The first day of free practice at the Dutch TT saw both Ducati Team riders reduce their gap to the top of the time sheets. Nicky Hayden, who was third overall at day’s end, is just one tenth of a second from the provisional pole, while Valentino Rossi, who was eighth, has a gap of approximately four tenths. The Italian set his best time with the hard tyre.
The sessions took place in dry conditions, and both Rossi and Hayden hope that the good weather will continue tomorrow so that they can also try to improve their race pace.
Nicky Hayden – 3rd (1:34.968)
“I really like the Assen track, and the weather was perfect today. The team had some good ideas, and we tried a couple of things. I enjoyed riding the bike, and the day went pretty well. This morning we used the hard tyre for the entire session, and I was able to improve the rhythm in the last exit, with a tyre that had quite a few laps on it. This afternoon we didn’t make any big adjustments because the bike is working pretty well at the moment. Tomorrow we’re going to work on making the bike better at changing direction, and we’ll keep trying to make it better for race distance.”
Valentino Rossi – 9th (1:35.296)
“Today went pretty well, especially in the afternoon. I’m eighth, but the gap to the front is only four tenths, which is a decent step forward for us. Now the bike works well with new tyres, but we have to keep working on our race pace. Both Nicky and I start sliding a lot when the tyre is worn, so we have to slow down too much compared to the others. Tomorrow, in order to be more consistent and improve the pace, we must try to improve rear grip without losing it at the front. Anyway, today wasn’t a bad start.”