Valentino Rossi led a MotoGP top three covered by just 0.189sec in Friday practice for the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Those top three riders - Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner - are also covered by just nine points in the world championship standings and the only riders to win races this season, setting up the prospect of an exciting weekend.
“I am happy with the session today, it was a good performance and at the end, with the harder tyre, we did an especially good job and I was able to make the best time,” said reigning six time MotoGP champion Rossi. “We got a lot of data about the track, which we will use tomorrow in order to improve things further.
“We need to work a bit to improve the front feeling because we can still make the bike a bit easier to ride in one or two corners and then we will also look at the electronics in order to control the wheelie, because there are a lot of bumps and jumps on this circuit.
“Once again me, Lorenzo and Stoner are very close so we can expect another big fight this weekend, but we are confident that our M1 is working well,” added Rossi, who claimed one his greatest victories by beating Stoner in last year's event.