After the first eight minutes of Friday free practice in Catalunya, nobody other than Fiat Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo sat on top of the timesheets.

The pair alternated the top spot frequently during the hour; home hero Lorenzo making three P1 appearances and leading most of the session, but Rossi set the fastest lap on seven occasions, the last of which saw him bump Lorenzo from the top with five minutes to go.

Rossi and his crew had made a slight change to their base setting before they got started today and the reigning six time MotoGP world champion, who starts round six behind both Casey Stoner and Lorenzo in the points, was pleased with the results.

"We made some changes to our base setting here and already it feels much better to ride," said the Italian, whose best lap was by 0.302sec quicker than Lorenzo. "This practice went very well for us, we were strong from start to finish and to be in first position feels good.

"We have found out some very interesting things, especially about my feeling with the bike, but we need to keep on working because there are still some parts that we want to make better for tomorrow.

"I am really happy to be able to ride the bike how I want to finally but there is still plenty more work to continue with to make sure we're in the best possible shape for tomorrow afternoon and Sunday," he added.

"It looks like we have found a better feeling for Valentino and this might help him to reach his potential," confirmed team manager Davide Brivio. "Now we just need to work on fine-tuning it tomorrow."

Lorenzo, who is carrying a special FC Barcelona livery this weekend in honour of the Champions League-winning club, had no major complaints about his M1 although there is still room for improvement.

"I always have a few doubts coming to each new track but today everything felt really good, my bike and my Bridgestone tyres," said Lorenzo, presently four points behind Stoner and five ahead of Rossi. "I feel very comfortable and we can see that we have the potential to put on a really good performance here.

"We have a few things which we can improve so we will try to do that tomorrow but this is another good start for us. It's very early to be making any conclusions about who will be fighting on Sunday though and for now we just have to stay focused. It feels great to be out in front of all my home fans here and I am really happy to have the FC Barcelona stickers on my bike!" he declared.

"We already have a good base-setting but we have identified one or two areas in which we can improve further still, especially in the hard acceleration," revealed his team manager Daniele Romagnoli.

World Championship leader Stoner suffered a fall on his way to third for Ducati.

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