San Carlo Honda Gresini‘s Marco Simoncelli topped the timesheets at the end of the first day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix. The Italian rider posted the quickest time in the morning session with his last lap, a 1:48.987 the quickest around the technical Mugello circuit. That time would stand as the quickest for the rest of the day, as rain arrived before the start of the afternoon session leaving the track too wet for slicks, yet too dry for wets. Nearly all of the riders sat the session out in the garage, as no valuable data could be gained from risking going out on the slippery track.
The top 3 ended separated by just 0.1s, with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner just 0.040s behind Simoncelli, and Andrea Dovizioso 0.101. Dovizioso managed to top the afternoon session, only after the majority of riders eventually posted a lap on slicks in the closing moments of the session. Following closely behind were the Yamaha pairing of Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies. The factory pairing were followed by the satellite Monster Yamaha Tech3 of Colin Edwards, who is still battling with his damaged ribs.
The returning Dani Pedrosa posted the 7th quickest time on his Repsol Honda. This is Pedrosa’s first race since breaking his collarbone way back in Le Mans. The accolade of the fastest Ducati went to Nicky Hayden, who finished in 8th place. Pedrosa’s Assen replacement, Hiroshi Aoyama, finished the session in 9th, back on his San Carlo Honda. Rizla Suzuki’s Ãlvaro Bautista completed the top ten, 1.6s behind Simoncelli.
After visiting yet another new track, Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow posted the 11th quickest time, after struggling with the very technical track, and from front grip issues. The only Pramac Ducati to run this weekend finished the session in 12th. Randy De Puniet outpaced factory rider Valentino Rossi on his home track.
Rossi was plagued by technical issues, when both his bikes suffered electrical faults, therefore confining him to the garage for the entire session. Another Ducati finished in 14th, with Hector Barbera on the Mapfre Aspar beating Toni Elias on the LCR Honda in 16th, ahead of Karel Abraham on the Cardion AB Motoracing bringing up the rear in 17th.
As the session was only rain affected and not postponed, the riders only have one more session to prepare their bikes before returning to the track for qualifying.