Rossi leads free practice in Japan

Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo made a promising start to Yamaha’s home Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi this afternoon, with Rossi finishing at the top of the time sheets and Lorenzo close behind in third. This afternoon’s session was run in cool, dry conditions but with the weather looking unsettled for the rest of the weekend this might be the only dry session before the race and therefore data gathered today could prove key.

Rossi, who claimed his eighth championship title at this track just six months ago, was fast from the outset and found his M1 was working well despite the cold conditions. Lorenzo too felt confident with his base setting immediately and spent some time at the top of the time sheets mid way through the 45-minutes. In the closing stages it looked like the Yamaha pair would end the day in second and third, behind Casey Stoner, but Rossi’s final lap edged him ahead and he finished the day with an advantage of 0.056 seconds over his Australian rival.

1st – Valentino Rossi Speaks…

"This is a very good start because we’re at the top and this is very important! The conditions today were hard and it was difficult to reach the limit and work to the maximum with the bike and tyres, but it looks like we have a good potential here so I am happy. It’s important to be in front, even though it’s only Friday, because in Qatar we were second in every session and really we don’t like second so much; for sure first is much better! Tomorrow it seems it may rain but we haven’t had the chance to try the new Bridgestone rain tyres yet so I think that this could be an important chance for us to understand how they are. It will be interesting and I hope they are good!"

3rd – Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…

"I’m so happy with this practice session because we often struggle a bit at the start of the weekend but today this wasn’t the case at all and I felt great from the start. My M1 felt good when braking, under acceleration and in the corners so I think we are in good shape and now I hope we can continue like this tomorrow even if it rains, in fact I am quite curious to see what happens in the rain and how the lap time is."

Combined Free Practice Times

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team   1’48.545
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team   1’48.601
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team   1’48.965
4. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotGP   1’49.382
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3   1’49.697
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP   1’49.980
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda   1’50.030
8. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team   1’50.123
9. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini   1’50.209
10. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3  1’50.342
11. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda   1’50.391
12. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team   1’50.393
13. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team   1’50.404
14. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco   1’50.538
15. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Gresini   1’50.601
16. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP   1’50.669
17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing   1’51.643
18. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing   1’51.929

Motegi: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’47.091

Motegi: Best Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1’45.543

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