Reale Avintia Racing riders Loris Baz and Hector Barbera finished the first practice day for the Netherlands Grand Prix in 16th and 18th place. Both riders worked hard with their crews to refine the set-up of their Ducati Desmosedici bikes for this demanding layout. Assen is a really fast and flowing track without emphasis on last-gasp braking, which allows the riders to shift the weight balance towards front of the bike in order to get the best performance from the front tyre. This was the main focus for both Baz and Barbera today and even though their progress doesn’t seem to reflect in the time sheets, they are not too far from the Top 10 as the lap times have been really close together today.

Rain is expected tomorrow and if the forecast is correct, the Reale Avintia riders see realistic chances to improve their position, because wet conditions are usually favourable for them and their Ducati Desmosedici machines.

“It was difficult in the morning because my feeling with the bike was not great. But we made several changes to the set-up for this afternoon and everything went better. With this new front tyres, you need to put more weight on the front to make them work, but with my size this is not easy to get used to. But it was clear that this change helped us to improve. At the end we mounted fresh soft tyres to try to do a fast lap, but maybe the medium front would have been a better choice. But we are just 0.4s from the Top 10 and this is not bad. It seems that tomorrow it will be raining for the whole day, so we’ll prepare everything for Q1 and try to get in Q2.”

“To be honest, this is not the way I like to start the weekend and maybe at this track we struggle more with our bike problems. We need to put more weight on the front because you don’t use the brakes so much at this track and we don’t stress the front tyre enough. If we look at the time sheets, everything is really tight and we just missed a couple of tenths to get in Q2. Maybe I failed when I went out for a fast lap, but overall my pace was quite fast. If I’m lucky tomorrow and it doesn’t rain in the morning, I might be able to improve my lap time. We have to improve the bike in the braking points. If it rains, I will to do my best to get the best possible position on the grid, although I do not have a lot of experience with this bike in wet conditions.”