Randy de Puniet says his fastest time in Assen practice came as a total surprise to him, especially as he had been unhappy with the LCR Honda earlier in the afternoon.
The Frenchman jumped from fifth to first right at the end of the Thursday session, usurping reigning champion Valentino Rossi by 0.005 second.
"I'm very surprised because I like this track and my bike is good for this type of track, but at the beginning of the practice I had a lot of problems with the soft front tyre and I did some mistakes, was a bit nervous and had some trouble with the brakes and the electronics on the bike," he told the official MotoGP website. "At the end I used the hard tire for the last five laps and I did a very good lap time and I'm satisfied. The bike is quite good for the first day. I think we can improve the bike and especially the electronic systems, and also myself."
De Puniet said he fully expected to fall back in qualifying tomorrow and would focus on getting plenty of points and continuing to improve his consistency.
"It's a big surprise for everybody but it's a good surprise," he said. "I think it will be difficult to keep this place, but anyway I will give the maximum tomorrow and Saturday.
"But my target is the same as it has been since the start of the year -- to finish in the top ten. Sure, here is better than at some races and I can get a good result, but the most important thing is to finish the race."