Hanika begins Dutch TT in the Top 525/06/2015
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has great start to weekend at Assen, setting fifth fastest time. Miguel Oliveira goes tenth and Brad Binder twenty-seventh.
The Dutch TT began on Thursday at Assen, with the riders on track for the opening Free Practice sessions. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider to feel the most comfortable was Karel Hanika, who improved his solid morning time in the afternoon to go fifth. Miguel Oliveira, tenth, and Brad Binder, twenty-seventh, are hoping to take a step forward on Friday.
In track temperatures of around 19°C, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders used the first 40 minutes of the day to start adjusting their setups. Oliveira, Binder and Hanika tested different tyre compounds, in order to work in the afternoon with used rubber with an eye on Saturday’s race. In the Free Practice 1 timesheet Oliveira was seventh -1:43.276-, Binder eleventh -1:43.777- and Hanika twelfth -1:43.827-.
In the afternoon it was the young Czech who took a step forward. From the opening lap until 15 minutes from the end, Hanika was at the head of the timesheets, repeatedly improving his best time. At the end, a crash at Turn 3 on his last attempt left him in fifth place -1:42.553. Oliveira was tenth -1:43.008-, and Brad Binder twenty-sixth -1:43.969- after not feeling as comfortable in FP2 as they would have liked.
Friday sees qualifying at 12.35pm, in which Oliveira, Hanika and Binder will try to fight for the pole position which Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Jack Miller took last year.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Danny Kent (Honda) 1:41.860
2. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:42.137 +0.277
3. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:42.286 +0.426
4. Fabio Quartararo (Honda) 1:42.552 +0.692
5. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.553 +0.693
10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:43.008 +1.148
27. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:43.777 +1.917
“It was not our best day. In the first practice I did not feel too comfortable on the bike and I was not able to find a good feeling with the front -something that had not happened to us all season. In the afternoon we tried to correct it, but we could not find a definitive solution. We were able to improve a little on our times, but not by much -two tenths- and tomorrow we will have to find solutions in order to get up to the front. This is only practice and I’m not worried. The important thing is how the weekend ends, not how it starts, but we have to correct the situation as soon as possible as our rivals are already fast. We have already seen the circuit record broken.”
“To be honest, the second session did not go as expected. We tried to load more weight on the front, because we wanted to change the feeling from the first session, but we took the wrong direction and things got even more difficult. I couldn’t break or enter corners as I would have liked and it was hard to turn. I gave 110% but I did not manage to get a good lap. We have talked with the team and I’m not worried, because we have good ideas about what we need to do tomorrow, so we’ll start from scratch again.”
“Assen is my favourite track. I love it and am very happy to compete here. In the first practice we focused on going step by step to start to pick up the pace, and we saw how the tyres work. I rode with used tyres and we have made some changes to conserve the tyres until end of the race. In the second session we were able, from the outset, to put in some good laps and we led the way for a while. I am sure that tomorrow my times will improve, because on my best laps I encountered a lot of traffic and had to overtake some other riders. At the end I had a small crash but it was nothing serious. I am already looking forward to qualifying tomorrow!”