Friday morning practice at Assen produced the scarcely believable sight of all three Repsol Honda riders crashing within a few minutes of each other.

World championship leader Casey Stoner was the first to fall, after a violent highside (pictured) at turn nine, from which the Australian walked away unharmed.

"Today hasn't been the best day for us, after this morning's fall, our confidence was dented a little and we weren't willing to push too hard," admitted Stoner. "We're struggling with the left hand side of the tyre, we just can't seem to get the temperature in to it."

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Andrea Dovizioso also crashed on the same lap, and corner, as Stoner with another big high side. After a visit to the medical centre, the Italian was given the 'all clear' and escaped with an injured left little toe and some pain in his back and neck.

"There was a wet spot next to the white strip that you cannot see when you enter the corner also, the tyre on the left was not up to temperature yet," explained Dovi. "I had a highside and it was a hard impact on the ground but fortunately I have no real problems apart from some pain in my back and neck.

"It's the first time for a while that I have had such a big accident and I was really happy with the protection from the leathers and boots."

Moments after Dovizioso's fall Hiroshi Aoyama, standing in for injured Dani Pedrosa, fell from his factory RC212V in turn thirteen! He too visited the medical centre and was happy to walk out without any serious injury.

"I saw Casey and Andrea falling in a left hand corner and I immediately thought I had to be careful because here it's very difficult to get grip in left corners. But a few corners later I crashed and it was totally unexpected," said Aoyama.

"It was a big one, around 190 kilometres per hour and I hit my back. It was very painful, I received an injection at Clinica Mobile for the Qualifying Practice, but in the end the pain remained almost the same. I hope I can rest a bit tonight and feel better for the race tomorrow."

The afternoon qualifying passed without further incident for the Repsol riders, who will line-up third (Stoner), fifth (Dovizioso) and twelfth (Aoyama) on Saturday's grid.

"Qualifying went ok, we're happy with front row and I don't think we could have matched Marco's time, it was pretty impressive and he's been consistently fast all weekend here, to be honest I'm a little bit disappointed with our race pace which we need to improve quite a lot so we'll have to see what we can do for tomorrow," said Stoner.

Yamaha's Ben Spies will start between Simoncelli and Stoner, on the front row, with Stoner's nearest title rival Jorge Lorenzo heading row two.