Valentino Rossi believes he has transferred his Barcelona pace to Assen after taking a close second place in the first practice session today.
The Italian got his title defense back on course by beating his teammate Jorge Lorenzo to victory in an epic, Yamaha-dominated, race at Catalunya two weeks ago. Rossi then held the top spot in today's session until LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet edged ahead by 0.005 second in the last minute, and said that just as had been the case in Spain, he had been delighted with his bike from the outset.
"I'm happy about today's practice because I was fast from the start and I could ride the bike how I want," said Rossi. "This is very important because it means that the modifications we made in Barcelona are working here too, even though this is a different type of track.
"Now we have one or two small things to fix in order to improve our overall performance and lap time further. Anyway, we're there, second by just a tiny bit and feeling good."
Lorenzo was more frustrated after ending the day in fourth, 0.2sec down on Rossi's time.
"Today wasn't perfect but we were still quite fast and I am happy enough," said the Spaniard. "It hasn't been like Barcelona but anyway all the top riders are very close and we are only two tenths behind the lead. I expect tomorrow, with the riders all close like this, times will get even quicker so we need to check a few things and make some small improvements to our setting."
Rossi added that his only concern was the possibility of changeable weather later in the event.
"It seems there is a doubt for the weather on Saturday, which is a pity," he said. "Of course I hope it's dry – but if it's going to be a wet race then I hope we have the chance for one or two wet laps before the race in warm-up otherwise it will be quite hard."