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Rossi takes charge in first MotoGP Shanghai session

Rossi takes charge in first MotoGP Shanghai session

Italian breaches the two minute barrier on opening run

At a time when European followers of the MotoGP World Championship were most likely tucked up in bed, Valentino Rossi was sending a wake-up call to his title rivals. The Italian was the fastest rider of the first MotoGP session in China, snatching the top spot from 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner with a 1´59.906 lap.

The Fiat Yamaha rider was the winner of the first MotoGP race held in Shanghai, back in 2005. Weather conditions are predicted to be similar to that drenched Grand Prix on Sunday, despite sunshine at present, and Rossi will be one of the favourites as he looks to end his longest winless streak since his first MotoGP victory.

Stoner was four tenths of a second slower than Rossi onboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP8, returning to the track at which he took victory last season. All three previous Shanghai racewinners started well in the opening practice session, with 2006´s top finisher Dani Pedrosa a further five tenths down on Rossi in third.

Andrea Dovizioso was the fastest rookie of the morning, continuing his fine form with the JiR Team Scot RC212V, ahead of Rizla Suzuki´s Loris Capirossi, Tech 3 Yamaha veteran Colin Edwards, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden and the experienced heads of Shinya Nakano and Chris Vermeulen on their respective San Carlo Honda Gresini and Rizla Suzuki machinery.

The big news from the session was a crash from Fiat Yamaha´s series leader Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard suffered a dramatic highside late in the runout –his first since his maiden victory and subsequent arm surgery- and was rushed to the Clinica Mobile. He played no further part in the session.


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