Barcelona 1: Alonso shines

Fernando Alonso claimed the fastest ever lap at the Circuit de Catalunya today at the opening of a week's worth of testing at the Barcelona circuit, but lap times were put in the shade by a lurid crash suffered by Kimi Raikkonen late in the afternoon.

Barcelona 1: Alonso shines

The Finn, who was shaken but mostly okay after the incident, was attended by a circuit doctor within minutes of returning to the pits. He complained of a slight soreness in his right hand, which may in fact have been as a result of a small quad bike accident recently at a promotional activity.

Team members at the track stated he was taken to a local hospital by the team's physiotherapist for a precautionary x-ray before returning to his hotel. They also revealed that he will not be testing tomorrow, although this is more likely due to the lack of spare parts available to McLaren rather than any residual health problems.

Testing kicked off for the week today to reasonable conditions - the day was sunny throughout, with an average temperature of 11 degrees Celsius, although with wind picking up in the afternoon and a mostly dirty track all day, picking the right time to be on track for a good lap time proved tricky.

Alonso manage to do so, however, obviously reveling in the return of his chief engineer after a brief absence in Valencia. Most of the teams were focusing on long runs to test tyre degradation, as has been usual of late, and the Michelin tyres in particular seem to now be running consistent times over a large number of laps.

Toyota, who were running their amended TF105 in the hands of Jarno Trulli along side an interim version of last year's car for Ricardo Zonta, were relatively happy with their results. Technical director Mike Gascoyne noted: "we're reasonably happy - today we spent all day cleaning the track, and it's hard to know where we are at the moment, like everyone else, but so far there have been no mechanical problems, and we will see how it is towards the end of the test."

The 2005 spec Jordan made an appearance, along with a 2005 spec team, seemingly populated in the main by Carlin Formula 3 mechanics and engineers. The team struggled, with Narain Karthikeyan well off the pace in the team's only 2005 spec car and team-mate Tiago Monteiro even further behind in an interim 2004 vehicle.

The test in Barcelona will run until February 19, with the final day being set aside for a wet weather test.

Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1m14.991s, 110 laps
Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), 1m15.227s, 82 laps
Ricardo Zonta (Toyota*), 1m15.374s, 83 laps
Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), 1m15.404s, 71 laps
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), 1m15.648s, 63 laps
David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing), 1m15.713s, 92 laps
Vitantonio Liuzzi (Red Bull Racing), 1m16.143s, 70 laps
Mark Webber (Williams), 1m16.509s, 82 laps
Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 1m16.551s, 97 laps
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1m16.639s, 101 laps
Antonio Pizzonia (Williams), 1m16.726s, 54 laps
Narain Karthikeyan (Jordan), 1m20.029s, 81 laps
Tiago Monteiro (Jordan*) 1m22.076s, 86 laps

* - denotes 2004 car

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