2008-06-26 09:20
Casey Stoner made the most of the warm sunshine that welcomed the MotoGP riders to Assen today, clocking the fastest time of both opening free practice sessions for the Dutch TT. The Australian lapped in low 1'36s throughout the afternoon, dipping inside the current pole position record for the current track layout, set by John Hopkins in 2006 (1'36.441). Marco Melandri suffered very different fortunes and was unable to improve his lap time from the morning to the afternoon.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 1st: 1'36.078

"We're very happy with the fact we've come to another circuit and the new set up is working as well as it did at Catalunya and Donington. There don't seem to be any bad points to it and it is helping me ride like I want to again. I'm able to use harder compound tyres again and I'm just getting a better feel for the whole bike in general, without it bucking and weaving everywhere. We had a couple of moments today where it thought about trying to spit me but nothing to worry about. If you watch the race last year you can see the bike moving around a lot and we were struggling, whereas if you saw me ride today you can see what a huge step forward we've taken. In fact, maybe with the exception of Donington, this is probably the first time since Qatar where I can say that this bike is better than last year's. Today we've gone faster than the pole record on a race tyre so we're delighted with how everything is coming together."

MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team) 18th: 1'39.020

"At the moment it is not looking good. This afternoon we tried to load the front up a little more to improve the steering and feeling in the fast corners but we lost a bit of grip on the rear and in the end the bike was harder to ride. We took a step backwards with the setting at the end and I did two runs where I rediscovered the feeling I had this morning. However, at the moment we're still a long way off finding the solution to our problems."

Source: Ducati

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