Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo dominated the opening session at Montmeló today, holding the top two spots between them for the entire 45-minute practice. It was eventually the Italian who topped the time sheets with his team-mate and local-hero just three tenths behind him, leaving the Fiat Yamaha duo looking in fine form for the weekend.
Blazing sunshine made a change from the recent tricky weather conditions and with track temperatures getting as high as 49 degrees, it was a hard day for tyres and riders. The heat proved no problem for the Yamaha pair however as they went straight to the top of the time sheets and remained there throughout, swapping places between them a few times but never looking in danger of being bettered by any of their rivals. Rossi and his crew made a slight change to their base setting before they got started today and the fruits of their labours were immediately clear. Lorenzo, who is carrying a special FC Barcelona livery this weekend in honour of the Champions League-winning club, feels in similarly good shape but is hoping that a few further alterations tomorrow will close the small gap to his team-mate.
Valentino Rossi Speaks…
"We made some changes to our base setting here and already it feels much better to ride. This practice went very well for us, we were strong from start to finish and to be in first position feels good. We have found out some very interesting things, especially about my feeling with the bike, but we need to keep on working because there are still some parts that we want to make better for tomorrow. I am really happy to be able to ride the bike how I want to finally but there is still plenty more work to continue with to make sure we’re in the best possible shape for tomorrow afternoon and Sunday."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…
"I always have a few doubts coming to each new track but today everything felt really good, my bike and my Bridgestone tyres. I feel very comfortable and we can see that we have the potential to put on a really good performance here. We have a few things which we can improve so we will try to do that tomorrow but this is another good start for us. It’s very early to be making any conclusions about who will be fighting on Sunday though and for now we just have to stay focused. It feels great to be out in front of all my home fans here and I am really happy to have the FC Barcelona stickers on my bike!"
Team Manager – Davide Brivio Speaks…
"We started out today by trying some different things with our base setting and the balance and we had good feedback straight away which translated into a very strong session for us. It looks like we have found a better feeling for Valentino and this might help him to reach his potential. We were fast all through the session and now we have a good base setting to work from for this weekend. Now we just need to work on fine-tuning it tomorrow."
Team Manager – Daniele Romagnoli Speaks…
"This is a very good start for us here at Jorge’s home Grand Prix. We already have a good base-setting but we have identified one or two areas in which we can improve further still, especially in the hard acceleration. We will work on that tomorrow and hopefully we can build on this great first day."
Combined Free Practice Times
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
5. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
6. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
7. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
8. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
9. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team
10. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
11. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
12. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando
13. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
14. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
15. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
16. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing
18. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
19. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team
Montmelo': Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2008, 1’42.358
Montmelo': Best Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’41.186