Rossi signs off for winter holidays with fastest time in Jerez
World Champion Valentino Rossi set the fastest time in Jerez today on the final day of testing for the year. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was third fastest, making it a successful concluding test for the year's leading team.
Rossi spent most of his time today on the new 2009-prototype M1, working on developing the setting and also trying out some new parts for the engine, amongst other things. He set his best time of the day on his 52nd of 54 laps, dipping nearly seven tenths of a second under the lap record with a time of 1'39.429.
It was another cold day in Jerez and Lorenzo did not make his first foray on track until 1.30 pm, completing 58 laps before ending his day at 5pm. The 21-year-old spent the entire time today on a test bike, which carries some new prototype parts, familiarising himself with the different machine, working on establishing a base setting and continuing to improve his feeling with the new single-brand tyres. He showed his improvement with a best lap of 1'40.426, just over 0.3 seconds off the current lap record.
The team will now have two months to recover from a hard season while the MotoGP testing ban is in force. The next on-track action will be at Sepang in Malaysia on 5th, 6th and 7th February 2009.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1st Time: 1'39.429 Laps: 54
"The track was a bit drier today and so we were able to improve even more and do a great job. We worked a lot on the new bike and tried some different parts to yesterday, including for the engine and we were quite fast. It seems we're going in the right direction with this new bike and I am happy about this. I hope that the information we have gathered here will help the engineers to improve the bike and I look forward to the next evolution in Sepang. I think these first tests with the one-tyre rule have been quite positive and Bridgestone have done a good job so far, although for sure they will have a difficult job to decide which tyre for which track. Anyway, I hope that we will have some exciting battles next year with everyone at the same level with their tyres. Now I am looking forward to some holidays and next week I will go to Wales for the rally, which I hope will be a lot of fun. It's been a fantastic year and I am really happy I have finished at the top today, it's not a big thing but it gives a good feeling to me and all the team and means we can enjoy our holidays confident that we are in good shape!"
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"This has been a positive test for us, and we have finished the year very well. Despite the cold weather allowing us just a few hours to test over these two days, we have been able to go through more or less our entire programme and check everything on the agenda. This means that we have given a lot of valuable information to our Japanese engineers, and this will help them in their development work over the winter. Valentino finished fastest today, which is a great conclusion to the year, and shows that we're on the right track with the 2009-prototype M1. Now we have some time for rest and so I would like to thank all of the team once again for their hard work and wish them happy holidays!"
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3rd Time: 1'40.426 Laps: 58
"Today we concentrated on the evolution bike, which has some prototype parts, with a new setting from Valentino. It seems we had a small advantage with this bike and I was able to improve my time, so I am happy about this. This 'new' bike is also more stable under acceleration, with less wheelie and the throttle is a bit easier to handle so these are important improvements. The final conclusion of these two days is very positive I think, although we know there is still a lot of margin to improve, both in the bike and in my riding style and of course we need to keep working to better understand the new tyres. Now we start a long holiday and I am looking forward to starting training immediately, because since Valencia I have really been too busy! It will be good to have two months off with my friends and family but I am also looking forward to February in Sepang, when hopefully I will get to try the new engine."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"This has been a very good test for us, and today we improved our lap time by quite a lot compared with yesterday. Jorge focused on the new bike today and he likes it and was able to make some good laps. The team worked on finding a new setting, which helped us to improve our lap time and, although there is a lot more to work on, it seems with the new bike we have more potential to improve than with the old one so this is very encouraging. We are very happy about Jorge's lap time because he is the first rider who is using new tyres, behind Valentino and Dani who have had a lot more experience with them. Of course we need more time to understand the tyres and how we can use them to their full potential, but we have time. Now finally we have a long winter break for the team, but Yamaha will continue to work hard to improve our bike before the next test in Sepang in February."