Rossi and Lorenzo top the charts at sun-soaked Mugello
Valentino Rossi Valentino Rossi looked as happy as ever at his beloved home track of Mugello this afternoon, shaking off the pain of his shoulder injury to set the fastest time on the opening day. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was 0.369 seconds behind him in second and the pair looked in command of the situation as this fourth round of the season got underway, deep in the Tuscan countryside.
Local hero Rossi has won here an incredible nine times in his career and professes to this being one of his favourite tracks, and the 31-year-old certainly looked at his best today as he topped the standings for almost the entire session. He is still suffering from lingering pain in his right shoulder from the injury he sustained over a month ago, but a good base setting went a long way to allowing him to ride more comfortably today and he and his crew are hopeful of continuing in the same vein tomorrow.
After two wins on the bounce championship leader Lorenzo looked the same confident package today as he lapped consistently fast to finish the day second behind his team-mate. The Mallorcan is planning to try a few changes tomorrow to try to maximise the potential of his M1 around this high-speed track, but he is feeling relaxed after a good start to the weekend.
Valentino Rossi 1st - Time: 1'49.751 - Laps: 26
"I am so happy to be back here in Mugello and we did a good first practice. We worked well, trying a lot of different settings as well as soft and hard Bridgestone tyres, and we are quite fast. I still have pain in my shoulder but it seems that this track isn't as bad and today I wasn't suffering like I did in Le Mans. Of course we don't know how the shoulder will feel over the weekend but at this early stage I'm quite confident. The important thing is to work at 100% to find the right setting and make sure we're as fast as possible for Sunday."
Jorge Lorenzo 2nd - Time: 1'50.120 - Laps: 27
"I'm happy about this session and I'm feeling quite good. It's always difficult to be fast straight away here, because you need many laps to understand the track with all its changes in direction, but after I had done some laps I improved a lot. Now we have to try to improve some things on the bike. The most important thing is to get on the front row tomorrow and to do that we need to make some small changes. The weather is hot but it's okay, I'm fit, well prepared and have a good pace already."
Davide Brivio: Team Manager Valentino Rossi
"A very good session for us. Yesterday we had a long meeting and came up with a plan for today, then we tried many different settings and now we have some good information. Valentino is already fast and in the lead so it looks like we've found a good base for this weekend. He still has some pain in his shoulder but we expected this; hopefully if we can set the bike up properly then we can make up for this and allow him to ride how he wants. We've made a great start to the weekend and we will try to continue tomorrow."
Wilco Zeelenberg: Team Manager Jorge Lorenzo
"We're feeling relaxed and confident after this first practice in Mugello and Jorge's lap time is good. We have some ideas to make things even better and we need to work on the ability to turn the bike, because this could be improved at the moment. The set-up is working well so far even if it's not perfect, but we're pleased with the second position. Of course Valentino is very strong here but we have no complaints so far with our performance."