ROSSI MAKES ENCOURAGING START TO HOME GRAND PRIX Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi kicked off his preparations for the Italian Grand Prix in positive fashion today as he set the fastest lap time in both of the opening free practice ...
ROSSI MAKES ENCOURAGING START TO HOME GRAND PRIX
Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi kicked off his preparations for the Italian Grand Prix in positive fashion today as he set the fastest lap time in both of the opening free practice sessions of the weekend. After a dry morning practice, when the Italian topped the time sheets with a lap of 1'51.238, a heavy rain shower just before the afternoon session played havoc with the team's work programme, hindering Colin Edwards' adaptation to the new chassis and preventing either rider from improving their best times despite drying track conditions towards the end.
It meant that Edwards was forced to settle for tenth place on the provisional time sheets but a more pressing issue for the Texan is the remaining set-up work to be done before Sunday's eagerly anticipated 23-lap race. The most likely scenario is that he will revert to the original chassis, used to excellent effect at Le Mans two weeks ago, before continuing development on the modified version with a view to the next race in Catalunya. Rossi only completed eight laps in the afternoon but it was enough to fend off the close attentions of fellow local Loris Capirossi (Ducati), who was second fastest.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st -- 1'51.238; 25 laps)
"We have had a good start to the weekend, especially this morning. Unfortunately the rain in the afternoon meant that we only got four good laps in but even in that short time we were able to see that the base setting of the bike is good. It is basically the same as the bike we had at Le Mans so I'm pleased to see it working well at such a different circuit. We still need to make some improvements to the setting but we are working in the right way and that is the most positive thing about today. We definitely need to work hard tomorrow but hopefully we can continue to improve. Now I just hope it doesn't rain, this is a very special race for all the Italians, both the riders and the people who come to watch, and we need the weather to be on our side!"
COLIN EDWARDS (10th -- 1'52.513; 34 laps)
"We've been playing around a little bit with the new chassis but I need more time in the dry to set it up before we can start to work with it properly. We didn't get enough of a chance at the Le Mans test because of the weather and it seems to have chased us over here. I don't want to have to start all over again in the morning so I think the best thing for us is to go back to what we know for tomorrow. It worked well for us in France and it seems ok here too so there is no point wasting time trying to use the new chassis here just for the sake of it. Hopefully the weather will hold out for us tomorrow so we can get through the set-up work we missed out on today and get ready for what promises to be a really tough but exciting race on Sunday."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"Today was not so bad, even though we had only one session in the dry, and Valentino was able to confirm that the bike he used so well in Le Mans is also working here. Unfortunately we haven't had enough time in the dry for Colin to make the adequate comparisons so it seems that the situation for tomorrow will be that our riders will be working in different directions. Anyway this is not such a problem because we know Colin is comfortable on the original chassis and worked well with it in France, so it is just a case of him concentrating on getting a good result here and waiting a little longer for his opportunity. Despite the weather it has been a good day, we've done a good job and in general we have made a promising start to what is an important weekend for us."