News 30 May 2009

MotoGP: Lorenzo leads Yamaha teammate Rossi in Italy

Yamaha Racing PR:

The Fiat Yamaha pairing of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got off to a flying start at the Italian Grand Prix today, taking the top two spots in the opening practice session at Mugello. After the rain-interrupted French round, sunny Tuscany is a welcome change for the riders and the Spaniard and the Italian looked in fine fettle around the 5.245km track this afternoon.

Lorenzo leads the championship from his team-mate by just one point and he looked in top form once again this afternoon. He was the only rider to dip under the current lap record as he quickly found a good setting for his M1 and Bridgestone tyres for the undulating, high-speed track.

Home-town hero Rossi also spent time at the top of the standings but finished up just under two tenths behind his team-mate in second position. He is confident that a few small set-up tweaks in the morning will improve things further as he seeks an incredible eighth consecutive win at his favourite racetrack.

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 1 Time: 1’49.870 Laps: 27

“This is a great start but it’s too soon to speak about the race or jump to conclusions; we’ve only had one practice! It’s true however that I didn’t have any problems today and I felt very happy for the whole session. Each time we come to a new track we don’t know exactly what to expect because we’re still learning the new Bridgestone tyres but at the moment we seem to be fast each time and I feel very comfortable in this period; this is positive. It’s very hot here, even hotter than in Spain but I am okay with that because we’ve had too much rain and we all need some sunshine! I hope it will continue like this for the weekend because it’s better for everyone.”

Valentino Rossi
Position: 2 Time: 1’50.065 Laps: 28

“We did quite well today and it looks like we’re in good shape. It is only Friday so there’s a long way to go yet, but it’s looking like it could be a great battle on the track because the first few riders are very close. We have a few small things to work on still with the setting because I can’t ride exactly how I want to yet, but we already have a good rhythm and we have important data to help us improve further. This is a great track for me and it doesn’t matter if Mugello comes after a bad race or a good one, it’s something apart from the ‘normal’ championship and I always feel great motivation. Plus the sun is shining so I am very happy!”

Daniele Romagnoli
Team Manager

“We’ve got the weekend going in the best way, especially because Jorge is already under the lap record which shows how comfortable he is. We’re very happy with the bike but we have already found some areas that we can improve so this will be our task for tomorrow. Let’s hope we can keep going in the same way because we know that everyone else will improve as well.”

Davide Brivio
Team Manager

“Valentino was consistently fast and amongst the top riders for the whole hour so we have made a good start. We still have some small adjustments to make and hopefully that will help us to find a few tenths more. It’s very hot and if it remains like this then it will be a hard race for the riders but it’s better than rain! We’re feeling positive and we will continue to work and improve our package tomorrow.”

Colin Edwards and James Toseland made a strong start to the Italian MotoGP weekend in Mugello today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo finishing opening free practice in fifth and 11th places respectively.

American Edwards recovered superbly from the early setback of losing his number one YZR-M1 machine to a minor problem to clock the fifth quickest time in a session run in hot and sunny conditions at the spectacular Mugello circuit.

The 35-year-old adapted brilliantly to the hardest Bridgestone compound rear tyre used so far in the 2009 MotoGP world championship to clock a best time of 1.50.891. Bridgestone opted to use the hard compound tyre today to cope with extreme track temperatures that peaked at 50 degrees and the high-speed nature of the 3.259 miles track.

Toseland ended the session in optimistic mood after he posted the 11th best time with a 1.51.401. An early set-up issue that hindered Toseland’s ability to change direction resulted in the British rider having to contend with an arm pump problem for the majority of the session.

The problem was exaggerated at the Mugello circuit, one of the fastest and most technical tracks on the calendar, but the 28-year-old was still able to show encouraging form and he was only 0.5s away from the top five.

Toseland’s Yamaha YZR-M1 is carrying a number 50 sticker this weekend to show support for former Tech 3 rider Sylvain Guintoli. The French rider is currently recovering from leg injuries suffered in a British Superbike Championship crash at Donington Park earlier this week.

Colin Edwards 5th 1.50.891 – 25 laps
“I’m reasonably happy because I did most of the session on my second bike. I had a very small problem with my number one bike and my guys did a great job to get me out so quickly on the second bike. The second bike though had stiffer suspension settings and I had a little bit of front-end movement that was holding me back a little bit. And with the hard compound Bridgestone tyres at the end of the session I was getting a bit more movement. But I’ve got to say that Bridgestone has done a great job. They are really simple and really easy to understand when you have the experience. It’s the hardest rear I’ve tried all year and it feels great, despite the high track temperatures. And its typical Bridgestone because the more laps you seem to do on it the faster you go and even now that is still freaking me out. I think we’ve easily got half-a-second to come from the bike but I’ve got to smooth my riding out a little bit. Without getting the bike quite dialled in with the stiffer suspension settings I wasn’t as smooth as I’d normally like to be, but we have got plenty of ideas to change it and I’m confident we’re in for a good weekend.”

James Toseland 11th 1.51.401 – 24 laps
“That wasn’t a bad session really and I’m pretty happy. I didn’t start off feeling very comfortable on the bike and fair play to Gary Reynders and my team because they did a good job in solving some of the problems and we always went in the right direction with the set-up. It was really difficult to change direction with the setting I had at the start and it gave me arm pump and I never suffer with that. But because I was forcing the bike with my arms at the beginning of the session, once I’d got arm pump I couldn’t get rid of it. Without that I’m sure the package I had was capable of going another three of four tenths quicker and that would put me in the top six. I felt comfortable too on the hard tyre because the last time I was on that was in Sepang in testing when I had my big crash. So to be half-a-second off fifth place on that tyre, I guess we’re friends again. It was hot out there with 50 degrees on the ground but the hard tyre was working pretty well for me. I’m optimistic and confident for the rest of the weekend because the time I lost was with my arm problem and not the bike, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and doing a good job. I’m carrying Sylvain’s race number on my bike as a gesture from the whole Tech 3 Team to show we’re all thinking of him and wishing him a quick recovery. He’s a great guy and we all want to see him back out on track as soon as possible.”