Race day at Jerez has begun in exactly the same half wet/half dry conditions which descended on the circuit for yesterday's final qualifying, and allowed Ducati's Troy Bayliss to take the top spot in morning warm-up.

Once again the track surface was damp, but without any visible standing water or spray, as the twenty-minute session began - with most riders choosing a wet front and intermediate/cut click rear as a result.

However, at the midway point more light rain arrived and most switched towards a full wet set-up, but all looked to be battling to control the massive horsepower from their 990cc prototypes with lurid slides and destroyed rear tyres a common symptom.

Fastest for most of warm-up was Colin Edwards, and the American would keep his Telefonica Honda on top until Bayliss put in a typically determined final lap that left him 0.545secs clear of his former WSBK rival.

Pole sitter Valentino Rossi was a further 0.2secs back, to hold off Suzuki's Kenny Roberts, Alex Barros, Carlos Checa, Marco Melandri and Makoto Tamada, while Ruben Xaus slid his d'Antin Ducati into ninth - ahead of rain master Sete Gibernau.

Shane Byrne continued his low traction form with eleventh, ahead of Loris Capirossi, John Hopkins and Max Biaggi, while Alex Hofmann was top Kawasaki in fifteenth, just clear of Jeremy McWilliams and a cautious Nicky Hayden.

Nobuatsu Aoki took eighteenth on the Dunlop shod Proton KR, while WCM will be represented this afternoon after Michel Fabrizio was allowed to race despite not qualifying in the dry. Team-mate Chris Burns will miss the race after injuring his hand in a fall yesterday.

With grey clouds now totally covering the Jerez skyline, similarly unpredictable conditions look certain for this afternoon's race.


1. Bayliss
2. Edwards
3. Rossi
4. Kenny Roberts
5. Barros
6. Checa
7. Melandri
8. Tamada
9. Xaus
10. Gibernau
11. Byrne
12. Capirossi
13. Hopkins
14. Biaggi
15. Hofmann
16. McWilliams
17. Hayden
18. Aoki
19. Hodgson
20. Nakano
21. Fabrizio
22. Abe
23. Kurtis Roberts



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