After five days of intense physiotherapy on cracked bones in his right wrist and left foot, Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi returned to MotoGP action for the first true test of his fitness since the Dutch TT in today's free practice...
After five days of intense physiotherapy on cracked bones in his right wrist and left foot, Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi returned to MotoGP action for the first true test of his fitness since the Dutch TT in today's free practice sessions for the British Grand Prix. Rossi took to the Donington Park circuit with heavy strapping on his wrist but was able to complete 43 laps over the two sessions, running consistently at the top end of the timing screens before settling for the seventh fastest lap overall.
With Rossi focusing on adapting the bike both to the demands of the circuit and the diminishing limitations of his physical condition, his team-mate Colin Edwards worked diligently beside him on the set-up of his own YZR-M1 machine. With his last-corner battle for victory at Assen still fresh in the mind, today represented a perfect opportunity for the Texan to turn the page and focus on another podium assault in Sunday's ninth round of the season. Edwards lapped fourth fastest in the morning session and slipped to sixth in the afternoon, but after completing 53 laps he has plenty of crucial data to work from ahead of tomorrow's single qualifying session.
COLIN EDWARDS (6th - 1'29.379; 53 laps)
"To be honest my pace today wasn't quite as good as I had expected but we're still looking for a few things from the set-up that we'll work on tomorrow. We had a couple of problems today but by the end of the second session it was starting to come. Basically we need to get it turning into the corners a little better and there are some sections of the track where we're getting some vibrations, but it is nothing major. We played around with the tyres a little today but we've got plenty still to do and need to get our heads down in the morning before chasing a lap time in qualifying."
VALENTINO ROSSI (7th - 1'29.416; 43 laps)
"I'm happy to be riding again and enjoying myself on the bike. Assen was a very tough weekend for me but my physiotherapist has done a good job and I feel better, although still not at 100%. I still have some pain, especially under braking, but the mobility is much better and this is important. There are three hard braking areas at this track where I am struggling and to be honest I don't know how this will be in the race; I was losing strength towards the end of the afternoon session today and this could be a problem. As far as the lap time is concerned we need to make up a few tenths in certain areas but I think we can do this with a few changes to the bike. I will get some more treatment tonight and keep some ice on my wrist and we will see tomorrow."
DAVIDE BRIVIO - CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"We're still working with both riders on the setting of the bike and it has been good to have a 'normal' first day - gathering data without anything spectacular happening and no dramas to worry about either. The good news is that Valentino can ride without too much pain or discomfort and he is trying his best to manage his condition and set fast laps. We know we have to be faster but we are still fine-tuning the set-up and have plenty of room for improvement tomorrow. The only question mark is how Valentino can hold up over the course of a race but we can't know that until Sunday. We'll just set up the bike and let the Clinica Mobile set up the rider!"