GP Le Mans, practice:Dovizioso leads at mixed Le Mans. Rossi sixth, watching the weather.

GP Le Mans, practice:Dovizioso leads at mixed Le Mans. Rossi sixth, watching the weather.

    Andrea Dovizioso set the fastest lap time during a mixed Friday free practice session at Le Mans, during an hour long session split almost exactly in half by rain. 

    Friday's session was the first of the 2009 season to last for one hour, after a recent rule change reversed the switch to 'cost-cutting' 45-minute sessions. 

    However, the fast changing Le Mans weather did its best to negate the change, with rain arriving shortly after the midway point and sending all riders into the pits while bikes were adjusted to wet weather settings. 

    Most riders completed some wet laps during the last ten minutes, but conditions were tricky; the track was too wet for slicks but parts of the track had only a light sprinkling of rain. 

    MotoGP world championship leader Valentino Rossi was left sixth fastest in Friday practice at Le Mans, after rain halfway through the newly extended one-hour session brought a premature end to competitive lap times.

    Rossi, who led a Yamaha one-two-three at Le Mans last season, recorded 14 laps before the weather turned for the worse and, although left 0.615sec behind fastest man Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), felt he was making progress. 

    “We always seem to have bad luck with the weather here!” said the reigning six-time MotoGP champion, chasing his 99th grand prix victory this weekend. “The conditions weren't easy today, it was quite cold and the track wasn't so good, and then it rained and so we couldn't use all of the session. 

    “It was still useful to get some laps done in the dry though, even if we couldn't learn as much as we would have liked to today. 

    "Every lap has its own small problems and during the first rain break we made some modifications to our setting and actually I was quite confident that we were on the right track. 

    “We hoped to get a few more laps before the end of the session once the rain stopped but unfortunately it started again and so we had no real chance to check our work. We know we're fast in the rain but I prefer it dry... the problem is that you never know with Le Mans, the weather seems to change every five minutes!” 

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