Forty-one days after breaking his leg at Mugello, Valentino Rossi was back aboard his Fiat Yamaha M1 at Sachsenring Friday, posting the seventh fastest time in Free Practice 1 (1:23.244) for Round 8 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
The 31-year-old Italian completed two test days on a Yamah R1 Superbike, one at Misano last week and one at Brno this past Monday, but FP1 was the first time he piloted his MotoGP motorcycle, the session lasting about an hour.
Valentino Rossi says: “I am really happy today, especially because I am a lot more agile on the bike than I was in the tests (at Misano and Brno). I feel good and this track is helping me because a lot of it turns to the left. I am feeling quite confident on the bike and also my shoulder is good and not giving me problems. Now I have some pain in the leg and ankle but it’s not too bad.”
Rossi was on the track in his signature Dainese leathers, but for this weekend’s eni Motorrad Grand prix Deutschland, the company designed a set of leathers specially modified for extra comfort on the bike and to provide extra protection around his healing tibia/fibula.
Rossi asked for these modifications, and Dainse said the circumference of the right leg of his suit was expanded to allow the easy pulling on of his new boot. That was expanded further today to make the injured leg more comfortable for Friday’s free practice sessions. This sessions will be the ultimate test to how much discomfort he may feel at Sunday’s race.
Valentino Rossi says: “I was able to do some laps in a row and I was quite fast so things seem okay,” he observed, before he continued: “Now we will have to wait until tomorrow morning to see how the leg is and whether it has swelled overnight or developed any problems.”
The quickest man during FP1 was Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard’s time became the fastest lap at Sachsenring with a 1:22.521. Pedrosa still holds the circuit record lap at 1:22.126 (2009).
Second and third fastest times with to Ducati Marlboro riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden, respectively. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies was fourth quickest, a mere 0.015 of a second quicker than Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli. The series leader, Jorge Lorenzo, was sixth fastest.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “Today wasn’t a good session for me and I didn’t feel so good on the bike. This isn’t one of my favourite tracks and it’s very different to the ones where I’ve won lately, so I think I need to make some changes to the way I’m riding the bike. I was fast at the start but then we didn’t improve from the middle to the end and everyone else did. We have some work to do and our goal is to be competitive by Sunday.”
The riders will return for Free Practice 2 and qualifying on Saturday.
Sachsenring Free Practice 1 Times:
Yamaha Tech 3
|ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||275.0||1’23.204||-0.683|
|8.||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||LCR
Carlo Honda Gresini
Yamaha Tech 3
|17.||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||RSM||Interwetten