Jorge Lorenzo edged out team-mate Valentino Rossi by just 0.070sec for a Fiat Yamaha one-two during the first day of testing at Jerez in Spain.

The final MotoGP pre-season test got off to a wet start with rain descending on the Jerez circuit on Saturday morning, prompting Rossi to stay in the pits until just before 2pm, by which time conditions had improved.

The reigning six time world champion was thus the last of the 19 riders to take to the drying track, but he soon replaced Ducati's Casey Stoner at the top of the timesheets.

However, 2008 MotoGP rookie of the year Lorenzo - who qualified on pole for last season's Spanish Grand Prix - was able to nudge Rossi aside in the closing stages, handing the local star an important psychological boost heading into Sunday's qualifying shootout, when a new BMW will be up for grabs.

"I am very satisfied because I have improved through every hour of the day today," said Lorenzo. "In the beginning it was quite difficult because there was rain this morning and the track was wet, but after lunch I was able to improve and was fastest for most of the afternoon and able to put in a great performance.

"I rode many laps - the same amount as my new number in fact [99] - and I was able to confirm the good feeling that I had on the last day in Qatar, when I was second. We still need to keep working, this is just the beginning, but I think we're going in the right way.

"Tomorrow I want to make one more step, but I am not thinking about winning the car," he insisted. "With regards to the Bridgestone tyres, I think the front is very different and you are able to go faster into the corners. I hope the sun shines again tomorrow!"

"We had a good test here in November and also Malaysia and Qatar were good, so today it seemed that the trend is continuing," added team manager Daniele Romagnoli. "We are now at a very important stage because this is the last test of the season, because of the new rules, so tomorrow is going to be crucial!

"Tomorrow will be an exciting day because it is almost like a qualifying session, with a prize, and we hope to finish in the same way as today! Of course at the same time we will continue to work on our bike to ensure that we're completely ready for the first race."

Behind Rossi and Lorenzo, Stoner - who struggled to an eleventh place finish at the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix - completed a top three covered by just 0.115sec, with a sizeable 0.666sec gap between the Ducati star and fourth fastest Chris Vermeulen.

Nevertheless, the form of Vermeulen and sixth placed Rizla Suzuki team-mate Loris Capirossi provided further confirmation of the 2009 GSV-R's effectiveness, while Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards split the pair to be the top satellite rider after another promising showing of his own.

Andrea Dovizioso took his Repsol Honda to seventh position, just over one second from former 250GP rival Lorenzo, with Alex de Angelis enjoying a fast start in eighth for Honda Gresini, despite an afternoon fall.

Nicky Hayden claimed ninth on the second factory Ducati, and was over a second slower than Stoner, but will be aware that Jerez has traditionally been one of the Desmosedici's toughest tracks.

Toni Elias completed the top ten on his factory spec Honda Gresini with James Toseland eleventh on the second Monster Yamaha.

Marco Melandri's second test for the Hayate Racing Team saw the Italian take Kawasaki's 'disowned' 2009 ZX-RR to a commendable twelfth on the timesheets, with Randy de Puniet 13th on his Playboy-backed Honda LCR and Mike Kallio the top rookie in 14th for Pramac Racing.

The field was rounded out by Kosuke Akiyoshi, standing in for the injured Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda, and Ducati's test rider Vittoriano Guareschi.

Sunday's 45-minute qualifying simulation will start at 2.05pm, with normal test sessions being held before and after.

The 2009 MotoGP season opener takes place at Qatar on the evening of April 12.



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