The following is from Ducati...Casey Stoner set an early target that his rivals were unable to follow in this afternoon's opening free practice for the Grand Prix of Spain, clocking what proved to be the fastest time of the session after just four laps. An effort of 1'39.731 was inside the quickest lap of last year's race and secured the Australian's position at the top of the timesheet overnight, despite a crash at the end of the session from which he escaped unharmed.His team-mate Nicky Hayden also made an impressive start to the weekend, racking up 25 laps and clocking the third fastest time of the session. Hayden's form continues a positive start to his season, having been challenging at the top of the time sheets throughout winter testing and battling for the podium at the opening race in Qatar three weeks ago.CASEY STONER (Ducati MotoGP Team) 1st (1'39.731)
"My first run was okay but we had some problems in braking so we spent the rest of the session trying to improve this area, comparing the two bikes. The crash at the end was a similar situation to Qatar - I went into the corner with less pressure on the front and it closed. It's never nice to crash but at least it gives us a better understanding of what happened in Qatar and which direction we need to take with the set-up over the rest of the weekend. Other than that I am really happy - I think this is the first time I've been fastest in any MotoGP session at Jerez. We've started out strongly, we have no worries and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."NICKY HAYDEN - (Ducati MotoGP Team) 3rd (1'40.148)
"The session went well and I'm really happy right now because this is a big one for us. I was fast in Malaysia and Qatar but that was after a lot of testing at those tracks, experimenting with many different settings, but we've come here and been fast out of the gate, which was one of my goals for this season - to be on the pace on Fridays. We didn't set the world on fire or break any track records so we're not getting carried away but the bike is close and if we can get it a little better in the fast corners we should have a good package. The team made one little change today that helped a lot and on my last exit I was able to stay in the 1'40s from the first lap to the last. It's a good start and if we keep working in this way we can have a good weekend."The following is from Suzuki...Loris Capirossi's fastest time of 1'40.716 from his 23 laps of the 4,423m Spanish circuit gave him sixth place overall in the standings. He made some big changes to the set-up of his GSV-R in preparation for this weekend's event and from the first evaluation he is pleased with the new settings, but also knows there is extra to come to make his machine more competitive.Álvaro Bautista is making his home MotoGP debut this weekend and acquitted himself well during the first day. He recorded a quickest time of 1'41.093, to give him ninth place overall after his 25 laps of the Jerez track. He is eager to make a good impression in front of his home fans and will be determined to continue to improve over the weekend.Today's single hour of practice was held in warm and sunny conditions, with air temperatures getting up to 26ºC and track temperatures in the high 40s. Casey Stoner on a factory Ducati set the fastest time of the day with a lap of 1'39.731.Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session on Saturday morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 27-lap race will get underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).Loris Capirossi:
"We decided to take a bit of a risk today and make some big changes to the bike in the hope that it would help us take some big steps and for sure it has certainly helped us. I have to give a big thanks to everyone involved for letting us make the changes. We had a big meeting between my guys and Sahara san and it looks like we have solved one of the biggest problems we have. Overall we need to continue to work in this direction and I think we will make yet more discoveries that will help us. Today has been a good day for me and Suzuki and I think there is more to come!"Álvaro Bautista:
"This is a new circuit with new reference points for me on a MotoGP bike, so it felt like I had to start working all over again. I tried to find a good line on the track and worked with the team to get a good base setting. At the end of the session I tried the softer compound tyres and I had a lot of grip from the rear and I was able to exit the corners much quicker, but I think I felt a bit too much movement from the front and I wasn't able to enter the corner like I could on the harder tyres, so that is something we have to work on tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow and we will have to work very hard to get everything right. I think we are in a good position in the classification because we are in the top 10 and at my home GP I want to have a good race, but before that we have a lot of work to do on the bike and we must get a good setting so I can compete and enjoy myself!"Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"It's been a solid start to our preparations for the Jerez Grand Prix. There is not a lot of space around this circuit for the big bikes to stretch their legs and I'm sure the GSV-R felt a bit of an animal to Álvaro on his first run around here on anything bigger than a 250. He certainly didn't look out of place during the course of the session and to be in the top 10 at the end is a very encouraging result."Loris has tried a very different set-up to that which he has used over the winter and there are some advantages, but as ever, there are also some disadvantages. Top six with a couple of problems is very reasonable and if we can make the bike a little easier and stable to ride through the fast stuff - but keep the rear grip that this setting has generated - then we can expect Loris to have a very competitive weekend."The following is from Yamaha...Local hero Jorge Lorenzo looked back to his best today, finally fully recovered from his broken hand and on fast form in Jerez to finish practice in second place. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi is now the one recovering from injury but the World Champion was happy to find he was able to ride well enough to keep in touch, setting the fifth fastest time.Lorenzo always enjoys this race and has taken pole position for the last four years, twice in the 250cc class and twice with Yamaha in MotoGP. Able to use his hand properly today for the first time since the opening test of the season, last year's runner-up was delighted with his form and found he had a strong race pace from the word go. His time today was just off last year's lap record and 0.144 off fastest man Casey Stoner, but he and his team hope that a few small tweaks tomor row will see them on their best game for tomorrow's qualifying session.Having damaged his shoulder in a recent motocross accident, Rossi's primary concern today was finding out how strong he felt on the bike and how hard he was able to push. He and his crew were relieved to discover the situation was not too bad; the 31-year-old was able to ride 25 laps without any painkillers and was only 0.628 off Stoner's time. He hopes that improvements to his setting, a bit more rear grip and possibly some pain management will put him closer to the front for the rest of the weekend.Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 2nd Time: 1'39.875 Laps: 30"I'm really happy with this first day. Everything has gone well and I don't have any pain in my hand anymore. I feel as good on the bike as I felt last year when I got pole, although my aim is to make sure I don't repeat the same mistake in the race this time! I always feel like I ride well here and I've already got a good pace; with some small modifications we can be even better. I don't think the perfect MotoGP bike exists but our Yamaha is definitely nearly there, maybe we just need a bit more top speed... Tomorrow my aim is to improve my pace just a bit more to be consistently in the 39s; I'm excited about the weekend."Valentino Rossi
Position: 5th Time: 1'40.359 Laps: 25"The shoulder is a bit sore, especially in the two or three harder braking areas, but the most important thing is that I can ride! Of course this pain makes it more difficult but I was able to do 25 laps today without painkillers, and the pain didn't get any worse as the session went on. I didn't take any painkillers because I wanted to understand the level and so tomorrow and Sunday we will consider something for the pain. Today we used two different settings and now we will decide which direction to go in for the rest of the weekend. We need to find a bit more rear grip in order to be more competitive, because at this moment this is slowing us down more than the shoulder."The following is from Repsol Honda...Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa finished today's first MotoGP practice session at Jerez in a promising fourth place as the weekend's track action began in preparation for Sunday's Grand Prix of Spain - the first European race of the 2010 season. Pedrosa's factory Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso finished in twelfth place, in a close session where the seventeen MotoGP riders were split by just a little over two seconds.Riding with the latest chassis updates to his Honda RC212V, Pedrosa made a positive start to the weekend, progressively bringing down his lap times and climbing to within half a second of today's fastest rider, Casey Stoner, as the one-hour session drew to a close. Jerez is a circuit Pedrosa loves - he won the MotoGP race here in 2008 - and the 24-year-old Spaniard put that pedigree to good use as he and his crew went in search of the handling improvements he's seeking in order to mount a challenge for victory again in Sunday's 27-lap race.After his impressive podium finish at round one of the World Championship in Qatar three weeks ago, Dovizioso made a more steady start to the weekend at a circuit which, in contrast to Pedrosa, is not one of his favourites. Working with his crew to find the right machine balance for the varied nature of the Jerez track, the Italian set a best lap time of 1m 41.277s. Although it was just 1.5s behind the fastest time, this placed Dovizioso in 12th and the 24-year-old will be looking to take a step forward in tomorrow's two sessions to give him the best chance of qualifying near the front.The Spanish Grand Prix weekend continues tomorrow with a further hour of free practice in the morning before the qualifying period, which commences at 13.55.DANI PEDROSA - 4th - 1m 40.200s +0.469s "Well, it feels great to be riding at Jerez in front of the Spanish fans again and already we can begin to feel the special atmosphere that builds up here. We tried a new chassis today and there is an improvement in some areas which meant we could finish the session not too far from the front. There seemed to be a lack of grip today though and we need to look at the data and work out if the problem is our set-up or just the condition of the track. We haven't found all the solutions we're looking for with the new parts on the bike yet, so we need to work hard in tomorrow's two sessions and try to qualify well. Every race is important of course, but because this is my home race I really want to do well on Sunday."ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - 12th - 1m 41.277s +1.546s "I knew that the characteristics of this track could increase some of our issues and that's what happened today. Compared to Sepang and Qatar, Jerez is a slow track and it requires strong braking performance and strong acceleration. We knew that I might struggle a little here but today the practices didn't go as we expected. From the beginning it was quite hard to find a good feeling and I struggled to improve my lap times through the session. At the moment there's a fair gap to the first riders and we need to find some improvements in a few areas. We have already had a meeting with the technicians to analyse the data and decide on a plan for the rest of the weekend so I'm confident about making improvements tomorrow."