After spending Thursday complaining to the press at just how weak his shoulder is, Valentino Rossi came out swinging in FP1, dominating the session almost from start to finish. The Fiat Yamaha rider ended the day with a time of 1'49.751, over a quarter of a second under Casey Stoner's race record lap, set in 2008. Whether the complaints about his shoulder are genuine, or just sandbagging to keep his opponents off-guard, is hard to say until race day, when Rossi will have to do 23 laps of the Tuscan circuit, rather than just three or four in one go.
Rossi's main competition came, as ever, from his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo came close to Rossi's times several times during the session, but never matched them, ending practice nearly four tenths behind the Italian. The man behind Lorenzo was a surprise, Loris Capirossi taking the Rizla Suzuki to a stunning 3rd place. Capirossi was clearly inspired at being back in Italy, pushing hard throughout the day. A little too hard, as it turned out, as the Italian crashed in the final minutes of practice, losing the front on the way into San Donato.
Two more surprises waited in 4th and 6th, with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies taking 4th and 6th respectively, sandwiching Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa between them. There was just the smallest of margins between Edwards and Pedrosa, though, the Spaniard finishing just a thousandth of a second behind the Texan. Spies' 6th time is very impressive, given that this is the first time Spies has ridden Mugello in anger.
A surprise too in 7th, Casey Stoner getting his Mugello weekend off to a miserable start. The Marlboro Ducati rider crashed just a few minutes into the session, running wide on the entry to Bucine, both tires sliding, and forced to stand the bike up and run off into the gravel. He looked like making it through the gravel safely, but folded the front wheel and went down at low speed. Andrea Dovizioso ended the session in 8th, ahead of Stoner's Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden.
|11||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'51.605||1.854||0.023|