ROSSI BACK ON HIS BIKE IN SEPANG AS EDWARDS MAKES STEPS FORWARD

Gauloises Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi was sufficiently recovered to continue testing in Sepang today, after missing the middle day of this three-day test yesterday due to a throat virus. The reigning World Champion was still not feeling 100% fit, but managed to complete 35 laps, including a long run, before finishing the day early at around 4pm. His team-mate Colin Edwards continued working until a little later and ended the test pleased with the progress made and a satisfactory, if tiring, long run.

Temperatures were once again in the thirties with 66% percent humidity, making this final day of testing hot work for the World Champion and his new team-mate. The pair continued to test Michelin tyres while making small changes to the set-up of their M1 motorcycles, and both made some improvements to their lap times. Rossi finished the day fourth fastest in the unofficial standings with a best lap of 2'01.275 and Edwards, who rode 81 laps, was ninth with a best lap of 2'01.641. The first three places were filled by a trio of Honda riders, with Makoto Tamada setting a time of 2'00.955, almost a second faster than Rossi's pole position from the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix. The Japanese rider was followed by Max Biaggi and Alex Barros with times of 2'01.015 and 2'01.159 respectively.

The Gauloises Yamaha Team now moves on to Phillip Island, Australia, for another three days of testing. The team will again be sharing the track with teams from Honda, Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki, as well as the Fortuna Yamaha Team, from Friday, 17th through to Sunday, 19th February.

Valentino Rossi (2'01.275, 35 laps)
"Unfortunately I caught a virus yesterday and I wasn't able to test. I felt a bit better today and this morning we did a good job. We made some good laps and a race simulation, but I started to feel tired again over the last five laps. The bike is good and I have a good feeling with it; we've fixed some problems and tried some new tyres. Now I need to go and get some sleep so I can be ready to test in Phillip Island."

Colin Edwards (2'01.641, 81 laps)
"The race simulation was hard and I had to take a bit of a breather at one point. There were about six laps when I was slower than I could have been. 81 laps is a lot for one day, especially the third day of a test, but we really needed to do the long run in order to get the information. We're still working on the new bike, but I'm feeling a lot happier and we are making progress. The bike was great all day, very consistent and the tyres that Michelin have given us are great. I'm ready to move on now to some new scenery in Australia!"

Jeremy Burgess, Valentino Rossi's Crew Chief
"We didn't go through as much as we would have liked here due to missing a day, but what we did do was very good. We confirmed some things from the last test and we've certainly moved on this weekend, working mainly on tyres and improving the settings on the bike. Michelin have developed some good tyres. Now we go on to Phillip Island and I think we've got the same aim as every other team on the grid; to have the bike ready for the first race in April!"

Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director
"After three tests in a row in Sepang, it is good to have a change and see how our new machine performs at a new track. Despite Valentino's illness, we did a good job here with both our riders. Both did a race simulation and we collected a lot of good information from this. Now we move to Phillip Island to test again next weekend, where we will continue our preparation for the next season."

-gyt-