Just two weeks after breaking his collarbone, MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo
was back on top of the timesheets during opening practice in Germany - which saw two Ducatis heavily damaged and a hard tumble for Cal Crutchlow.
Factory Ducati star Andrea Dovizioso
has one new chassis this weekend - but it lasted just ten minutes before being thrown down the road in dramatic style at the fearsome turn 11 downhill right-hander, when the Italian lost the front in the cool morning conditions.
Just minutes later team-mate Nicky Hayden, still on the standard machine, saved a massive tank-slapper in almost the same place - using all his dirt track skills to keep control of the bucking machine as it veered onto the grass.
Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone, who has switched to the 'lab' bike - newer spec but slightly older than Dovizioso's frame - then fell through the same section after losing the front at the halfway mark of the 45 minute session.
Iannone's GP13 flipped repeatedly in the gravel, breaking the swingarm and rear wheel section off!
In the meantime, Lorenzo - who had claimed a shock fifth place in the Assen race, less than two days after surgery - was leading the timesheets. Team-mate Valentino Rossi, winner of the Dutch round, later slotted into second ahead of Honda's Marc Marquez, a leader early in the session.
Lap times continued to evolve, with Lorenzo setting his best on lap 19 of 20, while Honda's world championship leader Dani Pedrosa
moved into a late second place, just 0.174s from Lorenzo. That bumped Rossi to a close third (+0.194s) and rookie Marquez to fourth (+.350s).
Home star Stefan Bradl made an appearance at the top on his way to fifth for Honda LCR (+0.413s), with Crutchlow sixth for Tech 3 Yamaha and the final rider within one second of Lorenzo.
The Englishman fell heavily at turn one at the very end of the session, sending the triple 2013 podium finisher bouncing through the gravel. Crutchlow was slow to get up but eventually walked away.
Top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro was just 0.594s from Lorenzo on his Aspar Aprilia, with Hayden, Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda) and Dovizioso completing the top ten.
Avintia's Hiroshi Aoyama returned to MotoGP action this morning after suffering finger injuries, including the loss of a fingertip, after falling during practice in Catalunya.
Pedrosa, who leads the standings by nine points from Lorenzo, has won the last three German MotoGPs.Free practice (1):
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Marc Marquez
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Cal Crutchlow
7. Aleix Espargaro
8. Nicky Hayden
9. Alvaro Bautista
10. Andrea Dovizioso
11. Randy De Puniet
12. Andrea Iannone
13. Hector Barbera
14. Yonny Hernandez
15. Bradley Smith
16. Michele Pirro
17. Colin Edwards
18. Danilo Petrucci
19. Hiroshi Aoyama
20. Claudio Corti
21. Bryan Staring
22. Michael Laverty
23. Karel Abraham
24. Lukas PesekBe there! CLICK HERE to see ticket prices for the remaining rounds of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship from the Official MotoGP Ticket Store.