In a morning warm-up that coincided with the weekend’s first rain at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya, it was Cal Crutchlow that headed the MotoGP field ahead of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi.
In conditions deemed the most difficult to deal with in motorcycle racing, with rain falling on a dry track, the MotoGP contingent initially took some exploratory laps on either slicks or wet tyres. Within minutes, as the rain started to increase, all riders changed to wet tyres for the session.
Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison was the first victim of the weather as he lost the front end of his bike on the brakes in turn 10 with nine minutes to go. Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá ran into the gravel shortly after, followed by a crash from Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet.
With five minutes to go the session was red-flagged to remove Ellison’s bike. The Brit was unhurt in the incident, however leaking fuel required the track to be clear of riders.
As the session restarted, Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa had a near identical front-end fold to Ellison at the same spot, after which Ducati Team’s Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham managed to save near front end crashes there as well.
In the end it was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow, Pedrosa’s teammate Stoner and Rossi that set the three fastest times of the morning.