Rossi leads opening day free practice

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:34 IST

Defending world champion Valentino Rossi led MotoGP practice on Friday for the Italian Grand Prix.

Rossi leads opening day free practice
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Scarperia:

Defending world champion Valentino Rossi led MotoGP practice on Friday for the Italian Grand Prix. Rossi was fastest in both sessions over the 5.245-kilometer (3.251-mile) lap at the Mugello circuit, with times of 1 minute, 51.2 seconds and 1:51.7. He beat Loris Capirossi by 0.02 and Sete Gibernau by 0.28 - both of Ducati - in the second practice. Rossi, who has signed with Yamaha through to 2007, aims to clinch his fifth straight win at Mugello, near Florence. The Italian rider has won only one race in five World Championship rounds this season. Championship leader Nicky Hayden, the American Honda rider, was sixth in both sessions. Rossi trails Hayden by 43 points in the standings. He recently said he needs to win every remaining race to retain his title. In the 250-cc class, Czech rider Jakub Smrz timed 1:55.412 to edge Aprilia teammate Hector Barbera in the first qualifying session. Barbera was second in 1:55.479, ahead of overall leader Andrea Dovizioso of Italy on a Honda. In the 125-cc class, Spain's Julian Simon, on a KTM, clinched the provisional pole, ahead of Italy's Michele Pirro Aprilia by 0.5 seconds. Defending champion Thomas Luthi of Switzerland, struggling with a collarbone fracture, trailed Simon by three seconds, on his Honda. (AP)

Topics : Formula 1
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