Factory Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo dominated the opening MotoGP free practice session at Mugello this morning, lapping more than half a second faster than Casey Stoner who couldn't get close to the championship leader even with his usual final flying lap.
Lorenzo headed the timesheet for most of the 45 minutes and was more than six-tenths in front of the pack with a 1'48.181 until Stoner appeared for his final run and cut the deficit, if only by a small margin, until the Majorcan upped it again with the quickest of the day on a 1'48.131 to put himself 0.518 ahead.
Stoner languished at the wrong end of the top ten until his third run saw him climb to sixth. The Australian put in 15 laps in short batches while Lorenzo was slightly more consistent while third place man Dani Pedrosa put in a 1'48.887 to go just ahead of leading Ducati rider Nicky Hayden on a 1'48.970. Hayden only did one lap in the 1'48s and then settled back into the comfort zone of 1'49s.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow was forced to sit out some of the session after his Monster Yamaha ground to a halt at San Donato with only ten minutes left, but he was able to go out on the spare bike and hop up to fifth place and displace team-mate Andrea Dovizioso with his final two laps. The pair are split by 0.015s and are nine-tenths off the pace while a late run by Valentino Rossi saw him nip into sixth before being bumped down. The Italian is just under a second slower than Lorenzo.
Pramac Ducati's Hector 'The Caravan' Barbera is in eighth, one place ahead of Ben Spies who had a weird accident at the end of the session. It appeared the airbag system in his leathers deployed, forcing the American to run on and tip off at slow speed into the gravel trap. Stefan Bradl rounded out the top ten. Alvaro Bautista was also a a crasher, going off with only a couple of minutes left to run.
Barbera logged the fastest top speed of the session with 214.3mph, most likely set when following Hayden, while Andrea Dovizioso was a surprise second, though that could again be the slipstream effect down Mugello's long straight, with 211.6mph. Rossi was third at 211.5mph. At the other end of the prototype list, Stoner was the slowest at 208.3mph with Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow only fractionally faster.
Randy De Puniet won the battle of the CRT machines, taking 12th place overall with team-mate Aleix Espargaro behind him while Mattia Pasini took third. Colin Edwards was 17th and James Ellison 19th.