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Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 11:28 UK

Matt Roberts' MotoGP column

By Matt Roberts
BBC Sport at Philip Island

Jorge Lorenzo
Lorenzo trails Valentino Rossi by 18 points in the riders' standings

Jorge Lorenzo may have been in orbit following his victory at Estoril two weeks ago, but he was back to earth with a bump on Friday after crashing his Yamaha in first free practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

Even though several days of cold, wind and rain gave way to warmer spring temperatures at Phillip Island, the Spaniard was feeling under the weather, struggling to the sixth fastest lap time.

"I just couldn't go fast today - I wasn't feeling too good," he moaned. "I think I ate something last night that didn't agree with me and I felt very weak, which made it very hard to ride the bike."

James Toseland also felt the force of gravity down under, ditching his own YZR-M1 halfway through an otherwise positive opening session.

Toseland, who enjoyed his best performance of last season at this circuit, was among the pacesetters over the opening laps and ended up seventh fastest despite his misdemeanour - merely a result of pushing the front end too hard as he chased an improved lap time.

Valentino Rossi suffered no such trouble as he guided his own Yamaha to the fastest time of the day, clearly putting those Estoril set-up problems firmly behind him.

The Italian has a sensational record at this circuit, having been on the podium here 11 times in 12 visits in all three classes, although he is overdue a win - the last of his five successes coming back in 2005.

Incidentally, the only rider to have won races in all three classes here is Marco Melandri, who was 14th fastest on Friday on the Hayate.


Meanwhile, both the 250cc and 125cc titles could be decided this weekend, with Hiroshi Aoyama and Julian Simon poised to celebrate in their respective classes.

Aoyama's task is complicated - the Japanese rider needs to win the race and hope Alvaro Bautista finishes no higher than 15th, Marco Simoncelli no higher than 14th and Hector Barbera third or lower.

Simon's quest is easier but the permutations are slightly more complicated. Basically, the title will be his should he finish ahead of Bradley Smith and 14th or higher if Nico Terol features in the top four.

You may be able to tell from my desperate clutching at stats that there is little in the way of paddock gossip this weekend, although some major changes are afoot on Lorenzo's side of the Yamaha garage - more details of which are likely to emerge as the weekend progresses.

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see also
Stoner overhauls Rossi for pole
17 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
14 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Smith ready for Australian heat
15 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo wins to reduce Rossi lead
04 Oct 09 |  MotoGP

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