MotoGP world champion and 2009 title leader Valentino Rossi was pleased to run towards the front throughout the constantly changing track conditions present during Friday free practice for the British Grand Prix at Donington Park.

The Fiat Yamaha star, who starts round ten 14 points clear of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, battled with the Spaniard for P1 in the fully wet early session conditions, then claimed a close third on an almost dry track (but wet tyres) at the end of the hour.

"These strange conditions are always hard to ride in but it was important that we had some time in the wet today because we were able to understand our level," said Rossi. "We're quite happy because I felt confident and I was able to be fast today.

"The conditions changed a lot during the hour and by the end it was mostly dry, which meant it was quite hard to ride with the wet tyres but we were still quite fast and in the end we're third, which is a good start.

"We've got a few modifications to make as usual after a Friday but we have a good base. Tomorrow it seems it will be completely dry so hopefully by the end of the day we will be ready for Sunday, whatever the weather," he declared.

Rossi lapped 0.045sec slower than Casey Stoner (Ducati) and 0.290sec slower than Dani Pedrosa (Honda). Lorenzo was fifth fastest.