x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Rossi edges Lorenzo in first practice

The two Fiat Yamaha riders are first and second after the opening practice session of the Catalunya Grand Prix.

Valentino Rossi takes on a curve at Catalunya during the first practice session.
Valentino Rossi takes on a curve at Catalunya during the first practice session.

Valentino Rossi edged out his Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the first practice session for the FIM MotoGP World Championship race in Spain. Rossi topped the first free practice timesheets at the Montmelo circuit with a time of one minute 43.038 seconds ahead of Sunday's Catalunya Grand Prix, with his teammate Lorenzo second quickest with a time of 1:43.340. Second was a marked improvement for Lorenzo who crashed on the opening day at the same venue last year and missed the race after suffering concussion. The current championship points leader Casey Stoner was third quickest after setting a best time of 1:43.636. The Ducati rider is at the top of the championship standings with 90 points, with Lorenzo four back on 86 and Rossi on 81. Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, fourth in the standings on 57 points, was down in 14th on the Repsol Honda as he rode despite a hip injury suffered less than two weeks ago.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) was fourth fastest and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) fifth. Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden (Ducati) had one of his best sessions so far this season with the sixth best time. Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki), Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha), Yuki Takahashi (Scot Racing Honda) and James Toseland (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) completed the top 10. Spaniard Sete Gibernau made his return to the track on the Grupo Francisco Hernando Ducati after recovering from a broken collarbone but was only 12th quickest. Takahashi's new teammate Gabor Talmacsi was the slowest rider in the session, four seconds behind Rossi's time. The Hungarian officially joined his new team today after quitting the FIM 250cc World Championship following a dispute over image rights with the Balatonring Aprilia team. *PA Sport