2009-10-16 06:39
MotoGP action got underway at Phillip Island in Australian today and Championship leader Valentino Rossi was in menacing form, leading the way almost from start to finish in the first practice session. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished the day sixth fastest, escaping unhurt after sliding off his YZR-M1 in the closing stages.

After heavy rain for the last two days the coastal track was granted a reprieve today and the sun shone brightly throughout the day's action. Rossi, who has not won at what is his favourite track for the last three years, set off in strong style and continued to improve his pace throughout the session as he fine-tuned the setting of his Yamaha, shaking off the issues that troubled him last time out in Portugal.

Lorenzo's meanwhile struggled today - he was feeling slightly unwell and also lacked grip, ending the session by sliding off at turn four. He was totally unhurt however and hopes that some overnight alterations to his setting and a good night's rest to recover his strength will see him on the pace tomorrow.

Rossi - Position: 1st Time: 1'31.032 Laps: 31
"Today we made a great start. We were concentrated and strong and I am really happy to start in front here at Phillip Island, which is somewhere that I love to ride. We were able to get a lot done in the practice session and try many different things and I was able to ride just how I wanted to. We can definitely improve more - even though we already have a good pace we will continue to work tomorrow and try to find a little bit more, but for the first day I think we can be very happy about our work."

Lorenzo - Position: 6 Time: 1'32.077 Laps: 23
"I just couldn't go fast today. I wasn't feeling too good - I think that I ate something last night which didn't agree with me and I felt very weak, which made it very hard to ride the bike. We had some spin and not enough grip or confidence and there were two times where I nearly crashed before I actually did. Luckily I didn't hurt myself at all and now I will just try to get a good night's sleep and then hopefully I will be much better tomorrow."

Brivio - Team Manager
"We've made a good start and it looks like we have a good pace here. Now the target is to further improve our set-up to make sure we're at the maximum. The weather has helped us today; it's always good to have the first day in the dry. Of course now we hope that it stays like this so that we can continue our work tomorrow, but if not then we will be ready for the rain too."

Romagnoli - Team Manager
"Today we didn't quite make the good start that we've maybe become used to lately, plus Jorge wasn't feeling very well; he was quite weak which made his job much harder. The main problem is on the rear, we don't have enough grip on the entry to the corner or under acceleration and at this track these areas are particularly important. Unfortunately towards the end of the session Jorge slid off at turn four when trying some improvements. He was okay but now we need to work hard to analyse all the information that we have in order to be in better shape for tomorrow, when we hope that he will be feeling better too."

Combined Free Practice Times
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'31.032
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'31.167
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1'31.528
4. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'31.786
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'31.846
6. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'32.077
7. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1'32.255
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda 1'32.502
9. Mika Kallio (FIN) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'32.572
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'32.606
11. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1'32.771
12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'32.808
13. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'33.304
14. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team 1'33.422
15. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'33.504
16. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP 1'33.818
17. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing 1'34.546

Phillip Island: Record Lap - N. Hayden (Honda) 2008, 1'30.059

Phillip Island: Best Lap - C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'28.665

Source: Fiat Yamaha Team

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