GAULOISES YAMAHA RIDERS SET PACE AT GLOOMY DONINGTON Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi set the pace on the opening day of the British Grand Prix under damp grey skies at Donington Park today. Edwards...
GAULOISES YAMAHA RIDERS SET PACE AT GLOOMY DONINGTON
Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi set the pace on the opening day of the British Grand Prix under damp grey skies at Donington Park today. Edwards and Rossi were first and second fastest respectively in the morning session and their best times remained unbeaten in the afternoon as light rainfall interrupted the second free practice. Arriving in Great Britain on the back of consecutive podium finishes at Assen and Laguna Seca, Edwards was quickly on the pace this morning and was the only rider able to beat his own lap record of 1'29.973 - set on his way to second place behind Rossi during last year's race.
Using the same base set-up that has propelled him to the lead positions over the past two races, Edwards made minor adjustments to his YZR-M1 machine before clocking a best time of 1'29.960 after 27 laps of the morning session. The American had planned to test a variety of tyre compounds in the afternoon but was thwarted by a brief shower that made track conditions extremely slippery and led to a crash for Nicky Hayden (Honda). The rain also affected Rossi's programme as the Italian missed out on the opportunity to make further adjustments to his own base setting. The Italian lapped just 0.025 seconds slower than his team-mate but was not entirely comfortable and was hoping for more track time in dry conditions during the afternoon.
COLIN EDWARDS (1st; 1'29.960 -- 33 laps)
"The bike has become better and better over the past few weeks so the aim today was to continue along that line. I felt comfortable from the first lap and when I came in and saw the lap times I was doing I decided to put my head down for a couple of laps and see what I was capable of. To break the lap record in first practice obviously gives you a lot of confidence, but the main thing that is giving me confidence right now is the performance of my bike and the way I am working with all of the guys in the team. To be considered as a serious challenger to Valentino you have to make the top three on a very consistent basis so that is what we are trying to do. Obviously I know this track well and I've spent a lot of time working in England in the past so I'm getting an extra push from the fans. The only thing I don't like here is the weather... and the food!"
VALENTINO ROSSI (2nd; 1'29.985 -- 36 laps)
"We lost the practice this afternoon because it was half wet and half dry. It is a shame because that was an important time to work on the set-up of the bike and get the machine to work at this circuit. I was in London last Sunday and the weather was very hot but the temperature has dropped by about 10ºC in the last two days and they are saying it could get worse. It's disappointing because this track is great and it would be good to race here in the dry. The M1 does go well in the wet as well though anyway. To be honest the bike felt a little nervous in these conditions and especially this morning it was difficult to get the tyres up to the right temperature. However, I am satisfied to be second even though we haven't learned much today."
JEREMY BURGESS -- ROSSI'S CREW CHIEF
"This afternoon the conditions made it a bit of a waste of time for us but both Yamahas were quick in the morning so essentially we know the bike is okay. This track is split into two very different sections but you can never make up time in slow corners so our focus is to set the bike up to work as well as possible through the fast ones, in particular from Redgate through Craner Curves. The question mark is over the weather and choosing the right tyre at the right time. As I say, today was pretty useless for that because everybody went faster in the morning than they did in the afternoon."