2010 MotoGP Sepang Malaysia Friday practice results

Rossi shows that he’s back and goes quickest, with Dovisioso, Lorenzo, and Stoner behind; Edwards sixth, Spies ninth, Hayden 15th

Valentino Rossi

Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi is looking to crash the Lorenzo/MotoGP championship party at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, with the nine-time World Champion going quickest in Friday’s opening practice despite the nagging injury to his shoulder and the right leg he fractured back at Mugello. After the last lap fireworks between Rossi and teammate Lorenzo at the Motegi, Japan race (where the two repeatedly clashed as they battled for the final podium spot, resulting in Lorenzo becoming angry with Rossi’s riding and lodging a complaint with the Yamaha team management), it’s clear that Rossi now is looking for every opportunity to tweak Lorenzo’s nose and steal some of the Spanish rider’s thunder when he most likely clinches the MotoGP title this weekend.

Rossi went to the top of the leaderboard with about 15 minutes gone in the session before first being disposed by Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner at the 20-minute mark, and then Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovisioso at the halfway point. Stoner suffered a low-speed crash in Turn 4 at the 30-minute mark, and although he came close to retaking the top spot on his backup bike, the Australian was clearly not happy with its setup compared to his main mount. Dovisioso was the one who pushed Rossi hardest, with the San Marino native taking the top spot with 30 minutes to go, and then going even quicker with about 10 minutes left. Rossi was not to be denied despite running off the track with five minutes to go, and quickly went back out to set the top time of 2:02.724. Dovisioso ended up second quickest with a 2:02.833 lap.

Lorenzo took a turn at the top spot around the 15-minute mark, and again with 25 minutes gone, but was losing time in the final two splits compared to Rossi and Dovisioso. The Spaniard ended up third quickest with a lap just .065 seconds behind Dovisioso at 2:02.898, while Stoner was fourth at 2:03.160.

Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards showed that the finish at Motegi was no fluke by consistently staying in the top six toward the latter half of the session, ending up sixth quickest with a 2:03.393 lap. Teammate Ben Spies didn’t have his best practice session, and although he was as high as fifth early on, the Texan couldn’t put another good lap together. He had a run-in with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Melandri in the latter stages, as the Italian appeared to get in his way during a hot lap, resulting in some gesticulating and harsh stare from Spies; the onboard camera then showed Melandri retaliating by running up the inside of Spies on the next corner and nearly rubbing his front tire on Spies’ left leg. Spies ended up ninth, with the soon-to-be-MotoGP-refugee Melandri seventh. Nicky Hayden struggled during the session, never really getting past 15th spot during the entire hour.

MotoGP Sepang Malaysia Friday practice results:
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 2:02.724
2. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Honda 2:02.833
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 2:02.898
4. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati 2:03.160
5. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Suzuki 2:03.338
6. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 2:03.393
7. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda 2:03.438
8. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Ducati 2:03.471
9. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 2:03.477
10. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Honda 2:03.539
15. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 2:03.947