ROSSI FOURTH ON RAINY OPENING DAY IN VALENCIA

2008-10-24 02:18
The traditional MotoGP season finale got underway in Valencia today in miserable weather conditions, with rain falling throughout the day. World Champion Valentino Rossi, chasing his tenth win of the season, was fourth overall despite a slip-off in this afternoon's second free practice session.

This morning's session was run in very heavy rain and cool temperatures, and Rossi completed just eight laps of the 4km circuit. The afternoon saw the rain ease off somewhat however and the Italian and his crew were able to make more headway with their wet-weather set-up, completing 21 laps and finishing the session fourth fastest. Rossi was luckily unhurt when he lost the rear at the last corner and slid into the gravel in the first half of the session and was able to remount and continue work on his second machine.

Rossi's Spanish team-mate Jorge Lorenzo had a promising opening day at his home race, finishing third in both sessions whilst Nicky Hayden topped the time sheets in both the morning and afternoon.

Position: 4th Time: 1'46.070 Laps: 29
"Today was a difficult day because this track is quite bad when it's wet and cold like this - the asphalt really doesn't give enough grip. This morning I went out just when it started to get really heavy and so I wasn't able to do any good laps, but this afternoon was better. In fact I felt good and I was quite fast with the Bridgestone wet tyres, so I think we have good potential if the conditions are like this again. Unfortunately I had a small crash at the last corner when I made a mistake and lost the rear, but I wasn't hurt at all and I was able to go back out with a slightly harder tyre and continue to work. Anyway, we were fourth finally and I am quite happy although we can be faster. Now we have to wait and see the weather for tomorrow."

Team Manager
"This morning the rain was very heavy and we only made a few laps. This afternoon it was better weather so that's when we really started working, in what were reasonably wet but not soaking conditions. Things weren't so bad and Valentino was up there with the fastest riders, but we definitely have a bit more work to do. He had a small crash when he lost rear grip at the last corner and slid off, but it was very slow and he wasn't hurt. It seems that it's likely that this weather is going to continue, unfortunately, so now we need to put together all the information we gathered today and continue to improve things tomorrow."

Combined Free Practice Times
1. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda 1'45.777
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1'45.864
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'45.959
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'46.070
5. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro 1'46.260
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) JiR Team Scot MotoGP 1'46.522
7. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'46.807
8. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Alice Team

Source: Fiat Yamaha Team

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