The Fiat Yamaha pairing of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got off to a flying start at the Italian Grand Prix today, taking the top two spots in the opening practice session at Mugello. After the rain-interrupted French round, sunny Tuscany is a welcome change for the riders and the Spaniard and the Italian looked in fine fettle around the 5.245km track this afternoon.
Lorenzo leads the championship from his team-mate by just one point and he looked in top form once again this afternoon. He was the only rider to dip under the current lap record as he quickly found a good setting for his M1 and Bridgestone tyres for the undulating, high-speed track.
Home-town hero Rossi also spent time at the top of the standings but finished up just under two tenths behind his team-mate in second position. He is confident that a few small set-up tweaks in the morning will improve things further as he seeks an incredible eighth consecutive win at his favourite racetrack.
1st - Jorge Lorenzo Speaks...
"This is a great start but it's too soon to speak about the race or jump to conclusions; we've only had one practice! It's true however that I didn't have any problems today and I felt very happy for the whole session. Each time we come to a new track we don't know exactly what to expect because we're still learning the new Bridgestone tyres but at the moment we seem to be fast each time and I feel very comfortable in this period; this is positive. It's very hot here, even hotter than in Spain but I am okay with that because we've had too much rain and we all need some sunshine! I hope it will continue like this for the weekend because it's better for everyone."
2nd - Valentino Rossi Speaks...
"We did quite well today and it looks like we're in good shape. It is only Friday so there's a long way to go yet, but it's looking like it could be a great battle on the track because the first few riders are very close. We have a few small things to work on still with the setting because I can't ride exactly how I want to yet, but we already have a good rhythm and we have important data to help us improve further. This is a great track for me and it doesn't matter if Mugello comes after a bad race or a good one, it's something apart from the ‘normal' championship and I always feel great motivation. Plus the sun is shining so I am very happy!"
Team Manager - Daniele Romagnoli Speaks...
"We've got the weekend going in the best way, especially because Jorge is already under the lap record which shows how comfortable he is. We're very happy with the bike but we have already found some areas that we can improve so this will be our task for tomorrow. Let's hope we can keep going in the same way because we know that everyone else will improve as well."
Team Manager - David Brivio Speaks...
"Valentino was consistently fast and amongst the top riders for the whole hour so we have made a good start. We still have some small adjustments to make and hopefully that will help us to find a few tenths more. It's very hot and if it remains like this then it will be a hard race for the riders but it's better than rain! We're feeling positive and we will continue to work and improve our package tomorrow."
Combined Free Practice Times
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'49.870
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'50.065
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro 1'50.144
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1'50.808
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha Tech 3 1'50.891
6. Alex De Angelis (RSM) Honda Gresini 1'50.898
7. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki 1'51.007
8. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'51.030
9. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda 1'51.206
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team 1'51.359
11. James Toseland (GBR) Yamaha Tech 3 1'51.401
12. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda Gresini 1'51.823
13. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki 1'51.994
14. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing 1'52.319
15. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'52.403
16. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team 1'52.607
17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing 1'52.619
Mugello: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'50.003
Mugello: Best Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2008, 1'48.130