Valentino Rossi stamped his authority in the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class. Rossi set the fastest time with over half an hour of the session left, and then kept getting faster. Rossi took a lead of over half a second, and never let his lead drop under a couple of tenths. The Italian was the only rider to crack the 1'40 barrier, and then proceeded to string together a whole series of laps on the 1'39s.
Loris Capirossi was 2nd fastest, after setting a fast lap with a minute to go in the session. Before that, the Suzuki rider had been mid-pack at best, but he pulled a very quick lap out of the bag to improve at the end.
Capirossi's fast lap forced Casey Stoner down into 3rd spot, the Australian seeming to struggle at the track at which he has never finished on the podium. Stoner spent a lot of time in the pits, in heated discussions with his engineers, and it looks like some of the Ducati's old handling problems may have resurfaced. The 2007 World Champion will hope to find something tomorrow morning, to put him back in touch with the Fiat Yamaha of Valentino Rossi.
Rossi's team mate Jorge Lorenzo is 4th fastest, the Yamaha clearly working well here, as witnessed by Colin Edwards in 6th. Edwards is the Yamaha filling in the RC212V sandwich, with Andrea Dovizioso the first Honda home in 5th, while Randy de Puniet surprised the crowds by putting his LCR Honda in 7th spot. The Playboy sponsorship is clearly working for the Frenchman.
Speaking of sponsors, Sete Gibernau turned up with a different livery, the Equatorial Guinea color scheme dropped in favor of the tasteful white, black and gold livery the Grupo Francisco Hernando team at the team presentation. It didn't do Gibernau that much good, as the Spaniard only set the 12th fastest time. Gibernau did take the honors as 2nd Ducati, Mika Kallio only managing the 14th quickest time, while Nicky Hayden and Niccolo Canepa prop up the bottom of the timesheet, both men still having problems with the GP9.
Full results of MotoGP FP1 session at Jerez:
|7||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'40.866||1.219||0.163|
|13||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||1'41.557||1.910||0.026|