Newly crowned 2010 MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo stamped his authority on today's free practice session at the penultimate round at Portugal's Estoril track by nearly .200s.
The Spaniard has sent his rivals a warning shot that although he has this year's championship in the bag, he will give his maximum this weekend and at the final round in Valencia next week.
"I love this track! I have won here both times in MotoGP so I am very happy to be here," said Lorenzo. "Unfortunately the weather was terrible this morning and there was no point in riding, then this afternoon it was still very difficult, with a lot of water on the track and you had to be very careful."
Lorenzo topped the time sheets with his best lap of 1'48.522 on his Yamaha YZR-M1. Factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden followed closely with a time just 0.135s from Lorenzo while his outgoing team mate Valentino Rossi in third. Race winner at Estoril for the last two years, Lorenzo is eyeing up a hat trick of wins and if he continues this pace into to Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race then it looks likely he will achieve his goal.
Heading the second row is the in-form Casey Stoner fresh from his fourth win in a row at his home GP at Philip Island in Australia with a time of 1'49.061.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3's and soon to be factory Yamaha rider for next year, Ben Spies again asserted his position of top rookie in fifth while San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri found some form to grab the last slot on the second row in sixth.
Conditions for today's free practice sessions was not good with the first one canceled after an thunderstorm came into play during the session and it was red flag and then canceled. Later in the afternoon, conditions were very tricky with a wet track for most of the session. There were four crashes in total coming from Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Aspar), Factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki).
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) was fast out of the box once more and led the session early on and finished seventh with a 1'50.043 and he was followed by Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and veteran Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) rounding off the top ten. Dani Pedrosa once again showed his guts and determination finishing in 13th despite still recovering from a fractured collarbone.
Returning from World Superbikes, Carlos Checa struggled to get to grips with his Pramac Racing Ducati finishing 17th while rookies Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) finished 14th and 15th fastest respectively.
In other news, Capirossi will start his 10th season in the MotoGP with Pramac Racing which will see the Italian back on a Ducati. His first time with the team will be at the November test at Valencia for the 2011 season preparations.
"This return on a Ducati bike makes me feel like a child! I do not feel 37 years old! I have a great desire to start this new adventure, I'm enormously pleased about this new agreement with the Pramac Racing Team which will allow me to ride and be part of an Italian team," beamed Capirossi.