Australian GP: Fiat Yamaha Friday practice report

New world champion gets back to work on the island Newly-crowned 2008 World Champion Valentino Rossi was back in action at Phillip Island today, just five days after clinching an incredible sixth premier class title, his eighth in all. The Fiat...

New world champion gets back to work on the island

Newly-crowned 2008 World Champion Valentino Rossi was back in action at Phillip Island today, just five days after clinching an incredible sixth premier class title, his eighth in all. The Fiat Yamaha Team rider finished a promising second in this morning's dry session, before rain interrupted the proceedings this afternoon.

The Italian maestro has a peerless record at Phillip Island having won five times in the premier class, including twice with Yamaha during his championship winning years of 2004 and 2005, and he is keen to get back onto the top step of the podium this weekend. Bright sunshine this morning saw him in fine form, running second behind Casey Stoner, but this afternoon was a different story as rain and wind battered the coastal circuit. Rossi was sixth fastest this afternoon and, with unsettled weather expected for the rest of the weekend, this afternoon's wet set-up time could prove useful.

Valentino Rossi - Position 2nd Time - 1'30.764 - 49 laps

"Today we are back to work after the championship victory but I can say that my motivation is still very high and I really want to have a good result here. I am quite happy with this morning's session, second is not so bad and I managed to do some good laps and find a strong rhythm quite quickly. It wasn't perfect however and we need to work a little bit on the tyres with Bridgestone. This track is very hard on tyres, especially the left side where there is a lot of stress and at the moment we have a bit too much rear spin. In the wet we were a bit slow and we lack some feel on the entry to the corner, so if it is wet again then we will need to work on this. Now we will have to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow in order to see what we have to focus on."

David Brivio - Team Manager

"Yet again we've had another half wet, half dry day! It's a pity this morning's great weather couldn't continue but anyway it seems we might be okay for the rest of the weekend. This morning we were reasonably fast, although we have some improvements to make, but this afternoon in the wet things weren't quite as good. We still need to choose the best tyres for both conditions so that we're prepared for rain or shine! Anyway, it's only Friday so we will keep working like this tomorrow and hopefully make another step forward."

Lorenzo makes MotoGP debut on rain-hit island

Jorge Lorenzo made his MotoGP debut at Phillip Island today, looking to make an impression after taking 250cc honours at the track for the last two years. It was a day of two halves, which saw the leading rookie eighth in the dry this morning before climbing to fifth this afternoon as the sunshine gave way to heavy rain.

Lorenzo spent the morning working through his allocation of Michelin race tyres, an important factor at a circuit which is especially hard on the left side of the tyre. This afternoon the Spaniard continued his recent trend of being fast in the wet and he is confident that, with a little more work, he can be a contender whatever the conditions this weekend.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position 8th Time - 1'32.235 - 52 laps

"Today has been a bit strange because the conditions between the morning and the afternoon were so different! This is one of my favourite tracks and I've been looking forward to riding the M1 here for a long time and finding out if I could be fast again here like I was in 125 and 250. This morning in the dry we tried many different tyres with Michelin and then this afternoon in the wet again we had the chance to try some different things. It seems that Michelin is especially strong here in the wet and if it's like this all weekend then we have the possibility to be quite strong. We need a bit more time to be fast in the dry here but, from looking at the times and the data, I think we can be competitive if the weather is good as well."

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager

"We've had two very different practice sessions today as far as conditions are concerned! We used this morning's dry session to explore all the Michelin tyre options we had available, which was very important. We have a good range although we need to work a little bit more to keep the front wheel on the ground. In the afternoon in the wet things were actually a little easier for Jorge, but he needs a little bit more confidence on the entry to the corners and also we need to improve the rear contact. Of course we would prefer it to be dry tomorrow, but we will have to wait and see and it looks like it could be changeable so today's work could be very important."

-credit: yamaha-racing.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Phillip Island