Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi said in yesterday's press conference that he was happy to be back in Europe and racing at Jerez. Today, he showed that he's more than ready for the start of the European leg of races as he dominated today's practice in Spain, the Italian the only rider to dip into the 1:39s to lead the way by .364 of a second.Rossi lapped at 1:39.647 (Jorge Lorenzo qualified on pole for last year's Grand Prix at Jerez with a 1:38.189) in the opening session to best the surprising Loris Capirossi, the Rizla Suzuki man ending up just off Rossi's best with a 1:40.011 on the new GSV-R and he ended up as the only rider to stay within half a second of Rossi. Capirossi did his lap in the final minute of the session."Today there's no prize, like at the test here, but anyway it's really good for our work to start in such a positive way," Rossi said. "During the first two races we've had a couple of small problems and today we made a change in our setting in order to improve things and straight away we could see it was working. I could ride how I wanted with both the soft Bridgestone tyre and the hard one, and I was the fastest for the whole session. It's very hot today, which is for sure better than the rain of recent races but it means if it's like this on Sunday then the race will be quite hard on the tyres, so tomorrow we need to concentrate on refining our setting to help them as much as possible."That left Marlboro Ducati's Casey Stoner in third, just .173 of a second ahead of Rossi's teammate and the current World Championship points leader Jorge Lorenzo.Fifth fastest today was Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso, the Italian the first of the Honda men and five spots higher in the order than his Spanish teammate Dani Pedrosa. Dovizioso was the final rider to lap within a second of Rossi.Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards ended the session in sixth place, though the Texan had been as high as second for a lot of the session. Seventh went to Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda.Then came Capirossi's Suzuki teammate Chris Vermeulen, the Australian edging Hayate's Marco Melandri. Pedrosa followed in 10th with James Toseland ending up 11th on the second Monster Yamaha.Former Jerez Grand Prix winner Sete Gibernau was 12th.It was another disappointing day for former World Champion Nicky Hayden as the Kentuckian struggled and finished the session in 17th.Friday Practice

1.                  Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:39.647

2.                  Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:40.011

3.                  Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:40.268

4.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:40.441

5.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:40.601

6.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:40.703

7.                  Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:40.866

8.                  Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:41.063

9.                  Marco Melandri (Kawasak) 1:41.182

10.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:41.20817. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:41.916

 

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