Estoril : MotoGP - Day One
Casey Stoner created a bit of a surprise by finishing the first day of practice at the top of the timesheets, thanks to a fastest 1'38''218 lap.
The Australian lead most part of the session and fended off the assaults of his rivals to remain
at the top.
Nicky Hayden made a decent start to this important weekend, consistently running at the front and ending second fastest, just five hundredth of a second behind Stoner.
Meanwhile, the Repsol Honda rider rivals, except Valentino Rossi, seemed to struggle to get to grips with the newly resurfaced Estoril circuit. Loris Capirossi had to content himself with the thirteenth fastest time of the day, while Melandri suffered a heavy fall after just one lap.
The Italian was taken to the Clinica Mobile where he was treated for a contusion of the left knee. He therefore missed the practice session and ended the day in twentieth position.
Fastest in the morning, Valentino Rossi could not maintain the pace and got relegated to eighth behind Sete Gibernau and Camel Yamaha team mate Colin Edwards.
Kenny Roberts Jr, Carlos Checa and Dani Pedrosa made it into the top five. John Hopkins and Shinya Nakano completed the top ten.
Unveiled on Thursday evening, the new Ilmor X3 concentrated all the attention on this steady day of work. That was the very first time the brand new 800cc bike confronted the field.
At the end of the day, with 47 laps under his belt, Garry McCoy clocked the eighteenth fastest time, ahead of the Ducati d'Antin rider Josť Luis Cardoso.
Sandrine BOUCHARD © CAPSIS International