Lorenzo on top at rainy Phillip Island, Rossi seventh


The notorious Phillip Island weather tried its best to disrupt the first day of the Australian Grand Prix today, heavy rain forcing the practice session to be delayed two hours after part of the track flooded. Action got underway eventually with new World Champion Jorge Lorenzo getting straight down to business and topping the time sheets, while his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi finished in seventh place.

23-year-old Lorenzo has only had a few days to get used to being the MotoGP World Champion but with the pressure now lifted the Spaniard was raring to get back on his M1 and get on with the business of racing. The first half of the session was run on a soaking track but Lorenzo took just a few laps to take the lead and was not ousted for the rest of the practice, despite the track drying a little in the later stages.

Rossi, who was hoping to continue in the fantastic form that saw him win last Sunday, was cautious in the difficult conditions today, feeling like he had a good base setting but knowing that he and his crew can improve further tomorrow. With more rain expected it will be important to maximise their wet setting tomorrow morning to make sure they can challenge in qualifying.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 1st Time: 1'41.146 Laps: 20

"Today was the first day on the bike after we won the title and I am still very happy. We can't stop now, we have to keep going and finish this season in the best way possible, working for the future. The conditions today were really hard - wet, cold and windy. I am very happy to be so fast in rain, because it didn't use to be this way, but we need to be prepared because it could be a hard weekend. I would like to ride in the dry, of course, but we will have to wait and see what happens." Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi - Position: 7th Time: 1'42.626 Laps: 22

"This weather is unbelievable and it was really at the limit of what you can race motorcycles in today. It's even more amazing because yesterday was beautiful! I hope it will be better tomorrow but it doesn't look too hopeful. My setting here in the wet was okay and I feel quite happy on the bike, but I didn't want to push too hard in these conditions. I think we can improve it more, but we need to wait and see how the weather is tomorrow. We hope for sun!"
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