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Rossi sets the early Jerez pace

Rossi sets the early Jerez pace

Clearly enjoying the return to European test action as he celebrates his 29th birthday, Valentino Rossi has been the rider on the pace thus far at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, with a lap of 1'40.641 putting him at the top of the timesheet at lunchtime.

Clearly enjoying the return to European test action as he celebrates his 29th birthday, Valentino Rossi has been the rider on the pace thus far at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, with a lap of 1'40.641 putting him at the top of the timesheet at lunchtime.

The Italian's time in race trim is faster than his own fastest Jerez lap in a race, set in the 2005 Grand Prix, and he has managed to regularly breach the 1'41 mark this morning, onboard his evolving Fiat Yamaha M1 prototype.

Indeed it has been a positive start to the MotoGP Official Test weekend for Yamaha as a whole with Tech3 newcomer James Toseland keeping up his impressive pace thus far in winter testing, as the second quickest participant as of 1.30pm. The Englishman's American team-mate Colin Edwards and Rossi's new colleague Jorge Lorenzo have also managed top six times.

Casey Stoner, the current World Champion, is the only Ducati rider in the top ten so far, with a lap 0.252s behind Rossi's best in third place, while the 2006 MotoGP title winner Nicky Hayden sits fourth on the timesheet as he continues his development of the Honda RC212V.

Hayden's Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa is currently around a second off the pace, but has already managed 25 laps despite this being his return to riding after injuring his right hand just over three weeks ago.

Similarly Kawasaki's John Hopkins is not letting his ruptured groin muscle hold him back as he puts in the laps as part of his rehabilitation following his Phillip Island crash at the end of January.

The sunny, pleasant conditions and the full line-up of MotoGP riders present have proven popular with local fans who have turned out in their thousands to observe Saturday's proceedings.

A full report at the end of today's work-out for the premier class teams will follow shortly after the scheduled 6pm commencement of testing, with interviews from the Jerez paddock with the day's key protagonists also to be found on motogp.com.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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