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Rossi heads Friday leaderboard

Rossi heads Friday leaderboard

Rossi heads Friday leaderboard

World Champion Valentino Rossi has won the last five season-opening Grands Prix, and showed his intention to make it six with the fastest time in today's free practice sessions. The Italian went round in a time of 1'41.613, topping the timesheets just over a hundredth of a second ahead of Loris Capirossi. The Ducati rider has had a strong series of test showings at the Andalusian track, form he will hoping to continue through the final sessions and into the race.

The home crowd had much to cheer about on this the first day of practice in Jerez. With an all-Italian top two, home riders Dani Pedrosa and Sete Gibernau completed the top four with inseparable times. The young rookie and the experienced veteran are both making new starts, Pedrosa of course debuting in the category and Gibernau riding a Ducati for the first time.

The final rider to go round in under 1'42, Shinya Nakano highlighted the dramatic improvement of the Kawasaki by coming in fifth. The Japanese had an impressive final test at the Jerez Circuit, one which seems to suit the Bridgestone tyres and brand new engine of his 2006 bike.

With the cloudy skies which had put a dampener on the morning's free practice not bringing rain to the circuit, the uninterrupted session was a chance for the riders to learn the finer points of the track in the dry. Marco Melandri and Colin Edwards were two of the riders to put in the most laps, their best times just over half a second off Rossi's pace.

With his teammate in the Honda Factory team in the top three, Nicky Hayden trailed him by four tenths at the end of today's qualifying. The top ten was completed by two rookies in the MotoGP premier class, Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet and Honda's Toni Elias, who only put in eleven laps of the track after missing the morning practice.

GP de España
FP2 - MotoGP
Official Times

1. Valentino Rossi - Camel Yamaha 1'41.613
2. Loris Capirossi - Ducati Marlboro 1'41.625
3. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda 1'41.798
4. Sete Gibernau - Ducati Marlboro 1'41.798
5. Shinya Nakano - Kawasaki Racing 1'41.939
6. Marco Melandri - Fortuna Honda 1'42.108
7. Colin Edwards - Camel Yamaha 1'42.266
8. Nicky Hayden - Repsol Honda 1'42.266
9. Randy de Puniet - Kawasaki Racing 1'42.455
10. Toni Elías - Fortuna Honda 1'42.518


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