British MotoGP: Valentino Rossi quickest in wet opening practice
15 June 2012 11:27
Valentino Rossi took full advantage of the Ducati Desmosedici’s liking for rain conditions this morning to top the timesheets at a wet and windy Silverstone.
The Italian set a best time of 2.19.328 on his final flying lap to move 0.077s clear of factory Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden.
Rossi claimed his best Ducati result in the wet in Le Mans last month but was tentative about his potential in wet conditions at Silverstone having endured a nightmare in last year’s rain-lashed British Grand Prix.
Rossi was a lucky sixth a year ago but over a minute behind Casey Stoner, yet he was more than five seconds faster than his best 2011 race lap this morning.
Only Rossi and Hayden managed to lap under the 2.20 bracket and it is hard to imagine the Ducati duo being too concerned that this weekend’s weather forecasts are bleak and predicting more rain.
American Hayden finished second with a best time of 2.19.405 to finish 0.722s clear of Andrea Dovizioso.
The Italian was 0.194s ahead of reigning world champion Stoner, who was the last rider to lap inside of a second of Rossi’s fastest pace.
British rider Cal Crutchlow did lead earlier in the session but eventually finished fifth quickest on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine. The 26-year-old set a best of 2.21.263 to finish ahead of German rookie Stefan Bradl.
World championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who signed a new two-year deal with Yamaha earlier this week, was only eighth fastest and over 3.8s off the pace.
Factory Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies was down in 11th after he fell heavily at Stowe Corner while he was battling for the top five. The Texan walked away uninjured.
Spaniard Alvaro Bautista crashed in identical circumstances just moments later at the same corner but he too escaped injury and finished ninth after challenging inside the top five for most of the session.
Paul Bird Motorsport rider James Ellison was 17th fastest on the Aprilia ART machine but just under six seconds behind Rossi’s pace with a best lap of 2.25.150.