Yamaha Factory Racing riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards began making preparations for the final round of the 2005 MotoGP World Championship at Valencia today, with the cloudy conditions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit brightened by the return of the factory's traditional red, white and black racing colours. Both riders' YZR-M1 machines and leathers are decorated in the famous livery, in commemoration of Yamaha's 50th Anniversary and its extraordinarily successful year in racing this season.
Rossi was seventh fastest in both sessions as he worked on adapting the set-up of his machine to the demands of a tight and twisty circuit after the fast and flowing characteristics of Phillip Island and Istanbul. There is certainly more to come from the Italian tomorrow after he ended the day with a lap time which was over 1.5 seconds outside his pole position record of 1'32.478, set two seasons ago. Colin Edwards also made a steady start to the weekend, lapping tenth fastest as he continued to work on a new riding style designed to increase his corner speed.
VALENTINO ROSSI (7th - 1'34.040; 53 laps)
"I like the colour scheme very much -- it is like going back to the 1970s. The bike and the leathers look really nice. Today we're having a few problems with the front end and also with acceleration. We are losing a lot of time in the slow corners and we are not strong at the end of the lap in general. We have some problems and some of the others are very fast but I am not too worried. We've had difficulties before on a Friday and worked them out for Saturday so I am confident we can overcome them on this occasion too. Everybody is tired because seventeen races in a season is a lot but we will keep pushing until the end."
COLIN EDWARDS (10th -- 1'34.129; 57 laps)
"I am getting to grips with this new riding style and I feel I have made a big step forward already this weekend. Every time I go out on the track I make progress and the team has been very helpful. My Crew Chief Daniele is showing me where I can be faster and where I can be later on the brakes, which is really helping -- there's definitely a team effort going on. I feel the times are there this weekend but I now have to find the confidence in myself to push on and keep moving forward. We will see what else we can come up with tomorrow."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"It was another slow start to the weekend for us, something we have become used to this season! The positions don't look good but there are a lot of riders who are close together and if we make the improvements we know we are capable of, then both our riders should be much higher up tomorrow. As usual on a Friday we analyse the information and try to find as many solutions before practice continues tomorrow."