Marco Simoncelli has laid all the criticism and complaint to one side, topping the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Mugello and smashing the race lap record by well over half a second. The session became a battle of the Hondas, with Simoncelli and Casey Stoner swapping the lead, with the San Carlo Gresini rider coming out on top at the end. Stoner sits just four hundredths of a second ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Andrea Dovizioso, Dovizioso getting a little help with his lap times by following Stoner around the track.
The factory Yamahas follow the factory Hondas, with Jorge Lorenzo a tenth ahead of his teammate Ben Spies, and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards in a solid 6th spot. Dani Pedrosa returned to racing after three races away, and after taking his time to find his feet, finished in 7th, posting a strong time in his final lap. Nicky Hayden was the first of the Marlboro Ducatis in 8th, while Simoncelli's San Carlo Gresini teammate Hiroshi Aoyama ended the session in 9th, ahead of Alvaro Bautista, the Rizla Suzuki much better in the hot conditions in Tuscany.
The man the crowds have come to see - there are a surprisingly large number of people here for a Friday morning - had a very tough start to the weekend. Valentino Rossi was running in mid-pack for most of the session, but two consecutive electrical problems on his Marlboro Ducati GP11.1 saw him relegated all the way down to 13th place. The fact that the GP11.1 is based on the developmental GP12, the bike to be next year, appears to mean that the bike is still being plagued by teething problems.
|12||14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||1'50.729||1.742||0.046|