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Spanish riders rule at Valencia

Spanish riders rule at Valencia

Spanish riders rule at Valencia

Ducati Marlboro's Carlos Checa dominated the first free practice session at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia setting a fastest lap of 1'33.837. Checa hit the top of the timesheets midway through the session, demoting fellow Spanish rider Sete Gibernau to second. Both Spaniards improved then their lap times throughout the session and finished up within a whisker of each other with Checa edging out Gibernau by just 0.004s.

Third fastest was Marco Melandri, who will look to retain second position in the championship this weekend and finish the season as runner-up to Valentino Rossi. The Italian, who took his debut win a fortnight ago in Turkey, was followed by Honda factory colleagues Alex Barros and Nicky Hayden.

Loris Capirossi, who is back from injury after missing the Australian and Turkish rounds, was sixth fastest after an early incident. In the opening minutes of the session, Shinya Nakano and Capirossi collided and crashed after the Kawasaki rider clipped the rear wheel of the Italian in the first hairpin. Fortunately both riders walked away unscathed from the accident and were quickly able to resume their session. However, Nakano crashed again later and is currently undergoing a medical examination at the Clinica Mobile.

Valentino Rossi was the fastest Yamaha rider of the session, sporting the Japanese factory's traditional red, white and black corporate colours, the Italian ended up seventh quickest time with team-mate Colin Edwards in ninth behind Max Biaggi. Japanese rider Makoto Tamada completed the top 10, while his compatriot Ryuichi Kiyonari, who is standing in for the injured Troy Bayliss at Camel Honda this weekend, was twelfth fastest. Other MotoGP returnees, Alex Hofmann and Kurtis Roberts, posted the fourteenth and nineteenth best times respectively.


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