Valentino Rossi sent a clear message of intention during Friday practice for his home Italian Grand Prix, when only two riders could get within one-second of the reigning MotoGP champion.

Nearest to Rossi was Fiat Yamaha team-mate and title leader Jorge Lorenzo, who was within 0.02sec of The Doctor with fifteen minutes to go. But Rossi raised his game once again with a blistering final run and finished the hour a solid 0.369sec clear... then revealed his new Mohican haircut!

Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi benefitted from a tow to claim third place, 0.608sec from Rossi, but then promptly lost the front of his GSV-R and fell through turn one.

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Capirossi's late progression came at the expense of Colin Edwards, who also enjoyed a promising start with fourth, 1.021sec from Rossi, to be the top satellite rider for Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

Dani Pedrosa was just 0.001sec slower than the Texan to lead the Honda challenge, with rookie Ben Spies putting all four Yamahas inside the top six after his first hour around Mugello.

Casey Stoner, who halted Rossi's seven-year home win streak in last year's wet/dry race, began Ducati's home weekend with yet another fall - having previously crashed in all three previous rounds (during the races at Qatar and Le Mans, plus a practice fall at Jerez).

The only good news for the Australian, apart from being uninjured, was that it didn't look like another front-end fall (Stoner was due to try the 2009 Ohlins forks today).

Instead, Stoner's Desmosedici bobbled under-braking on entry to the final turn and he ran straight-on before washing out in the gravel. Satellite rider Hector Barbera suffered the same fate just minutes later.

Stoner, currently just 13th in the championship, returned to the track to claim fifth by the midway point of the hour, then dropped back to seventh by the end of the session, a sizeable 1.377sec from Rossi.

Andrea Dovizioso will be disappointed to start his home weekend in the lower reaches of the top ten, and behind Repsol team-mate Pedrosa, while Nicky Hayden made late progress to take ninth place.

Barbera recovered for tenth, and the second best rookie, while the satellite Hondas had a tough day, being ranked 11th (de Puniet) 12th (Simoncelli), 13th (Melandri) and 15th (Aoyama).

Between them were the Pramac Ducatis of Aleix Espargaro (14th) an the injured Mika Kallio (16th).

Alvaro Bautista, who pulled out of the French MotoGP due to his fractured collarbone, was a distant 17th and last throughout the session - 5.5sec behind Rossi and three seconds from Kallio - as he presumably lacked the strength to steer his GSV-R around the fast Tuscan circuit.

Friday practice:

1. Rossi
2. Lorenzo
3. Capirossi
4. Edwards
5. Pedrosa
6. Spies
7. Stoner
8. Dovizioso
9. Hayden
10. Barbera
11. de Puniet
12. Simoncelli
13. Melandri
14. Espargaro
15. Aoyama
16. Kallio
17. Bautista