Date : 28/06/2012
Weather : Dry
Temperature : Air: 26 degrees, Ground: 40 degrees
Humidity : 40%
Today, the Repsol Honda Team were back in action at the Assen circuit on the first day of free practice for the Dutch TT.
With pleasant weather and good track conditions, the Honda factory riders began work on the set up of their RC213V machines and tested some new parts in preparation for Saturday's race.
Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa focused on a chassis comparison to improve the chattering issues whilst also spending time working on the tyres and trying different set ups with both soft and hard compounds. In the afternoon, with track temperatures 15 degrees higher than in the morning practice, Dani and Casey chose to remain on the hard compound, not switching to a new rear soft in the last minutes of the session.
Dani, second quickest in the morning, improved slightly in the afternoon and finished sixth in the combined free practice times with 1'35.080, just 0.2 tenths off the best lap time of the day, while Casey, third in the FP1, didn't improve in the second session and finished the day seventh with 1'35.181.
DANI PEDROSA – 6th - 1'35.080
"It's been very good to have these temperatures in Assen and it really helps us to take profit of both practice sessions to work on the setup of the bike. We tried different things on the chassis to improve our feeling with the front tyre and we did many laps on both tyres, the soft in the morning and the hard in the afternoon. We are pleased with the steps we made today and I think we have a good basic setting to keep improving tomorrow. Basically, we would like to get better traction to give us more corner speed. Concerning the chassis we tried, I felt slightly differences, but I still need to compare them a little bit more because we are looking to improve the performance with the front tyre and Assen doesn't really have hard braking. It's impressive that the lap times are so close from the first to the eighth position, it means that tomorrow's qualifying will be tough and here it's important to get a good position on the grid because the first corner is very tight".
CASEY STONER – 7th - 1'35.181
"We tried a few things with the bike but weren't really happy with them. We tested another chassis but haven't found many positives with it yet, in the morning if felt like we had slightly less chatter in the front, then this afternoon no real benefit, perhaps a little worse. In FP2 we couldn't get any feeling from the rear and to be honest I felt a little nervous on the bike because from the first two exits, the bike just wanted to throw me off, every time I touched the throttle the rear wanted to come around on me and I lost the front quite a few times, too many for my liking. Everything we're doing, trying to reduce the chatter is just making the bike difficult to ride. We're going to have to rethink things again and come out fresh tom orrow. I'm not too worried about finding the pace, it was just a little bit disappointing this afternoon".