News 13 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Rossi leads the way with four Yamahas in top 10

Yamaha Racing PR:

Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo dominated the opening session at Montmelo day, holding the top two spots between them for the entire 45-minute practice. It was eventually the Italian who topped the time sheets with his team-mate and local-hero just three tenths behind him, leaving the Fiat Yamaha duo looking in fine form for the weekend.

Blazing sunshine made a change from the recent tricky weather conditions and with track temperatures getting as high as 49 degrees, it was a hard day for tyres and riders. The heat proved no problem for the Yamaha pair however as they went straight to the top of the time sheets and remained there throughout, swapping places between them a few times but never looking in danger of being bettered by any of their rivals. Rossi and his crew made a slight change to their base setting before they got started today and the fruits of their labours were immediately clear. Lorenzo, who is carrying a special FC Barcelona livery this weekend in honour of the Champions League-winning club, feels in similarly good shape but is hoping that a few further alterations tomorrow will close the small gap to his team-mate.

Valentino Rossi Position: 1 Time: 1’43.038
“We made some changes to our base setting here and already it feels much better to ride. This practice went very well for us, we were strong from start to finish and to be in first position feels good. We have found out some very interesting things, especially about my feeling with the bike, but we need to keep on working because there are still some parts that we want to make better for tomorrow. I am really happy to be able to ride the bike how I want to finally but there is still plenty more work to continue with to make sure we’re in the best possible shape for tomorrow afternoon and Sunday.”

Jorge Lorenzo Position: 2 Time: 1’43.340
“I always have a few doubts coming to each new track but today everything felt really good, my bike and my Bridgestone tyres. I feel very comfortable and we can see that we have the potential to put on a really good performance here. We have a few things which we can improve so we will try to do that tomorrow but this is another good start for us. It’s very early to be making any conclusions about who will be fighting on Sunday though and for now we just have to stay focused. It feels great to be out in front of all my home fans here and I am really happy to have the FC Barcelona stickers on my bike!”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We started out today by trying some different things with our base setting and the balance and we had good feedback straight away which translated into a very strong session for us. It looks like we have found a better feeling for Valentino and this might help him to reach his potential. We were fast all through the session and now we have a good base setting to work from for this weekend. Now we just need to work on fine-tuning it tomorrow.”

Daniele Romagnoli – Team Manager
“This is a very good start for us here at Jorge’s home Grand Prix. We already have a good base-setting but we have identified one or two areas in which we can improve further still, especially in the hard acceleration. We will work on that tomorrow and hopefully we can build on this great first day.”
Promising start for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in Catalunya

Colin Edwards and James Toseland were in encouraging form today as preparations for Sunday’s Catalunya MotoGP race kicked off in scorching hot conditions at the Montmelo circuit.

Edwards rode his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 to the eighth best time, the American clocking a quickest lap of 1.44.419 to finish just over half-a-second away from a top five placing.
The 35-year-old was as high as fourth place at one stage as he spent the session trying to iron out a small front-end issue he encountered as track temperatures peaked at 49 degrees.

British rider Toseland provided further evidence that he is close to being back to brilliant best as he ran in the top five inside the final 20 minutes of a closely fought session, with just 1.7s splitting the top 12 riders.

Quickly adapting to a new rear shock setting to help his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine cope with the notoriously bumpy Montmelo surface, Toseland ended the session with the 10th best time on his final lap.

His best time of 1.44.580 was just over 0.4s away from a top six finish, with Toseland confident he can repeat the stunning top six finish he claimed in Catalunya in 2008.

Colin Edwards 8th 1.44.419 – 24 laps
“Today I didn’t feel very comfortable at all and I was having an issue with the front-end feeling. Nothing feels natural and being a front-end guy as much as I am, when the front is not quite right it causes me a problem and today I just couldn’t get a comfortable feeling. Keeping the front tyre loaded and generating corner speed is the biggest issue and I’m going to sit down with my guys tonight because we need to try and figure out a way to solve it with a better setting. We’ve always been able to quickly solve our issues this year so I’m confident we’ll come out fighting closer to the front tomorrow. Today though I hit a bit of a brick wall because I was making some changes to the bike that should have improved my feeling but the lap time wasn’t any better. I was having a problem getting the bike to turn and it just wasn’t comfortable for me to push. If I did push the bike would just run wide and that was costing me time.”

James Toseland 10th 1.44.580 – 22 laps
“On paper it doesn’t look spectacular but I’m really pleased with today because it was easily my best start to a weekend this season. I was seventh until the final minutes so that’s encouraging and at the end I was out on quite an old rear tyre, which was moving around quite a bit. With a new tyre I’m sure I could have got a bit further up, but I wanted to get some information on the hard tyre for the race. We tried a slightly different setting on the rear shock, softening the spring to try and help the bike cushion the bumps a little bit better here because the track is quite bump to be fair. At the beginning we’d gone a bit too soft and that was making the rear of the bike sit a bit too low and we had to make a couple of small changes, but my team did a great job as always because it improved the feeling. We found a bit more grip at the end and I did my best lap on a rear tyre that had already done 16 laps and I was nearly half-a-second quicker than my previous best time, so it shows we’re moving in the right direction. After today I feel quite confident for the weekend. It looks like we’ll get a good dry weekend and I had a good result here last year. So I’m pleased to have something to build on.”