Marco Simoncelli kicked off preparations for the defence of his 250GP crown in style, the Italian topping the timesheets during pre-season testing at Valencia.

With his anticipated closest rival Alvaro Bautista restricted to the sidelines after breaking his collarbone during the last test at Valencia, Simoncelli was free to comfortably out pace his rivals with a best lap of 1min 37.2secs.

The Metis Gilera RSA rider's closest competition came courtesy of H?ctor Faubel on the Thai Honda, although he was left half a second down on Simoncelli after a full day of action.

Elsewhere, four other 250GP riders were on track, with Alex Baldolini third quickest, ahead of Roberto Locatelli, Rathapark Wilairot and Karel Abraham, the latter completing a total of 80 laps but proving almost four seconds slower than Simoncelli.

Valencia 250cc test - day one (top six)

1. Marco Simoncelli Gilera 1min 37.2secs
2. H?ctor Faubel Honda 1min 37.7secs
3. Alex Baldolini Aprilia 1min 38.3secs
4. Roberto Locatelli Gilera 1min 38.4secs
5. Rathapark Wilairot Honda 1min 38.5secs
6. Karel Abraham Aprilia 1min 41.0secs

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