Jerez : MotoGP – Day One
On a day of surprise timesheet-toppers at Jerez, Carlos Checa took the early advantage at today's practice session to complete an all-Spanish fastest three.
The LCR Honda rider clocked a time of 1'40''851, with little more than a tenth of
a second separating him and countrymen Dani Pedrosa and Toni Elias.
After Valentino Rossi's triumph at the ‘qualifying' session of last month's Official Test, and the awesome top speeds reached by Ducati at the opening race in Qatar, Honda will be pleased to have their trio at the head of the timesheets today.
Casey Stoner who so impressed with his performance at Losail less than two weeks ago, was fourth fastest ahead of Kenny Roberts Jr, the morning's quickest rider.
Five time World Champion Rossi was the final rider in the top six, although by no means off the pace in a tightly packed hour long session. John Hopkins, who missed the final preseason test at Jerez due to a hand injury, was still obviously suffering from the after-effects during the session, wincing in the early stages of the run-out.
He was ahead of team-mate Chris Vermeulen, Colin Edwards and Alex Barros, whilst World Champion Nicky Hayden once again couldn't quite find his rhythm at the Spanish circuit down in 13th. The Kentucky Kid still has two more days to get into the groove as he attempts to begin his title defence in earnest.
Temperatures at the track were pleasantly warm, with a fresh breeze not noticeably affecting the riders.
DORNA / CAPSIS International