News 6 Feb 2010

MotoGP: Rossi and Yamaha make solid start to 2010 season

Valentino Rossi led the way for the second day running in Sepang today, concluding the first test of the year on top of the standings. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was also on the pace today, finishing the test third fastest behind Casey Stoner.

Rain this morning meant the track did not fully dry out until lunchtime and it was after one o’clock before Rossi left the garage on his 2010 YZR-M1. The World Champion, who turns 31 in ten days time, completed 32 laps and set a best time of 2’00.925, only half a second slower than the record pole time for the track, which he set last year.

Lorenzo put in a few laps in the late morning but the track was still wet in places and so he, too, waited until after lunch to really get started. The 22-year-old made a big improvement from yesterday and felt much more comfortable on the bike, finishing third fastest in a time of 2’01.680 after 60 laps.

The team will return to Sepang at the end of the month for the second of three pre-season tests.

Valentino Rossi
Position: 1st Time: 2’00.925 Laps: 32

“After yesterday this second day has been very good as well, even though we lost a few hours to the rain, and the end we were still able to finish all our work. We worked on the new bike to find a better setting and I was happy to be the fastest overall – even though this is just testing this is important for me! At the next test we will have a few more new things but we’re already happy because we’re fast and strong. There is room to improve of course; Sepang is always a good track for the Yamaha so we will have to wait until Qatar to get a better understanding of our level, but we have made a great start.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 3rd Time: 2’01.680 Laps: 60

“I felt much better today and I was able to be fast straight away. It wasn’t a big problem yesterday, it’s just that after such a long break I forget how to ride a little bit! I need a bit of time, but it was much better today. I’m happy about my performance and about my feeling with the new bike. Yamaha have made good improvements without changing the best parts of the bike and this is the best way. They have made some good modifications to the chassis and the engine and this has already improved our pace. We don’t have many days on the bike until the start of the season so we will make the most of the time here next month to continue our good work.”

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team ended its first track action of 2010 in positive mood after a rain-hit final day of MotoGP testing at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

Colin Edwards and Ben Spies were unable to begin any meaningful testing until the track had completely dried this afternoon after heavy morning rain badly disrupting this morning’s session. Once damp patches had cleared though the Texan duo were able to make significant progress, taking full advantage of the valuable track time before further heavy rain brought an early end to proceedings at 5pm.

Texan Spies showed more of his true potential today when he clocked the fifth quickest time, despite the reigning World Superbike champion still feeling below his physical best.

Working closely with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew, Spies focused his efforts on continuing to adapt his riding style to the YZR-M1 machine. The American made significant progress with his braking style and managed to slice close to a second off his best lap time set yesterday with a time of 2.02.266 in his 31-lap stint.

Edwards, who was third quickest yesterday, finished seventh fastest with a best time of 2.02.479. That was just 0.2s slower than Spies as the 35-year-old evaluated several different chassis and swingarm setting options.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad will be back on track at Sepang for another two-day test session later this month before winter testing concludes in Qatar in March.

Ben Spies 5th 2.02.266 – 31 laps
“I rode as good and as hard as I could considering how I’ve been feeling. I’m not wanting to make any excuses but I didn’t feel really good with the jetlag. It was still a good test because I learned a lot about improving my riding and adapting my style to suit the Yamaha MotoGP bike. It is hard to break some of my old superbike habits at the moment but I made some big improvements in a couple of places on the track where I was really struggling, particularly in the braking. It started to feel more natural today and I got down to some decent times on race tyres. I was a second faster than the first day, so we made some good progress but this is a really difficult track to learn. This track is really long and really wide, but I got to a respectable pace. I’ve said it a load of times but it’s a learning process and every lap I’m learning. My guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 though have been brilliant again. We’re all putting in a lot of effort and I’m pleased with the steps I’ve made.”

Colin Edwards 7th 2.02.479 – 42 laps
“This has been a great test and I’m really happy. The big bonus of the test has been the performance of the engine. Putting it simply it seems they have made the engine with more power and more reliable. Accelerating off the corner was a problem last season but with the new engine it is a strong point. I tried a few things with the chassis and at this stage of the year it is all about crossing off pieces that work and those that don’t. We found a couple of things that improved the bike and gave me more confidence and a couple of things we need to work on. It’s been a great first test and hopefully we can carry this momentum on for the rest of the pre-season and into the serious business of the racing.”