Rossi launches 200th Grand Prix challenge at Donington Valentino Rossi, who is scheduled to contest his 200th Grand Prix on Sunday, got his weekend off to a solid start today by finishing third overall in the first free practice sessions at ...
Rossi launches 200th Grand Prix challenge at Donington
Valentino Rossi, who is scheduled to contest his 200th Grand Prix on Sunday, got his weekend off to a solid start today by finishing third overall in the first free practice sessions at Donington Park. The 29-year-old Fiat Yamaha Team rider, whose first ever 125cc race was back in 1996 at Shah Alam, has an illustrious record at this circuit with eight wins to his name, including two with Yamaha in 2004 and 2005.
Rossi started off steadily this morning, finishing the first session in eighth as he struggled to perfect his set-up to suit the tricky Donington surface. In the later stages of the afternoon session the Bridgestone-shod Italian and his crew improved things somewhat, finding a better setting which gave them more grip and finishing the day third in the combined standings, behind Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 3rd Time: 1'28.909 Laps: 57
"This morning we were struggling and we're not in perfect shape yet. Fortunately however, this afternoon on the last run things improved a lot and we are now third. The main problem here is the asphalt because it doesn't have any grip anymore and riding on it is very difficult. Of course the temperature was quite low, which didn't help, but in some parts of the track the asphalt is finished. It's a pity because this track is great, one of my favourites! We have to hope that the weather stays dry because if it's wet it will be even worse. We have a couple of ideas to try tomorrow; we will try some different tyres and also some other solutions for the setting, in order to be faster in the direction changes. We had a very long meeting after the session in order to try to understand the problem, it's very strange because we used some tyres which are usually very good for us, but here they don't seem to work as they normally do. Third position is okay however, we're not so far from the top and tomorrow we will try to make some more steps forward."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"We definitely improved this afternoon, as the times show, but we still have a lot of work to do on a few things specifically. Tomorrow we need to focus on improving the setting still further to suit this track; the surface here isn't great and the lack of grip makes it quite difficult to find the right set-up. We also need to do some more work on the tyres with Bridgestone before we're in a position to make a choice. Luckily it was dry today so now we hope the English weather is going to be kind to us again tomorrow so that we can continue with what we started this afternoon."
Lorenzo makes tentative return to action at Donington Park
Two weeks after crashing during practice in Catalunya and ruling himself out of his home race, Jorge Lorenzo made a welcome return to the track on his Fiat Yamaha M1 at the British Grand Prix today. After his sensational start to the season, the youngest rider on the grid has undergone a torrid time since fracturing both his ankles in China at the start of May and he is now riding with a special glove on his right hand to protect the skin graft that he underwent 12 days ago.
Lorenzo's focus today was simply to find the feeling back on board his bike and to build his confidence, which he freely admits has suffered in his recent string of crashes. The Michelin rider finished the day a lowly 16th in the combined standings but is looking forward to feeling more relaxed and confident tomorrow and trying to improve things step-by-step.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 16th Time: 1'30.290 Laps: 51
"Today was always going to be a hard day for me and I had to start very slowly because honestly I felt some fear after all of my problems! I haven't ridden since the crash in practice in Catalunya and I have lost some confidence, so the aim this weekend is just to find it again. Today the main target was to try to find my feeling with the bike and also to check my physical shape, which is okay although I do have some pain in my hand and finger where I had the skin graft. I am happy to be back however and I hope that the worst is over and that tomorrow I will be more relaxed and have more confidence. We are starting from scratch again this weekend so we have to go step-by-step and take things slowly."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"Finally we have Jorge back after Barcelona and we're very pleased about this! Now we are justlooking to re-build his confidence by taking things gently and easily, without risking too much. For sure he will need some time before he is back to his best but there is no pressure on him. Meanwhile we also need to work hard on improving the bike setting because we are lacking some rear grip and the bike is quite nervous at full lean. Together with Michelin we will analyse the data tonight and study some solutions to help us with this tomorrow."