De Puniet surprised by quickest time
25 June 2009 – Randy de Puniet was taken aback to have set the fastest time in first practice for this weekend's Dutch Grand Prix. Having lapped Holland's Assen circuit in 1.37.842 in dry conditions, the LCR Honda man led the way from joint championship leaders Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo.
With the only LCR bike placed at the top of the day's timesheet, Frenchman de Puniet could not hide his smile when removing his helmet. "I'm very surprised because, even though my bike is good for this track, I had a lot of problems with the soft front tyre, the brakes and the electronics," he explained.
With the problems persisting for some time during the session, setup changes helped to lower the overall benchmark. "At the end I used a hard tyre for the last five laps," Randy continued. "I'm satisfied with the bike for the first day. We can still improve with the electronics and myself but it's a good surprise for me and the team today."
What qualifying coming up after second practice on Friday, what chances does the 28-year-old feel he has of starting at the front of the grid? "It will be difficult to keep this place, but I'll be working hard tomorrow and Saturday," he admitted. "We've been trying for a top ten this season; here, though, I'm better than at some tracks but the most important thing, as always, is to finish the race."