After 'a few experiments', Valentino Rossi put everything together and knocked team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo from the top of the free practice timesheets for his home grand prix at Misano.
Rossi came into the San Marino Grand Prix weekend after a challenging event at Indianapolis, which ended in a crash one lap after losing the lead to Lorenzo.
The young Spaniard, now 25 points from Rossi with five rounds to go, then led free Friday free practice at Misano from the 9th to 50th minute, at which point Rossi took over at the top.
The reigning six time MotoGP champion improved his pace on his final lap to sit 0.126sec clear of Lorenzo at the end of a scorching hot opening day.
“This is more the weather for the beach than for the racetrack, to day was unbelievably hot!” admitted Rossi, whose hometown of Tavullia is only 15km away. “The first session was much better than in Indy though and I am quite happy.
“We have made a few experiments with different settings and then at the end when we put everything together with the right tyre, I was able to do three fast laps and finish first.
“It's a good sign to be in this shape already on Friday and now we just have to improve a bit more tomorrow because it's very important here to be on the front row. It's quite a tricky track and you have to be quite careful in some places, but my bike felt good today,” he underlined.
“We hope that we have found a good base on which we can build tomorrow,” added team manager Davide Brivio. “The important thing is that we continue to fine-tune the setting in the morning so that we're at our best tomorrow afternoon and Sunday.”
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa - the only rider that could match the factory M1 riders at Indy - was third fastest, 0.776sec from the top, and suffered a major engine problem at the end of the session.