Casey Stoner narrowly beat Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa to the fastest time in an intriguing first practice session at Jerez.
Although Stoner had assumed his habitual position at the top of the times early on, he was beaten first by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) before getting embroiled in a long battle with Pedrosa that saw them swap first place several times.
By the end of the 45 minutes, Stoner had gotten down to a 1m39.551s to beat Pedrosa by just 0.028sec, as their pace took them half a second clear of the rest.
Valentino Rossi had an extremely encouraging morning for Ducati, staying among the frontrunners throughout and taking third place ahead of Marco Simoncelli's Gresini Honda, and Lorenzo, who did not improve on his early time.
Andrea Dovizioso was back in sixth on the third factory Honda and was 0.8sec off the pace. He also had a crash at Turn 11 on his final lap, but was unhurt.
Ben Spies (Yamaha), Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha), Randy de Puniet (Pramac Ducati) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati) completed the top 10.
On his return to MotoGP to deputize for Alvaro Bautista at Suzuki, John Hopkins was unsurprisingly at the foot of the times as he got back up to speed, but was just a few tenths of a second away from Pramac Ducati's Loris Capirossi and LCR Honda's Toni Elias.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Honda 1m39.551s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m39.579s + 0.028s
3. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m40.077s + 0.526s
4. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m40.176s + 0.625s
5. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m40.420s + 0.869s
6. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m40.429s + 0.878s
7. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m40.887s + 1.336s
8. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m41.063s + 1.512s
9. Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 1m41.064s + 1.513s
10. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m41.233s + 1.682s
11. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m41.398s + 1.847s
12. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m41.601s + 2.050s
13. Hiroshi Aoyama Gresini Honda 1m41.816s + 2.265s
14. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m41.949s + 2.398s
15. Toni Elias LCR Honda 1m42.157s + 2.606s
16. Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1m42.313s + 2.762s
17. John Hopkins Suzuki 1m42.538s + 2.987s