MotoGP: Rossi back in groove
Dani Pedrosa was quickest in first practice in round nine of the MotoGP World Championship at Sachsenring but all eyes were on Valentino Rossi, making his return to action after six weeks out.
Rossi, who broke his leg in practice for the Italian Grand Prix, was seventh after the hour-long session on his Fiat Yamaha M1.
Pedrosa set a time of 1:22.521 on his Respol Honda, 0.274s ahead of Casey Stoner who was next on the timesheet after a solid session on his Ducati.
Stoner's team-mate Nicky Hayden rounded out the top three after dipping just below the 1:23 mark.
Inexperienced riders Ben Spies (Yamaha Tech 3) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) found their feet after moderate starts to seal fourth and fifth respectively.
Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was 0.703s down on Pedrosa's mark in sixth position.
Then came Rossi and he completed a total of 29 laps, during which he came within just 0.02s of Fiat Yamaha colleague Lorenzo.