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Spies Kicks Off Assen Weekend on Top
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies began his Assen weekend today with a confident turn of speed to wrap up the first sessions as the fastest rider. The 2011 Assen race winner put in a productive simulation run in the afternoon session on the harder tire before switching to the soft to take the top spot on the time sheets with a 1’34.866 lap.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow finished the opening day of practice for the historic Dutch TT in second position after the British rider showed tremendous courage and impressive speed at the Assen circuit today. Only 11 days after breaking and dislocating his left ankle in a practice crash for his home round at Silverstone, the British rider demonstrated his bravery and skill once again by finishing just 0.006s behind fastest rider Ben Spies. Crutchlow, who rode to a heroic sixth place from the back of the grid at Silverstone, was ninth quickest this morning but was able to knock 1.2s off his best pace this afternoon to finish with an impressive lap time of 1.34.872.

The 26-year-old finished the leading non-factory rider and today's positive start was an instant reward for Crutchlow's determined efforts to be in the best physical conditions possible for the Assen race on Saturday. He has been undergoing round-the-clock treatment on his left ankle since Silverstone and although not close to 100% fitness, he has targeted a top six finish in Saturday's 26-lap race.

Ben Spies Position 1st - Time: 1'34.866 - Laps 45

“Today was a good day, both this morning and this afternoon. In the second session we did almost race distance on the tires in case it rains tomorrow to be ready for Saturday. We had quick times and then tried the soft tire at the end of the session and were able to put down some quick laps with over race distance on the front tire. The bike feels good so we’re going to continue on this path and try to make the bike even better for tomorrow and Saturday.”

Cal Crutchlow Position 2nd - Time: 1'34.872 - Laps 40

“I am happy to be second quickest considering my physical condition is certainly still not the best after the crash at Silverstone. This morning was a bit of a shock to be honest because although I have been able to do a bit of cycling at home on the Isle of Man as part of the recovery, it definitely wasn't easy. There was quite a bit of pain with the ankle this morning and it took me longer than normal to get into a rhythm. But overall I am really pleased to be second because I am still quite sore. I am sure it is going to get better the more time I spend on the bike but I had arm pump this morning too because I was compensating for the ankle. But this afternoon it wasn't an issue at all. I tried the hard and soft rear tires and felt good on both so we have done a good job as always. The target for this weekend was to try and be inside the top six throughout and I've done that today. My ideal time was actually fastest so that is a really big positive and gives me a good boost to take into tomorrow.”
2012 MotoGP Netherlands Assen

1 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1'34.866 
2 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1'34.872 
3 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1'34.968 
4 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1'35.008 
5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1'35.057 
6 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1'35.080 
7 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1'35.181 
8 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 1'35.257 
9 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1'35.296 
10 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1'35.298 
11 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1'35.337 
12 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1'36.615 
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1'36.871 
14 Michele Pirro FTR ITA 1'37.057 
15 Yonny Hernandez BQR-FTR COL 1'37.572

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