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Rossi leads the way in opening Mugello practice

Rossi leads the way in opening Mugello practice

The defending World Champion was the only rider under the 1’50” mark as he got his home GP, the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM, off to a strong start in the first practice session. Jorge Lorenzo made it a Fiat Yamaha one-two.

Valentino Rossi laid down an opening warning to the rest of the MotoGP field by setting the fastest time in the first practice at Mugello. The Italian is going for his eighth premier class win at the circuit this weekend, and was almost four-tenths of a second faster than his team-mate and Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi and Lorenzo established themselves at the forefront of the timesheet early on and Rossi continually improved his time as the session reached its climax. Inside the final ten minutes he finally broke the 1’50” barrier, setting a hot lap of 1’49.751.

Ending the first practice at 0.369s further back in second place was Championship leader Lorenzo, with Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) pushing up into third with a late surge that left him 0.608s off the pace of his fellow Italian’s top marker. Capirossi then experienced a fall pushing hard through San Donato as his session ended a minute or two earlier than anticipated.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech3) enjoyed a good opening session and was fourth fastest, just over a second off Rossi, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) the highest-placing Honda at just a thousandth of a second behind Edwards.

Ben Spies impressed on his first MotoGP outing on the track by registering the sixth best time, just over two-tenths off Pedrosa. Casey Stoner, who will be looking to pull on the inspiration of last season’s race win at the circuit after his difficult opening to the 2010 campaign, had the worst possible start to the hour-long practice when he experienced a run-off at Turn 15. The Australian had to take his Desmosedici GP10 down into the gravel to avoid hitting the fence, and eventually placed seventh in the session as he completed 15 laps, the fewest of the field.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) and Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) all set top-ten times as well, the rookie running off at Bucine early on just moments after Stoner had, and without consequence. Rizla Suzuki rookie Álvaro Bautista made his return after sitting out the last race at Le Mans due to his recovering collarbone, and was clearly still feeling some discomfort with a best time just over 5.5s off that of Rossi.


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