda a welcome morale boost by topping the Thursday practice timesheets at the Dutch TT. The Spaniard set the fastest ever two-wheeled lap time of Assen to edge out teammate Marc Marquez with championship leader Valentino Rossi third quickest.

Although the day ended with smiles at Repsol Honda, practice couldn’t have got off to a worse start with Marquez tumbling on his out lap, seconds into FP1. The world champion was forced to vacate his RC213V as it approached the barriers and although he returned to the pits to take a full part in the session, Marc’s confidence had taken another knock.

Following the lunch break, Marquez looked revitalised with the 22 year old setting a 1:33.589 to open up a seven tenth lead over the field in FP2. Failure to improve on that time ultimately cost Marquez top spot with Pedrosa pipping him in the dying seconds, Dani setting a 1:33.450.

Rain remains a danger heading into the rest of the weekend but Pedrosa was pleased with the work carried out today and feels Repsol Honda are taking small steps on the road to recovery.

“We started well today. Above all, we wanted to take advantage of the track being dry and in good condition, because here in Assen the weather is always a little unpredictable and so it was important for trying out tyres and bike setups. We have made a good start comparing different exhausts and working on setup, so tomorrow we will aim to continue in the same way.”

Having topped the morning session, Rossi confirmed he will pose a serious challenge to his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo by finishing third, four places ahead of his title rival. The pair were split this afternoon by the Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso in fourth and sixth with Cal Crutchlow also in the thick of the action in fifth.

Aleix Espargaro was eighth quickest for Suzuki ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Maverick Vinales but the Tech 3 Yamahas of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith face a fight to reach Q2 tomorrow morning after ending today’s running in eleventh and thirteenth respectively.



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