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Rossi on top in first free practice

Rossi on top in first free practice

Rossi on top in first free practice

Valentino Rossi set the pace in an open first free practice session which saw the World Champion and series leader run into difficulties on several occasions.

Rossi was clearly pushing his Yamaha in the opening session of the weekend, running wide at least twice and almost clashing with Max Biaggi, who almost ran into the gravel himself when trying to make an aggressive pass on his great rival at the end of the session, but held his nerve to clock a best time of 1'24.282.

Kenny Roberts and Makoto Tamada confirmed the recent progress being made by Bridgestone tyres with the second and fourth fastest times of the session, with Nicky Hayden sandwiched between them on his Michelin tyres in third.

Sete Gibernau, who is currently tied on points with Rossi at the top the championship and won the race here last year also on Michelin tyres, was fifth fastest.

Fonsi Nieto showed signs of a return to form with the quickest time in the opening session for the 250cc class. Nieto's lap of 1'26.016 was 0.094 seconds quicker than his team-mate Sebastian Porto, who set pole here last year, with '03 winner Roberto Rolfo third fastest. Championship leader Dani Pedrosa was fifth fastest, 0.441 seconds down on Nieto.

In the 125cc class series leader Andrea Dovizioso set the pace ahead of local favourite Steve Jenkner, the Italian teenager stopping the clock at 1'29.035.


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