Valentino Rossi upped his pace and overcame Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to set the fastest lap time during Friday practice for the San Marino MotoGP round, at a hot and sunny Misano.

Misano is just 15km from Rossi's home town of Tavullia, and the local hero had pushed the 'favourite' tag onto the shoulders of Lorenzo and Honda's Dani Pedrosa during the pre-event press conference.

That had looked like an attempt to reduce the weight of expectation, but Rossi's prediction proved accurate for most of first practice - with either Lorenzo or Pedrosa leading the timesheets from the 9th to 50th minute of the hour.

At that point Rossi made his first appearance of the weekend in P1, by just 0.026sec from Lorenzo, where the reigning six time MotoGP champion remained until the chequered flag - setting his best lap on his last lap to extend his advantage over the young Spaniard to 0.126sec.

Rossi fell one lap after losing the lead to Lorenzo in last Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix, marking his first non-finish since 2007 and starts round 13 of 17 with a reduced 25 point lead over Lorenzo.

Pedrosa's session came to a worrying end when he suffered what seemed like an engine failure on his factory RC212V, with debris and vapour emitting from the bike as he brought it to a frustrated halt against the barriers.

The Spaniard, who fell from the lead at Indy, was classified in third, but 0.776sec behind Rossi and might now be down to four engines for the rest of the season.

Home star Alex de Angelis, who took his first podium at Indy, led the early stages of the session before falling from his Gresini Honda when he clipped the side of the track while flicking from right-to-left for turn two.

The Sammarinese had slipped back to eighth by the halfway point, before a late surge put the job-seeking #15 up to fourth position, just 0.016sec slower than Pedrosa.

Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, using Ohlins suspension on his factory Honda for the first time this weekend, finished fifth fastest at the start of his home event.

Monster Tech 3's Colin Edwards made it three M1s in the top six, while Mika Kallio - starting his third and final (planned) event in place of Casey Stoner at Ducati Marlboro - set the Desmosedici pace in seventh, 1.115sec from Rossi.

Italian Loris Capirossi put his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R eighth, with James Toseland ninth for Tech 3 Yamaha and Nicky Hayden - who announced a contract extension with Ducati yesterday - rounding out the top ten.

Although times at the front were relatively spaced out, Dovizioso (5th) to Hayden (10th) was covered by less than 0.3sec.

Further back, Aleix Espargaro - who enjoyed an impressive MotoGP debut at Indy - put his Pramac Ducati 13th out of the 17 riders.

Friday practice:

1. Rossi
2. Lorenzo
3. Pedrosa
4. de Angelis
5. Dovizioso
6. Edwards
7. Kallio
8. Capirossi
9. Toseland
10. Hayden
11. de Puniet
12. Elias
13. Espargaro
14. Vermeulen
15. Canepa
16. Melandri
17. Talmacsi


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