Rossi quickest off the mark in Japan Valentino Rossi got his Grand Prix of Japan weekend off to a promising start with the fastest lap of the first practice session on Friday, timing in at 1'48.174 with his final turn of the hour-long run. The...
Rossi quickest off the mark in Japan
Valentino Rossi got his Grand Prix of Japan weekend off to a promising start with the fastest lap of the first practice session on Friday, timing in at 1'48.174 with his final turn of the hour-long run. The Fiat Yamaha rider snatched top spot from fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso, which left him 0.213s clear at the head of the timesheet.
In a significant twist for the Championship and an extremely unfortunate stroke of bad luck for Dani Pedrosa the Repsol Honda rider fractured his left collarbone in three places when he crashed inside the opening five minutes. The 25 year-old had completed just two laps when he came off his factory RC212V, and was stretchered to the medical centre where his injury was confirmed following X-rays.
That left Dovizioso to carry the flag for the factory team and the Italian led until the final moments of the session, eventually placing second with his time of 1'48.387. Just 0.087s behind him was Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who was exactly three-tenths of a second off his team-mate Rossi's pace.
Casey Stoner set the fourth fastest time on his Ducati Desmosedici GP10, at just seven-thousandths off Lorenzo, with Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) recovering from a moment midway through the session to place fifth. Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) completed the top six after an impressive session ended with the Japanese rider looking in good shape for his home GP.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Aspar), Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) -- on his return after a one-race absence through injury -- and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) were all inside the top ten.
There were run-offs during the session for Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda), Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) and Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing), whilst Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) had a crash inside the final five minutes which the American walked away from uninjured.