MotoGP > MotoGP 2006 Round 08: Netherlands GP > Qualifying
MotoGPNetherlandsJune 23, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
Netherlands Grand Prix at Assen Qualifying

Hayden Heads Second Row as Rossi Struggles

Race Results >>

Current World Championship points leader Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) qualified fourth fastest here at Assen today while the front row belonged to John Hopkins (Suzuki) on pole with Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) second fastest and Colin Edwards (Yamaha) third fastest man.



Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Dani PEDROSA(Repsol Honda Team)

But the biggest news is that reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) fell heavily yesterday and broke bones in his right hand and foot. He attempted free training this morning and the timed session this afternoon - but could complete neither. If he starts tomorrow's race (a decision will be made after morning warm-up) it will be from 18th on the grid.

Another two riders are struggling here - Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) who was injured in the turn one crash at Catalunya last Sunday and Loris Capirossi (Ducati), another victim of the Barcelona melée last weekend.

Despite debilitating shoulder and neck injuries Melandri managed a heroic seventh on the grid here with a time just under one second short of Hopkins' pole time of 1m 36.411s. Capirossi, suffering from bruising to his chest could do no better than 15th for a fifth row start.

But these riders are the lucky ones. Sete Gibernau (Ducati) will miss this race and Donington Park next weekend too while he recovers from broken fingers and a broken collarbone, while Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V) misses this race with a broken left shoulder. He fell yesterday and is now in Barcelona undergoing treatment.

Capirossi, Rossi and Melandri are currently Hayden's closest rivals in the World Championship points table and their misfortune hands Hayden a potentially huge boost at the critical halfway point of this intense 2006 series if he can score points when they register none.

Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V), fresh from his fine third place in Catalunya last weekend, headed the timesheet during the early stages of this hour-long session, with gritty Melandri holding a provisional second with ten minutes gone.

In overcast conditions with track temperature at 23-degrees and ambient temperature at 20-degrees, riders made their fastest laps of this heavily revised Assen track. The circuit has been shortened form its former free-flowing 6.027km to a truncated 4.555km form with the challenging Northern Loop section bulldozed to make way for a conference centre.

Few riders approved of the drastic surgery, but did their best to get comfortable with the new layout despite their reservations over the changes. Among the first to show he had the new track under control was Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) who turned a 1m 37.130 lap to hold pole at the halfway point.

In the final 15 minutes Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) hauled himself onto the front row with a 1m 36.755s lap, but he would eventually lose out to Edwards and Hayden who bumped him back to row two in the final five minutes.

With one minute remaining Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) elevated himself to fourth before having to settle for fifth at the flag with a best lap time of 1m 36.993, 0.582 seconds off Hopkins' pole time.

Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) qualified 12th fastest for a fourth row start while Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) will have to make do with a fifth row start as 13th fastest qualifier.

Nicky said, "We're definitely going to have to plan on getting a good start tomorrow and getting up front because some of the guys have got a really fast race pace and I haven't been able to get into the 1m 37s times on race tyres this afternoon, which is a little frustrating. We're definitely going to have to make some changes tonight and see what we can do tomorrow - which is where it counts."

Dani said, "Fifth is not ideal, but it's OK. I'm still struggling with getting the best from qualifying tyres at some tracks and I need a bit more experience at this. Anyway, tomorrow the start will be crucial as always and even after another day riding here I still prefer the old Assen, even though I'm now used to the new layout."

For the injured Melandri, seventh on the grid is something of an achievement. He said, "I'm very happy considering my situation. On Sunday I didn't even think I'd be here, never mind seventh on the grid only four days after the accident. I could only do a few fast laps in succession before my shoulder got tired, but I should be OK tomorrow."

Kenny, in tenth, said, "We were faster on race tyres today than with the qualifying tyres. This is about the same position we were in at the beginning of the year with the old chassis on qualifiers. We had no problems in practice but as soon as we put in the qualifying tyres we had chatter. We get the problem as I lean the bike into the turns. On race tyres we can run high 1m 37s laps all day, but the problem is picking off the guys in front of me while I try to get to the front."

Casey, in 12th, said, "I couldn't get a decent time on a qualifying tyre and I would have been better off on a race tyre. But I've always made good starts - in dirt track racing you have to. I use the launch control at the start but for me I don't think it makes a big difference. There is not a lot of room to pass on the new track, so it's let's wait and see in the race."

Tamada, down in 13th, said, "I had a good feeling from the 16-inch tyre the first time I used it at the Mugello test. It's is a positive move in the right direction - the bike is easier to ride now. We've not had to do much to the suspension to suit the tyre, just little things. My engine is good and the set up is right so I'll be happy to race tomorrow with what I have."

In the 250cc class Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) rode to his fifth pole of the season, out-qualifying Alex de Angelis (Aprilia), who was second fastest, and Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW), who was third fastest. Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) completes the front row.

Lorenzo always seemed to have the measure of this track and his times were only bettered once in the session by Alex de Angelis. The Italian briefly held pole with 25 minutes left before Lorenzo re-established himself at the front of the grid again.

This is Dovi's fourth front row start of the season so far and each time he has started from the first row in 2006 he has achieved a win (last weekend) or a podium. His team-mate Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) qualified fifth to head row two, while Martin Cardenas (Repsol Honda RS250RW), who replaces the recently retired Sebastian Porto, qualified 12th.

Dovi said, "We've made a big step forward in the general balance of the bike, but we're not quite 100% ready in terms of speed compared to Lorenzo. But if it doesn't rain tomorrow we can improve further. We're not quite in as good a shape as we were at Mugello and Barcelona but we'll still be fighting tomorrow."

Aoyama said, "I'm obviously happier than yesterday, although I'm not forgetting the race is tomorrow. Things didn't work out well during the morning practice but it was my fault; I wasn't concentrating and I didn't push hard enough. But everything went much better in the afternoon, I focussed to give my best and the times were good. I hope to make a good start tomorrow and stay with the top group from the beginning."

Dovi's team-mate Takahashi said, "Yesterday I had some problems in the high speed turns and we made some changes today that were effective. My race pace is good and and I was able to improve on my fastest lap times too. If I get a good start I should be fighting for a podium position."

In the 125cc category it was Mika Kallio (KTM) who netted his second pole of the season with a lap of 1m 44.532s, Series points leader Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) secured second spot on the grid with Lukas Pesek (Derbi) third fastest and Sergio Gadea (Aprilia) completing the front row.

Pesek was the early front-runner with Bautista always in the frame from the outset of this final half-hour of qualifying. Kallio looked in control in the final five minutes until Bautista stole pole from him with just two minutes remaining.

It then looked convincingly like another Bautista pole until Kallio found one final lap free of traffic and made the most of it with a pole time lap to deny Bautista by just 0.048 seconds as the clock wound down.

Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R) was the best Honda qualifier in 11th, just ahead of Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) 12th fastest. Mike di Meglio (FFM Honda RS125R) was 14th quickest qualifier ahead of Sandro Cortese (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) in 18th and reigning World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) down in 19th.

Talmacsi said, "We have made lots of changes this weekend, maybe too many, and we lost our way a little. The bike is a bit nervous in the first section of the track so in tomorrow's warm-up we'll make some adjustments to the geometry. I'm quite confident about the race tomorrow."

Lai, in 12th, said, "I'm a little short of power here. It felt fine when I was riding on my own but when I was in company with an Aprilia and a KTM, I could stay with them in the turns because my chassis is excellent, but I'm definitely a bit short of power here."

Luthi, down in 19th, said, "I had some chatter front and then rear. In the end we got things a bit better but by the time I was looking for a fast lap it was too late to catch the wheel of a fast rider and I set my time alone. The team will work hard to fix this in the warm up and I know they will improve but starting from back on this new style track is going to make my race very difficult."



Marco MELANDRI(Fortuna Honda)



Casey STONER (Honda LCR)

MotoGP:

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 4th:
"I'm looking forward to this race - we'll try and get up there, have some fun and see what we can do. It would have been nice to be on the front row because it looks as though it's going to be hard to pass here, especially in the first section of the lap because there's only really one line around there. We're definitely going to have to plan on getting a good start tomorrow and get up front because some of the guys have got a really fast race pace and I haven't been able to get into the 1m 37s on race tyres this afternoon, which is a little frustrating. We're definitely going to have to make some changes tonight and see what we can do tomorrow. My qualifying lap wasn't real special and on my last run I made a couple of little mistakes and my splits were all fastest on different laps - it wasn't like I just put one really clean lap together - and that was down to the rider. Still, tomorrow's where it counts and we'll see what we can do."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th:
"Today was a little bit better than yesterday. Fifth is not ideal but it's ok really, especially compared to my position on the grid in the last race at Catalunya. The qualifying session today was not so bad, although I'm still struggling a little with getting the best from the qualifying tyres at some circuits. I just need to get more experience of this. On my final fast lap I had a little bit of traffic towards the end, but then it actually helped at the beginning of the lap, so I don't think that was the reason for my time. Anyway, tomorrow is the important day of course, as always, it's going be important to get a good start. After another day on the track I've become a little bit more used to the new layout here, but to me it's still not the same as the old Assen."

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda: 7th:
"I am happy with my performance, just to be on the grid tomorrow is a success for me. Considering the situation the seventh place tastes like a victory. Today I did not complete too many laps because I still have a lot of pain in my neck and both shoulders. The race will be very difficult and I don't know if I'll be able to manage 26 laps, but I'll try to get a good start and see how we go. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile and also the hospital in Catalunya who have showed great professionalism at every moment with me."

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 10th:
"We were faster on race tyres today than with the qualifying tyres. This is about the same position we were in at the beginning of the year with the old chassis on qualifiers. We had no problems in practice but as soon as we put in the qualifying tyres we had chatter. We get the problem as I lean the bike into the turns. On race tyres we can run high 1m 37s laps all day the problem is picking off the guys in front of me while I try to get to the front."

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda: 12th:
"The front brake wasn't adjusted properly and I lost ten minutes while that was fixed. Then with the set-up we went in the wrong direction this afternoon and the bike wasn't handling like it did in the morning session. The team figured it out and changed the bike back to the practice settings, but I couldn't get a decent time on a qualifying tyre; I would have been better off on a race tyre. I've always made good starts, in dirt track racing you have to. I use the launch control at the start but for me I don't think it makes a big difference. There is not a lot of room to pass on the new track, so it's wait and see in the race."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda: 13th:
"I have been using the 16 inch tyres here and so far the contact feeling of the tyre is better and the grip factor is improving. Turning into the corners is about the same as with the 16.5 inch. I had a good feeling from the tyre from the tyre the first time I used it at the Mugello test, it is a positive move in the right direction. In fact the bike is easier to ride now. We have not had to do much to the suspension to suit the tyre, just little things. My engine is good and the set up right so I will be happy to race tomorrow with what I have."

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda: dnr:
Due to shoulder injury sustained in practice.

250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda: 3rd:
"We have made a good step forward compare to yesterday as we have improved the general balance of the bike. But, we are not at 100% ready in terms of speed compare to Lorenzo. If tomorrow it won't rain we can improve further. We are not in the same conditions as we were in Mugello and Barcelona but this doesn't mean we won't fight tomorrow."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: 4th:
"I'm obviously happier than yesterday, although I do not forget that the race is tomorrow. Things didn't work out well during the morning practice but it was my fault; I wasn't much concentrated and I didn't push hard enough. But everything went much better in the afternoon, I focussed to give my best and the times were good. We have a good setup and we're almost sure about the tyres to use. Now I hope to make a good start tomorrow and to stay within the top group from the beginning."

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda: 5th:
"Yesterday I had some problems on the high speed corners but today we made major changes and they worked. So today my lap times were good and I was able to improve lap by lap with a good race pace. Also, I did my fast times by myself and this is important for me. If I'm going to do a good start I could fight for a podium-finish tomorrow."

Martin Cardenas, Repsol Honda: 12th:
"I think that it's getting better all the time. I'm feeling more and more confident with the bike and eventually I managed to improve my times and qualify among the top twelve which had been my initial idea, since I always have some trouble in qualifying. We have managed to get the set up ready in this practice, and I think that it's quite good for the race. The tyres look good after several laps, so I think that we've made a good choice."

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR: 18th:
"Riding the 250 is a little more difficult than the 125. With the 125 you can get into the corner so much faster than on a 250. But coming off the corners you have to be careful with the throttle. If you get on the gas too fast the bike slides a lot. It's fast, about as fast as the factory Hondas I could stay with Takahashi at the fast points of the circuit but my bike does not accelerate as fast as his. When I crashed I just got into the corner too fast. If I can get a good suspension - tyre combination worked out I will be OK, the bike is fast enough."

Fabrizio Perren, Stop and Go Racing: 21st:
"This is my first time at Assen and I like it, thetrack is very fast and very technical. The team has found a good base set up for the bike and we have not changed much from the race at Catalunya just a couple of clicks on the suspension. I hope for a good start so I can race with a group of fast riders and learn from them."

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR: 22nd:
"After a few problems today we found a good set up between suspension tyres and chassis, we have a very good machine balance. We still have few small things to check in the warm up. I am a little too far back on the grid too be happy but my objective is the same here as at all races - to take points from the race."

Arnaud Vincent, Molenaar Honda:
Will not race due to broken ribs sustained at a previous race.

125cc:

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 12th:
"I'm confident for tomorrow and I know to be one of the best riders on this track. I made a good lap time without the help of slipstreams. The problem is the Honda engine. On the grid there are nine Aprilias and one Ktm in front of the the first Honda. It doesn't dipend on the set up. The chassis and suspensions set up was good and the engine was good too thanks to the good work of the technicians, but it was the most it could do. and it isn't enough for make a good race. Tomorrow I will do a good start, as usual, but it will be difficult to keep the pace of the leaders."

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 11th:
"We have made lots of changes this weekend, maybe too many, and so we lost the right way. I feel the bike nervous in particular in the T1, which is the new slow part of the track. In tomorrow's warm up we have to make some more adjustments at the geometry of the bike but I am confident for the race."

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 18th:
"It's starting to come good - yesterday was all bad for me, I got rammed by Bradl on the first lap. Today I watched out for Pesek and caught his wheel and we were together for a few laps and I got a reasonable time before he raced away. The only real problem I had was in the fast fifth gear corner, I didn't have the best ratio for the corner and had to hold it at 14,800 rpm to get through it fast, normally it's 13,70 pm. The track is OK I suppose, apart from the first corner, it could be a big problem for the riders tomorrow. One thing for sure - I will need a good start, if not I just don't know what I can do."

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 19th:
"The whole session was bad I'm not happy with my place on the grid. The problem is I don't know why I'm in this position. I have the feeling I can't go fast yet this morning I had a good feel for the bike and track. From the start I had a front end chatter problem so I went into the pit changed tyres but it didn't help the front end much and I had some chatter on the rear. In the end we got things a bit better but by the time I was looking for a fast lap it was too late to catch the wheel of a fast rider and I set my time alone. The team will work hard to fix this in the warm up and I know they will improve but starting from back on this new style track is going to make my race very difficult."

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 25th:
"I'm both happy and relieved with my qualifying performance. I felt under a lot of stress after yesterday when we had rain in the first phase o qualifying. Anyway the bike is running really good, the engine is fast and the set up good. Today I just got better and better and felt good. In the morning I was running at 1m 47.3s but wanted to get into 1m 46s and I did it in qualifying. This is my best qualifying of the year and I'm sure I can improve on that tomorrow"

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: 26th:
"I make some line mistakes but I'm satisfied because I've a better feeling with the bike and I can do a good race tomorrow. We have solved the set up problems and now I'm more confident."

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 22nd:
"I don't know which position I finished at the moment but I improved on this morning, only by a little bit but I still improved. I had to do the lap time on my own because I didn't find anyone to follow and that left us pretty short time to do the fast laps so I kind of rushed around and didn't mind about passing the other riders just trying to get a clean lap in, which I did but I think that if I would have been able to get a slipstream it would have been at least three tenths faster because the wind out there is quite strong, and specially on those long straights you loose quite a bit on top speed. I'm happy but we need a little bit more. Hopefully we got a good starting position for the race and go from there."

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda: 14th:
"I am happy no after the difficult start we had to practice. The bike had a lot of rear wheel chatter. The team has fixed that problem and I took 0.7 seconds off my tie. The most important thing is that we are closer to the front of the grid than before. I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Tito Rabat, Wurth Honda BQR: 34th (replacement for Aleix Espargaro who will race a 250cc at Assen):
"I'm not too happy, well maybe OK I'm happy in the circumstances. This track is so fast you really have to concentrate you have to be so very precise to get a good lap in here. My bike is very good, the engine especially and it handles really well around here. The only real problem I have is coming off the slow corners, I can't get on the gas as hard as I need to because if I do the rear end just slides away from me."

Lorenzo Baroni, Humangest Honda: 37th:
"This morning I was running fast but at the turn in the T3 I fell off. In the afternoon, we made a step forward on the front set-up, but after 10 minutes I've been hit by another rider and forced to use bike 2. My feeling with this bike wasn't as positive as in the morning with bike 1."


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 08
Netherlands Grand Prix at Assen Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
2 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
3 Colin EDWARDS (Camel Yamaha Team)
4 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
7 Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Honda)
8 Carlos CHECA (Tech 3 Yamaha)
9 Alex HOFMANN (Ducati Marlboro Team)
10 Kenny ROBERTS JR(Team Roberts)
11 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
12 Casey STONER (Honda LCR)
13 Makoto TAMADA (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)
14 James ELLISON (Tech 3 Yamaha)
15 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
16 Jose Luis CARDOSO (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
17 Ivan SILVA (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
18 Valentino ROSSI (Camel Yamaha Team)
 
250cc
1 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Aprilia)
2 Alex DE ANGELIS (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Humangest Racing Team)
4 Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda Team 250)
5 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Humangest Racing Team)
6 Marco SIMONCELLI (Squadra Corse Metis Gilera)
7 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Equipe GP De France - Scrab)
8 Roberto LOCATELLI (Team Toth)
9 Alex DEBON (Fortuna Aprilia)
10 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM GP 250)
12 Martin CALDENAS (Repsol Honda Team 250)
 
125cc
1 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP 125)
2 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
3 Lukas PESEK (Derbi Racing)
4 Sergio GADEA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
5 Mattia PASINI (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
6 Hector FAUBEL (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
7 Andrea IANNONE (Campetella Racing Junior)
8 Nicolas TEROL (Derbi Racing)
9 Simone CORSI (Squadra Corse Metis Gilera)
10 Pablo NIETO (Multimedia Racing)
 

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