LCR Honda team British rider Cal Crutchlow during the MotoGP free pratice session of the Italian Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit in Scarperia, central Italy, 02 June 2017. EPA

LUCO DI MUGELLO: Cal Crutchlow, riding a Honda, clocked the fastest time in the opening two practice sessions for the Italian MotoGP at Mugello on Friday.

The Briton timed 1min 47.365sec to finish ahead of Italian Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), who was fastest in the morning, with Germany’s Yamaha Tech3 rider Jonas Folger in third.

“I don’t feel fantastic with the bike, I’ve not been feeling great over the past couple of days, but the overall performance today I was quite happy with,” said Crutchlow.

Dovizioso was satisfied with his showing but warned there was work still to be done.

“I’m really happy about the feeling today, but it will not be enough because tomorrow others will be able to improve and we have to improve our speed in the middle of the corner,” the Ducati man said.

The Spanish trio of Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati), championship leader Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) and Marc Marquez (Honda) could only finish 10th, 11th and 13th.

Vinales suffered a heavy fall, which seemed to leave him struggling to breathe before he found his way back onto the saddle.

Home favourite Valentino Rossi, the seven-time world MotoGP champion, struggled with chest pains after a motocross training accident that saw him hospitalised last week.

But he was eventually cleared to race and was 14th fastest.

“Today’s sessions were very important to get an understanding of my condition,” the MotoGP star known as ‘the Doctor’ told the sport’s official website.

“This morning I suffered a lot, I had a lot of pain on the right, especially on acceleration, but this afternoon the situation was a bit better. I struggled physically, especially with my breathing, because I’m not at 100%, but it is getting better.” --AFP

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