Belfast Telegraph

Eugene Laverty still smiling despite Assen crash

By Paul Lindsay

Eugene Laverty finished the opening day of the Dutch TT at Assen in 15th position aboard his Aspar Ducati, which also included a crash at the famous Cathedral of Speed in the Netherlands for the Toomebridge rider.

"We knew that the biggest area for us to work on with the bike is turning and we made good progress on the opening day at Assen," he said.

"Although it meant that I lost some feeling with the front of the bike on corner entry, and I confirmed that by crashing," added Laverty, who was able to poke a little bit of humour at himself for the opening day mistake.

Racing on Saturday has been a long tradition at the Dutch TT, which goes back as far as 1925, but instead of racing today, Laverty and the rest of the MotoGP paddock will be qualifying, with the 'lights and chequered flag' action held over until tomorrow.

Four different manufacturers saw their factory teams fill the top positions during yesterday's free practice sessions.

Andrea Iannone clocked the fastest lap on his Ducati, with Valentino Rossi just 4/1000ths of a second adrift on his Yamaha. Honda's Marc Márquez, Suzuki's Maverick Viñales and Jorge Lorenzo complete a top five that lapped within four tenths of each other on day one.

With rain forecast for today, the big surprise of qualifying could prove to be Dani Pedrosa, who was only 11th fastest.

Laverty, who crashed at turn five yesterday, thankfully unhurt, added: "I need to find some more front end feel."

Laverty's brother Michael set the fastest time during free practice for the British Superbike Championship at Knockhill.

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