De Puniet fastest in first Assen practice
25 June 2009 – LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet surprised more than a few when setting the fastest lap time in first practice for this weekend's Dutch Grand Prix. The Frenchman set the pace, edging out Valentino Rossi by just five thousandths of a second, with Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo in close attendance.
For the majority of the hour-long run, Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo had resumed their inter-team tussle by trading fastest laps, but eventually the duo were usurped by flying Frenchman De Puniet and then Lorenzo by Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner - the rider with whom the leaders are tied on 106 points in the overall classification.
Just five thousandths of a second divided De Puniet and Rossi, with Stoner a further three hundredths down and Lorenzo only just unable to breach the 1.38.000 barrier, the other side of which de Puniet's fastest time was 1.37.842. Trailing the early pace setters were Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards, all under half a second down on the quickest time.
Adjusting to the track in the first practice run, many riders took a trip into the run-off areas in their quest to find the limit of their 800cc machinery. However, only one rider came off his bike, namely Scot Racing's Yuki Takahashi. The Japanese rider suffered a highside that left him shaken but apparently uninjured.