Rossi fastest on opening day, quicker than Mugello lap record
Valentino Rossi started the Italian Grand Prix in strong form on home soil, setting the fastest lap during the opening hour of free practice and recording a best time 0.25seconds faster than the existing lap record from 2008.
As the track temperature rose to 43 degrees Celsius, the Fiat Yamaha rider set his best lap on Bridgestone's hard front and medium compound rear slick tyres.
Jorge Lorenzo finished second fastest using the hard compound rear slick, just ahead of Loris Capirossi who recorded his best lap on a medium compound rear slick tyre.
Whilst every rider favoured the hard compound front tyre for its greater stability under heavy braking, the rear tyre choices were varied amongst the top five, indicating how riding style and machine setup influence tyre choice.
With the weather conditions in the region expected to remain the same for the weekend, riders' front tyre choice is likely to favour the hard compound but rear tyre choice is much more varied at this point with different riders making each of the two available specifications work well at Mugello.
Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
"The rear tyre choice was varied amongst the top riders today which shows that both the medium and the hard compound slicks are providing good performance and consistency. The hard compound slicks will provide better stability and durability, whereas the medium compound will give better edge grip so riders' tyre choice will be based on these aspects. The track condition was reasonably good from the beginning of the session, which is why the laptimes were good and Valentino was able to lap faster than the existing lap record. After only the first practice, it is a good sign for the weekend. The medium slick tyre he used for his best lap is an improved compound for this season, as we used in Qatar and at Jerez, and I am pleased with its performance and wider temperature operating range."