Rossi Just Behind Lorenzo in Mugello

Cycle News Staff | May 29, 2009

Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi began his pursuit of eight victories in a row at his home track of Mugello by finishing second to teammate Jorge Lorenzo in Friday’s free practice on a sunny day at the picturesque circuit north of Florence.Looking to extend a victory run that began on a 500cc Honda in 2002, Rossi finished .195 secs. behind world championship leader Lorenzo in Friday’s lone one hour session. Lorenzo’s time of 1:49.870 mins. was .195 secs. faster than his Italian teammate. Rossi was on pole last year with a time of 1:48.130 mins.”We did quite well today and it looks like we’re in good shape,” Rossi said. “It is only Friday so there’s a long way to go yet, but it’s looking like it could be a great battle on the track because the first few riders are very close. We have a few small things to work on still with the setting because I can’t ride exactly how I want to yet, but we already have a good rhythm and we have important data to help us improve further.”This is a great track for me and it doesn’t matter if Mugello comes after a bad race or a good one, it’s something apart from the ‘normal’ championship and I always feel great motivation. Plus the sun is shining so I am very happy!”Said Lorenzo, “This is a great start, but it’s too soon to speak about the race or jump to conclusions; we’ve only had one practice! It’s true, however, that I didn’t have any problems today and I felt very happy for the whole session. Each time we come to a new track we don’t know exactly what to expect because we’re still learning the new Bridgestone tires, but at the moment we seem to be fast each time and I feel very comfortable in this period; this is positive.”It’s very hot here, even hotter than in Spain, but I am okay with that because we’ve had too much rain and we all need some sunshine! I hope it will continue like this for the weekend because it’s better for everyone.”Italy was also represented by the third fastest rider, Casey Stoner. The Australian rode the Ducati Marlboro GP09 to the third fastest time of 1:50.144 mins, less than a tenth behind Rossi.Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa recorded the fastest time in MotoGP history en route to the fourth fastest time. Taking advantage of his light weight and the long Mugello front straight, Pedrosa topped out at 349.3 kph/217.044 mph. Pedrosa’s lap time of 1:50.808 mins. was less than a tenth of a second faster than fifth fastest Colin Edwards (1:50.891) and Alex De Angelis (1:50.898).Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi was the first rider in the 51’s at 1:51.007 mins. and a tick better than LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet (1:51.030).Andrea Dovizioso put the second Repsol Honda in ninth just in front of fellow Italian Marco Melandri on the Hayate Racing Kawasaki.Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden continued his struggles on the GP09 by finishing the day 15th fastest with a best lap of 1:52.403 mins.MotoGP Practice:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:49.870

2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:50.065

3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:50.144

4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:50.808

5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:50.891

6. Alex De Angelis (Honda) 1:50.898

7. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:51.007

8. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1:51.030

9. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:51.206

10. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) 1:51.359

11. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:51.401

12. Toni Elias (Honda) 1:51.823

13. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:51.994

14. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1:52.319

15. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:52.403

16. Yuki Takahashi (Honda) 1:52.607

17. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:52.619