Factory Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo has started his campaign for a fourth straight MotoGP win in fine style, topping the first free practice session at a dry Assen but the Repsol Honda pair of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner are chasing hard as less than a tenth covers the top three in Holland.
Lorenzo set his fastest lap with only two minutes of the session left, going round in 1'35.106 to knock Stoner off top spot by just 0.075s while Pedrosa grabbed second with his final circulation, coming in 0.02s behind his fellow Spaniard with the sister YZR-M1 of Ben Spies fifth but nearly half a second slower than his team-mate.
Nicky Hayden has got one half of the Ducati garage off to a good start, setting the fifth fastest time with his last roll of the dice but he is nearly three-quarters of a second in arrears while Alvaro Bautista is in his customary sixth place, just ahead of Hector 'Caravan" Barbera.
Cal Crutchlow put in a gritty ride to finish just behind his Monster Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in ninth and just less than a second off the pace while in the other side of the works Ducati garage, Valentino Rossi sits in tenth and a second in arrears so there may be some glances at Hayden's data before lunch.
Stefan Bradl is a chunk behind Rossi, in time as opposed to size, while Randy De Puniet heads the CRT class in 12th overall. He has team-mate Aleix Espargaro for company while Michele Pirro occupies third place. Colin Edwards is in 18th place and James Ellison 20th.
The returning Karel Abraham, who is still carrying a painful hand injury, managed 15th on the Pacemaker Ducati.