Valentino Rossi enjoyed his best day in MotoGP for some considerable time in Jerez today when the nine-times world champion set the fastest time on the second day of the final pre-season test.
The 34-year-old Italian clocked a best time of 1.39.525 to finish just 0.015s ahead of factory Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Conditions on day two were significantly better after torrential rain dominated yesterday’s action.
When the track opened at 10am this morning though there was no action with the Jerez track littered with damp patches.
Sunny skies and a strong breeze did eventually dry the track out by the early afternoon and it was Rossi who was leading the way when heavy rain started to fall with 90 minutes of track time still available.
The Italian, who is looking to bounce back from a nightmare two-year spell with Ducati, set his best time on lap 29 of a 46-lap stint on a day that saw the top four split by just 0.105s.
British rider Cal Crutchlow took third place behind Lorenzo with a best lap of 1.39.574. That was only 0.049s adrift of Rossi’s best pace as Yamaha took a clean sweep of the top three.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa finished in fourth, though the Spaniard was well ahead of Andrea Dovizioso in fifth place.
The factory Ducati rider though will still be encouraged by his pace after a lap of 1.40.322 put him ahead of Honda trio Alvaro Bautista, Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl.
Marquez was seventh fastest today and only as high as sixth earlier in proceedings as he set a personal best time of 1.40.714. That left the Spanish rookie 1.189s behind Rossi’s fastest pace.
Ducati duo Andrea Iannone and Nicky rounded out the top 10, with British rider Bradley Smith finishing the day in 12th on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1.
The Oxfordshire rider clocked a time of 1.41.398 in 41 laps to finish 1.873s behind Rossi.
Irish rider Michael Laverty was 24th fastest in the 21 laps he completed on the British-built PBM frame. He ended with a personal best of 1.44.185