Valentino Rossi gave his loyal band of supporters in the stands something to cheer about by claiming the second fastest time on his return to Italian soil as a Yamaha rider.
Determined to give his fans reason to smile again after two unfulfilling years with Ducati, Rossi did just that by leading for much of the dry FP2 session.
Though he would eventually be bumped down to second place by Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi was pleased with his strongest opening to a race weekend this year.
“I'm happy because it's a very good practice today, starting from the beginning, staying at the top. It's very good for the team as we are in first and second and for Yamaha because we have three Yamahas on the first three positions.
“Already the lap time is not so bad but we have to stay focused and concentrate for tomorrow because for sure our opponents will improve a lot. We have to make another step to improve and go faster to fight for a good position in the race.”