Points leader Jorge Lorenzo produced an impressive show of strength in a free practice session at Mugello on Saturday morning that was dominated by the crash that befell his MotoGP title rival, and Yamaha teammate, Valentino Rossi.
Rossi lost control as he turned in to the left-hand element of the medium-speed Biondetti esses, and he was launched into a spectacular high-side. The seven-time champion was clearly in agony as he lay in the gravel trap, clutching his right ankle, which appeared to be bent over at a worrying angle.
He was taken to the medical center for treatment. His participation in this afternoon's qualifying session is clearly in doubt.
Lorenzo ignored the sad fate of his colleague, and unleashed a staggering sequence of five consecutive laps in the 1m49s bracket that sent out a clear message of intent over his race pace. He ended the session on 1m49.282s on the last of his 26 laps.
Andrea Dovizioso led the Honda charge in second ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who were within a tenth of each other but almost four-tenths off Lorenzo's pace.
Rossi's best lap before his crash was good enough for fourth, ahead of the impressive Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda.
Ducati's Casey Stoner was sixth fastest, but suffered an early off into the gravel trap as his troubled weekend continued. He only set four flying laps, and was almost a second off Lorenzo's fastest time.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m49.282s
2. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m49.620s + 0.338s
3. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m49.701s + 0.419s
4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m49.923s + 0.641s
5. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m50.214s + 0.932s
6. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m50.233s + 0.951s
7. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m50.357s + 1.075s
8. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha 1m50.392s + 1.110s
9. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m50.426s + 1.144s
10. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m50.495s + 1.213s
11. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m50.562s + 1.280s
12. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 1m50.764s + 1.482s
13. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1m50.922s + 1.640s
14. Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda 1m51.160s + 1.878s
15. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m51.318s + 2.036s
16. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1m51.393s + 2.111s
17. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m53.837s + 4.555s