Recovering Rossi tops Mugello free practice

Coming back after injury, the Yamaha rider posted the fastest lap of 1min 46.543sec.

Valentino Rossi rounds the bend during the Free Practice at Mugello Circuit, ahead of the Italian MotoGP.   -  Getty Images

Italian motorcycling star Valentino Rossi proved he was well on the comeback trail after a training accident by setting the fastest time in free practice on Saturday, ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Rossi, 38, known on the circuit as 'The Doctor', was discharged from the hospital last weekend after treatment for chest and stomach injuries he suffered while training in motocross.

Buoyed by the enthusiastic support of the home crowd, the Italian posted a fastest lap of 1min 46.543sec, with world champion Honda’s Marc Marquez of Spain at .322sec and Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo, winner last year in Tuscany, at 0.368.

World championship leader Maverick Vinales, Rossi's Yahama teammate, finished fifth-fastest at 0.429, with qualifying taking place later on Saturday.

Rossi - bidding for a 10th world title this season - is third in the overall standings, trailing Vinales and Honda's Dani Pedrosa.