Rossi fastest in home Misano practice.

Valentino Rossi upped his pace and overcame Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to set the fastest lap time during Friday practice for the San Marino MotoGP round, at a hot and sunny Misano. 

    Misano is just 15km from Rossi's home town of Tavullia, and the local hero had pushed the 'favourite' tag onto the shoulders of Lorenzo and Honda's Dani Pedrosa during the pre-event press conference. 

    That had looked like an attempt to reduce the weight of expectation, but Rossi's prediction proved accurate for most of first practice - with either Lorenzo or Pedrosa leading the timesheets from the 9th to 51st minute of the hour. 

    At that point Rossi made his first appearance of the weekend in P1, by just 0.026sec from Lorenzo, where the reigning six time MotoGP champion remained until the chequered flag - setting his best lap on his last lap to extend his advantage over the young Spaniard to 0.126sec. 

    Rossi fell one lap after losing the lead to Lorenzo in last Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix, marking his first non-finish since 2007 and starts round 13 of 17 with a reduced 25 point lead over Lorenzo. 

    Pedrosa's session came to a worrying end when he suffered a major engine failure on his factory RC212V, with debris and vapour emitting from the bike as he brought it to a frustrated halt against the barriers.

    The Spaniard, who fell from the lead at Indy, was classified in third, but 0.776sec behind Rossi and will now surely be down to four engines for the rest of the season. 

    Rossi had indicated that Honda had gained an advantage after the engine-change restriction came into force at Brno, but HRC may now have paid a price for not lowering performance more - or it could have been a consequence of Pedrosa's Indy fall. 

    Home star Alex de Angelis, who took his first podium at Indy, led the early stages of the session before falling from his Gresini Honda when he clipped the side of the track while flicking from right-to-left for turn two. 

    The Sammarinese had slipped back to eighth by the halfway point, before a late surge put the job-seeking #15 up to fourth position, just 0.016sec slower than Pedrosa. 

    Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, using Ohlins suspension on his factory Honda for the first time this weekend, finished fifth fastest at the start of his home event. 

    Monster Tech 3's Colin Edwards made it three M1s in the top six, while Mika Kallio - starting his third and final (planned) event in place of Casey Stoner at Ducati Marlboro - set the Desmosedici pace in seventh, 1.115sec from Rossi. 

    Italian Loris Capirossi put his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R eighth, with James Toseland ninth for Tech 3 Yamaha and Nicky Hayden - who announced a contract extension with Ducati yesterday - rounding out the top ten. 

    Although times at the front were relatively spaced out, Dovizioso (5th) to Hayden (10th) was covered by less than 0.3sec. 

    Rossi 'happy' after fast home start. 

    After 'a few experiments', Valentino Rossi put everything together and knocked team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo from the top of the free practice timesheets for his home grand prix at Misano.

    Rossi came into the San Marino Grand Prix weekend after a challenging event at Indianapolis, which ended in a crash one lap after losing the lead to Lorenzo.

    The young Spaniard, now 25 points from Rossi with five rounds to go, then led free Friday free practice at Misano from the 9th to 50th minute, at which point Rossi took over at the top.

    The reigning six time MotoGP champion improved his pace on his final lap to sit 0.126sec clear of Lorenzo at the end of a scorching hot opening day.

    “This is more the weather for the beach than for the racetrack, to day was unbelievably hot!” admitted Rossi, whose hometown of Tavullia is only 15km away. “The first session was much better than in Indy though and I am quite happy. 

    “We have made a few experiments with different settings and then at the end when we put everything together with the right tyre, I was able to do three fast laps and finish first. 

    “It's a good sign to be in this shape already on Friday and now we just have to improve a bit more tomorrow because it's very important here to be on the front row. It's quite a tricky track and you have to be quite careful in some places, but my bike felt good today,” he underlined.

    “We hope that we have found a good base on which we can build tomorrow,” added team manager Davide Brivio. “The important thing is that we continue to fine-tune the setting in the morning so that we're at our best tomorrow afternoon and Sunday.”

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