In my race preview, I ventured that poor weather would favor rain riders, the Yamahas and the Suzukis. I was part right, as today's first Free Practice session, held in cold and cloudy conditions, were dominated by the Yamahas, Valentino Rossi being over a second quicker than everyone else for most of the session. With Edwards second fastest, it's still unclear whether these fast times are down to the new Yamaha M1 chassis, or the reduced grip induced by the cool conditions.
The two Yamahas were followed by Loris Capirossi on the Ducati, John Hopkins on the Suzuki, Casey Stoner on the LCR Honda, and Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano. Sete Gibernau was next, with Tamada, Hayden and Pedrosa all within a couple of tenths of each other, followed by local boy Randy de Puniet on the Kawasaki, and Kenny Roberts Jr on his new Team KR. The Fortuna Honda riders are way down, Melandri in 13th, Elias in 15th, with Checa sandwiched between them in a good showing.
We will see if this afternoon brings better weather and a different outcome.