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Rossi sets pace as track action gets underway

Rossi sets pace as track action gets underway

Rossi sets pace as track action gets underway

Valentino Rossi set the quickest time of the first free practice session for the Cinzano British Grand Prix as the track action got underway at Donington Park on Friday morning under bright blue skies and warm sunshine. The riders had feared the worst after the paddock was flooded by heavy rain on Thursday evening but the storm cleared overnight and the track was in perfect conditions for an entertaining first session.

Colin Edwards set the early pace, with Troy Bayliss and John Hopkins also impressive, but Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi soon got to grips with the new track surface, the Italian posting the quickest time over the American by 0.137 seconds with a best lap of 1'30.483.

With a large home crowd already gathering after Thursday's successful Day of Champions, the British riders were keen to impress and Neil Hodgson in particular showed positive signs as he lapped ninth quickest, three places ahead of Shane Byrne.

In the 250cc class Alex de Angelis carried his confidence from a maiden podium in the class at Sachsenring on Sunday into the first session, dominating for virtually the whole session and setting the fastest time with a lap of 1'33.512. Like Hodgson and Byrne in the premier-class, Chaz Davies also gave glimpses of home promise with the ninth fastest time, just over a second down on De Angelis after dropping five tenths and three positions in the final push for times.

Meanwhile, in the 125cc class Andrea Dovizioso sealed the quickest time under pressure Julian Simon, his lap of 1'38.175 being 0.373 second quicker than the improving Spaniard.


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