Pedrosa sets new Assen lap record in Assen
Dani Pedrosa set the quickest ever lap time at the Assen circuit in this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session as the Repsol Honda Team finished 1-2 on combined times as they seek to break the recent dominance of their Yamaha rivals.
On his eighteenth lap of the session, Pedrosa set an incredible lap time of 1’33.450, beating the existing Circuit Best Lap record set by teammate Marc Marquez last year by twelve-thousandths of a second. Coincidentally, it was Marquez who was second quickest overall today with a best lap time that was 0.139 seconds off Pedrosa’s best, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi was third quickest with a best effort of 1'33.652. The quickest three riders today all set their personal best time using the combination of the soft front and medium compound rear slick tires. It wasn’t just the top three riders who set an incredible pace on the opening day of the Dutch Grand Prix, the top twelve riders on the timesheets set times under the current Assen race lap record of 1’34.548.
Conditions for both sessions were fine with warm temperatures which allowed the twenty-four riders contesting this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix to get up to speed quickly. After track temperatures hovered around the mid-twenty degree mark during the morning FP1 session, persistent sunlight resulted in a peak reading during FP2 of 42°C. The favorable weather conditions enabled the use of many different slick tire options today, including the hard compound rear slick that was evaluated by some factory Yamaha riders in the afternoon with positive results. The soft and medium rear slicks were also evaluated in today’s sessions, although the medium compound rear appears to be favored by most riders. For the front tire, although the extra-soft front slick was widely used during FP1 as the riders assessed the state of the track, every rider preferred the soft compound front slick as it matched good warm-up and cornering performance with good braking stability. Further evaluation on the different tire combinations will take place tomorrow, although a slight chance of rain is forecast for tomorrow which could disrupt the riders’ plans to perform long runs on their preferred slick tire combination.
The next MotoGP session is Free Practice 3 at 0955 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow, with the thirty-minute Free Practice 4 session starting at 1330 tomorrow afternoon shaping up to be a crucial session in which to finalize race tire choice. Qualifying Practice 1 and 2 will commence at 1410 and 1435 local time, respectively.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
“We had good conditions throughout the day so the riders were able to set a very quick pace right from the opening laps. This circuit features a mix of slow and fast corners, so a balanced bike setup is important to get the best out of the tires – thankfully we had a lot of dry track time today for the teams to work on this. All three rear slick options, and two of the three front slick options were utilized today and overall our tire allocation is working well at this technical circuit. We had very few incidents today and the Assen lap record has already been beaten, so if the weather stays fine for the rest of the weekend I expect we will see some very quick times and a closely-packed field in qualifying and the race. However, if it does rain we are well prepared with our softest wet tire option being the main choice available to riders at Assen this weekend.”