As it happened yesterday, Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi set the pace in the second day of activity at the Losail International Circuit of Doha, Qatar for the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP).
Colin Edwards kept his exemplary pre-season form by topping the unofficial time-sheets once again today, with teammate Valentino Rossi hot on his heels.
The Yamaha Factory Team pairing continue to forge ahead with the development of their 800cc Yamahas and their hard work is reaping rewards, with both riders feeling confident about the impending season.
Edwards' best lap of the day, an outstanding time of 1'56.296 set in the morning session, was over a second under the current 990cc lap record. Meanwhile Rossi bettered his time from yesterday with a lap of 1.56.537, despite running into a few set-up problems which he will look to iron-out tomorrow.
"Today was impressive! We got our second-choice front tyre from Michelin and it was instantly better than the third-choice one we had yesterday, it gave me a lot more confidence in the front-end. We made some big changes to the setting last night and we're now in a different realm, close to what Valentino was running yesterday. It's basically just something that works well on a flat track with no bumps and it felt really good. We made a small change to the rear shock and then we were just testing tyres for the rest of the day", commented Edwards.
Despite being second for the team in the 1-2 speed charts again, Rossi knows there`s a lot to keep working on: "Today we ran into a few problems which we need to work on, but anyway this is expected when you're getting faster and faster and it's much better that we find the problems now than in the race! Again we need to work to improve the stability of the bike under braking and this is a very delicate thing because we don't want to sacrifice the agility of our bike. We need to find the right balance. We tried some more tyres for Michelin and today we didn't find anything so great in this area, but we made some decisions about what to try for our long run tomorrow", expressed the Italian ace.
Behind the Yamaha duo appeared Dani Pedrosa setting third best time with 1'56.712 on his Repsol Honda. The Spaniard was another rider to spearhead the development of Michelin's new front rubber, and clocked his quickest time towards the end of the afternoon session. The second RC212V in the top six was that of fellow Spaniard Carlos Checa, who put in the most laps of any rider as part of a race simulation.
Casey Stoner proved again that the Marlboro Ducati is in good shape by clocking the best fifth time 1'56.040, right ahead of John Hopkins, sixth with the Rizla Suzuki.
The current World Champion, Nicky Hayden, had a hard day as he suffered a small crash on the opening run-out at Losail. He was back on the bike immediately, eager to put in as many laps as possible on the new 800cc machine.
Tomorrow will be the last day of activity in Doha, where on March 10th will be the scenary for the opening round of the season.