Rossi comes clean on tyre choice
Valentino Rossi has admitted he used a qualifying tyre to set the fastest time in free practice on Friday. The Italian clocked an impressive lap of 1:57.871, a second and a half faster than rivals Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa and Marco Melandri with the aid of some sticky rubber.
"We used the qualifying tyre today," Rossi confessed. "We did to to give us more of an idea about waht we need to change tomorrow in order to challenge for a place at the front of the grid."
"This is really why I am in first place but anyway the race setting is also good and I was second fastest in the morning practice so we know we have the pace."
Rossi went quicker still in the Saturday morning session, breaking Sete Gibernau's old lap recorde but finishing behjind Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri.
Repsol Honda refused to panic after their riders endured a torrid session on Friday, leaving Pedrosa and Hayden eighth and twelfth respectively.
"The afternoon session was a bit mysterious because it seems like some riders used qualifying tyres and this means it is difficult to read too much into the timesheets," said team boss Makoto Tanaka.
The pair improved on Saturday morning, both shaving over a second off their previous best with Pedrosa fourth and Hayden sixth.