Rossi fastest in free practice Valentino Rossi made a strong start to his Chinese challenge in Shanghai today, finishing on top of the combined standings as the only rider to dip under the 1'59 mark. High temperatures are set to continue...
Rossi fastest in free practice
Valentino Rossi made a strong start to his Chinese challenge in Shanghai today, finishing on top of the combined standings as the only rider to dip under the 1'59 mark. High temperatures are set to continue tomorrow but a strong chance of rain on Sunday could turn the race into a mirror of 2005, when Rossi won a soaking inaugural Chinese Grand Prix.
The Fiat Yamaha Team rider was fast from the off this morning and topped the time sheets for the majority of the first session. This afternoon the track temperature increased and Rossi finished second to Casey Stoner, but his time of 1'59.906 from the morning was good enough to leave him at the top of the overall time sheets for the day.
Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo meanwhile had a bad crash this morning and injured both ankles; the 20-year-old will now wait for tomorrow before making a decision about riding.
Valentino Rossi 1st 1'59.906
"I'm quite happy with the start we've made. We were able to go fast from the start this morning and the bike setting and the Bridgestone tyres are working very well together. We were faster this morning because this afternoon the temperature of the asphalt reached more than 40 degrees and in these conditions the tyres start to slide a bit, which makes it harder. Anyway we have many different tyres to try, plenty of choices and I am quite relaxed. My rhythm is very good, I can ride more or less how I want and I think we're in good shape. It seems Stoner and I are a little bit faster than the others and so it looks like it could be another battle like last year!
Our bike has more top speed here now so this is important for the long straight, but my corner speed is also good. The problem could be that the weather on Sunday might be completely different to how it is now; as usual I prefer to race in the dry but I think we are in quite good shape in the wet as well. I am sorry for Lorenzo's crash, it was quite a bad one and now I hope that he is able to recover enough to try to race on Sunday."
Davide Brivio - Team manager
"Jorge's crash was very unfortunate and I hope that he is able to recover enough to try tomorrow; we wish him well. Valentino has had a good day because the bike worked very well from the start this morning and we were able to start to work on the details straight away. Now we just need to continue to fine-tune our setting and tyre choice for tomorrow afternoon and Sunday. The problem is that we're working on setting the bike for the hot, humid conditions we have at the moment and on Sunday it might be wet, but let's hope not!"
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo has suffered a fractured left ankle and severe trauma and bruising to parts of the right ankle and foot after crashing in this morning's first free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix. The 20-year-old joint World Championship leader was thrown from his M1 during a dramatic high-side at the chicane after turn one, mid-way through the session, on just his tenth lap.
After an initial examination at the circuit clinic Lorenzo was taken to the Huashan hospital in Shanghai for an MRI scan and further detailed diagnosis, before returning to the track and spending the remainder of the day resting at the Clinica Mobile. His condition will be re-assessed in the morning before any decision is taken about riding.
Dr Claudio Costa of the Clinica Mobile said: "Detailed examination has revealed that Jorge has re-fractured the top of the malleolo bone in the middle of the left ankle. Furthermore, the MRI scan showed that there are severe impact oedemas to the right heel, the astragalo bone and the tibia, but fortunately no signs of further fractures. The diagnosis shows the violence of the trauma he suffered to both his feet in the crash and Jorge now faces a very difficult task to participate in tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race."
Danielle Romagnoli - Team manager
"It's a great pity this has happened, right at the start of Jorge's weekend; we were focused on his arm following his recent operation and we were quite confident that he could ride as usual. It was a very bad crash and it is not clear yet what happened because we lost all the data when the equipment was damaged at the time. As far as we can see from the TV, he lost grip on the rear. I do not know if Jorge will be able to ride tomorrow, but in any case we have lost two sessions and we will have to work today in order to prepare the bike with an ideal set-up for tomorrow. It will be hard, very hard, as tough as Jorge is!"