Moto GP

Lorenzo leads the way during first Assen Practice

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Just four days after his commanding win at Silverstone, Jorge Lorenzo served up more of the same form during the first free practice session at Assen today.

Lorenzo found himself comfortable and fast on his M1 from the start of the session, taking the lead mid-way through and remaining at the top of the standings as he consistently improved his time.

The 23-year-old tried both the soft and hard Bridgestone tyres and worked especially on the front tyre, having encountered some small problems in that area at this race last year. The track has undergone an alteration to the chicane at turns six and seven, meaning Lorenzo's time today was almost a second quicker than Rossi's pole of last year. Casey Stoner finished just 0.011 off Lorenzo today, with a further half-second gap back to Nicky Hayden in third.

After completing 28 laps Lorenzo said, "I am happy with today and I feel very good on the bike; the weather is perfect and I love Assen! The new corner is very fast and I really like it, it's great fun to ride through the chicane at such a speed. We could probably have a bit more traction but we have two more sessions to work on this and then we will try to get the best possible grid position again. The team is working so well and the ambience and atmosphere in our garage is amazing at the moment."

Stoner was satisfied with the first day's work on the set-up of his GP10, which is the fruit of a lot of hard work over recent weeks.

"We've started out here with a much better base set-up than at the last few races," the Australian said.

"It has been a bit difficult for us since we switched back to the old forks because you have to change the way you set the bike up and change the way you ride so it has taken a little time to adapt. But I don‰Ûªt want to use it as an excuse because at Silverstone we had the pace but didn't get the start, whilst at Mugello nothing seemed to work.

"This weekend seems to be going well so far so I hope it stays like this. Silverstone is a faster track than this and more flowing in some ways. Assen is a little tighter and we use a lower gearing so we've had to change the set-up a fair bit. Also at Silverstone we struggled a little with wheelies because of the way we set it up to handle the bumps. That isn't an issue here so we're just trying to find grip and stop the bike standing up on the front end. We tried some things in the middle of the session that didn't work but other than that it was a positive first session for us," Stoner concluded.

Nicky Hayden is also pleased with his early feeling around the Dutch circuit, having made a few small alterations to the base setting he used at Silverstone which left him third fastest.

The bike felt pretty good out of the gate today and we made a few changes that improved it but the gap to the front is pretty big so we still have work to do. The track is very similar to Silverstone, with a lot of fast corners, so the bike isn't so different. Having said that we're always trying new stuff and today was no different. What we tried seemed to work so I'm thankful to Ducati for that. Hopefully we can build on it tomorrow and try to repeat this kind of position in qualifying but with a smaller gap to the front."

Colin Edwards made a welcome return to form at the iconic Assen circuit. The experienced American took to the track this afternoon using a new front-end geometry setting on his YZR-M1 machine and he immediately felt much more confident and able to show his true potential after a tough start to 2010 and logged the 4th fastest time.

"I really needed that after a tough start to the season and thanks to my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 who have been working really hard to improve my situation," Edwards said.

"I really like Assen and the change they made on the back section made it feel a little bit more like the old circuit. My bike is quite a bit different to what it has been this season and I'm running a front geometry setting that is a lot different to what I've ever run before. I'm just trying to make the bike turn easier and feel a little more natural and it is similar to the setting that Valentino and Jorge like.

"I've got a lot more confidence than Silve rstone because that was not a positive weekend at all. This track is a lot more free flowing and you have to keep a lot of momentum and that suits my style. And I can just get the bike to turn better and that's where I've been lacking. Now the bike feels great and I'm looking forward to a good weekend."

Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso ended the session 5th fastest ahead of team-mate Daniel Pedrosa with Pramac Ducati's Aleix Espargaro a solid 7th.

"This bike is wonderful! It 's my favorite track and I think that anyone can see how much I enjoy the track," Espargaro said, "Despite the many changes in the last years it remains very attractive, you need a lot of aggressiveness and then you can be very fast."

2010 MotoGP Netherlands - Assen 24/06/2010
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1'35.169
2 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1'35.180
3 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1'35.686
4 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1'35.699
5 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1'35.868
6 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1'35.922
7 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 1'35.927
8 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1'35.942
9 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1'36.002
10 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1'36.269
11 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 1'36.294
12 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1'36.735
13 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1'36.786
14 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 1'37.261
15 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1'37.384

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