Jerez MotoGP: Colin Edwards springs early Jerez surprise

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Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards got his Spanish MotoGP bid off to a flying start this morning when the American posted the fastest time in opening free practice at a sun-drenched but cool Jerez.

The double World Superbike champion clocked a best time of 1:40.714 on his 19th lap to edge out reigning MotoGP champion Casey Stoner by 0.114secs.

Former team-mate and factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi was third quickest with a best lap of 1.40.918.

Texan Edwards first moved to the top of the timesheets after 14 minutes when a 1.41.618 jumped him ahead of Stoner by just 0.002secs.

It was an advantage he held for 17 minutes before Valentino Rossi briefly took charge, but Colin Edwards ensured he ended fastest with his best lap coming with eight minutes of the session remaining.

Casey Stoner had to settle for second as he goes in search of his first ever podium in Jerez.

The Qatar MotoGP winner posted a best time of 1:40.828 to beat Rossi into third by just 0.090secs.

Stoner had made his usual blistering start when an early lap of 1:43.088 moved him 2.4secs clear of the field in the opening ten minutes.

He jumped to the top of the timesheets again with 24 minutes remaining with his best lap of the session, which at the time was a comfortable 0.766secs clear of 29-year-old Rossi.

Italian Valentino Rossi just edged out American Nicky Hayden into fourth place as the 2006 world champion rode the 2008 spec factory Honda RC212V again after he opted to run last year’s machine in the season’s opening clash in Qatar.

The Repsol Honda rider clocked a best lap of 1:41.182 to just beat home favourite Jorge Lorenzo into fifth.

Spaniard Lorenzo, who finished second on his MotoGP debut in Qatar earlier this month, posted a best time of 1:41.371. Former 250 rival Andrea Dovizioso was sixth ahead of Dani Pedrosa.

British rider James Toseland finished the opening session in 11th. The Tech 3 Yamaha rider clocked a best time of 1:41.607 that was 0.893secs behind team-mate Edwards.

Toseland is struggling to shrug off a heavy cold and the 27-year-old also had an off-track excursion this morning when he ran wide onto the grass on the approach to the Curva Sito Pons.

John Hopkins’ early struggles on the factory Kawasaki ZX-RR continued as he could only finish 13th, which was one place ahead of Italian Marco Melandri, who again struggled on the Ducati GP8.

Melandri’s best time was 1.266secs off Edwards.

Jerez MotoGP free practice one results:

1 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 1'40.714
2 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 1'40.828
3 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 1'40.918
4 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1'41.182
5 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 1'41.371
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP HONDA 1'41.378
7 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1'41.419
8 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 1'41.443
9 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 1'41.579
10 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 1'41.599
11 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 1'41.607
12 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 1'41.746
13 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 1'41.944
14 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 1'41.980
15 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 1'42.300
16 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 1'42.454
17 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team DUCATI 1'42.868
18 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team DUCATI 1'43.206

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt