Injured Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow battled through the pain barrier to set the second fastest time on the opening day of practice at Assen.

The British star, who broke his left ankle and suffered a dislocation during a fall in practice at Silverstone, ended day one at the historic venue just 0.006s adrift of pace-setter Ben Spies ahead of Saturday's Dutch MotoGP.

Crutchlow was ninth quickest in the morning session but shaved 1.2 seconds off his time in the afternoon, setting his fast lap on a soft rear as the session reached a conclusion.

The 26-year-old, who finished sixth last time out at Silverstone despite starting from the rear of the grid, has been receiving constant treatment on his ankle since his home race.

"I am happy to be second quickest considering my physical condition is certainly still not the best after the crash at Silverstone," Crutchlow said.

"This morning was a bit of a shock to be honest because although I have been able to do a bit of cycling at home on the Isle of Man as part of the recovery, it definitely wasn't easy.

"There was quite a bit of pain with the ankle this morning and it took me longer than normal to get into a rhythm," he added.

"But overall I am really pleased to be second because I am still quite sore.

"I am sure it is going to get better the more time I spend on the bike but I had arm pump this morning too because I was compensating for the ankle.

"But this afternoon it wasn't an issue at all."

Crutchlow's target remains a top-six finish this weekend and his performance on the opening day has given him a massive boost.

"I tried the hard and soft rear tyres and felt good on both so we have done a good job as always.

"The target for this weekend was to try and be inside the top six throughout and I've done that today," he added.

"My ideal time was actually fastest so that is a really big positive and gives me a good boost to take into tomorrow."


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