FIRST PRACTICE SESSION FOR MOTOGP AT ASSEN. BRADL IMPROVING ON HIS APRILIA RS-GP
The rainfall during the night created less than perfect track conditions for the first MotoGP practice session at Assen. The weather is one of the biggest unknowns on the Dutch track, given the extremely variable conditions during the weekend. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl opted for a cautious approach, developing the feeling with their Aprilia RS-GP machines lap after lap.
During FP2, the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders focused on the usual chassis and electronic setup development process, in addition to analysing the various tyre options available for the Dutch race.
Unfortunately, Alvaro Bautista took a spill on turn 3 that affected the session since he had to use the second bike to go back out and had another fall at low speed just a few minutes from the end. There were no physical consequences for the Spanish rider who will now have to make up for lost time after his compromised Friday.
Stefan Bradl improved steadily, both lowering his time in FP2 (1'35.056 compared with 1'36.284) and the gap behind the leaders, decreased to less than 1.5 seconds. Stefan and his mechanics will now analyse the information collected during the two sessions with the goal of continuing the positive trend and preparing for the race on Sunday as best as possible.
"It was definitely not my lucky day. The crash at the beginning of FP2 slowed us down a lot. Fortunately I wasn't hurt. The second bike had a few chassis changes intended to increase handling, but they make the bike a bit more twitchy, so we weren't able to improve on the first time out. At least tomorrow morning we'll begin with a clear idea on which way to go. Every minute on the track is fundamental for us, so we'll have an extra dose of work to do".
"In FP1 we tried a different electronics configuration to manage the throttle that didn't give me a good feeling, but in the second session, going back to the standard base, we managed to get some good laps in, especially toward the end. For this reason, I cannot be 100% satisfied with our growth, because we still have some room to work. I am not worried, because in terms of the chassis, the RS-GP is working well. We are still lacking a bit of agility in the quick direction changes so typical of Assen, but I'm confident that we'll be faster tomorrow morning".