EDWARDS DRIVES AWAY IN NEW CAR AFTER CATALUNYA SUCCESS Camel Yamaha Team rider Colin Edwards clinched the first MotoGP accolade of 2006 as he charged through treacherously wet conditions at the Catalunya Circuit to the fastest time of the ...
EDWARDS DRIVES AWAY IN NEW CAR AFTER CATALUNYA SUCCESS
Camel Yamaha Team rider Colin Edwards clinched the first MotoGP accolade of 2006 as he charged through treacherously wet conditions at the Catalunya Circuit to the fastest time of the 40-minute MotoGP Official Practice and the prize of a brand new car. After a brief appearance in this morning's dry free practice, Edwards emerged with a string of fast laps at the end of the afternoon session to usurp his otherwise dominant team-mate Valentino Rossi, who was unable to respond with a late effort of his own after a falling whilst leading the time sheets on his twelfth lap.
Today's success concludes a positive weekend for Yamaha, which saw Rossi set the pace in dry conditions on Friday and Saturday, with Edwards and Carlos Checa (Yamaha Tech 3) in close attendance. The surprise of today's session was Checa's team-mate James Ellison, who showed his prowess in the wet with the fourth fastest time as he continued to adapt to the YZR-M1 machine. Checa also challenged for the car today but, like Rossi, slid out of the session in turn ten, where Kenny Roberts Junior's (Team KR) efforts also ended as he too mounted a challenge for the fastest lap. The exciting curtain raiser to the season now gives way to three more days of official tests at Jerez, starting next Friday, before the season proper gets underway at the same circuit in three weeks' time.
COLIN EDWARDS (1st, 1'57.102, 15 laps)
"When I saw the weather before the session started I thought to myself that the car would end up in the hands of whoever was prepared to take the most risks. In the end the times came quite comfortably and we were able to keep chipping away throughout the session, just getting faster and faster, and to be honest I think I could have knocked even more time off with another couple of laps. This is a confidence boost for me but I have been saying since the last couple of tests that we are in good shape and this proves it. The team have been working so hard to come up with a bike that works out of the box and I believe we have that now. When you have a bike like that and it works in the rain too, then you know you have something special. It is nice to win the car but every rider out there wants to win races. I feel I am in a position to do that this season."
VALENTINO ROSSI (3rd, 1'59.360, 11 laps)
"After I saw that I could not win the car I thought the best thing was for Colin to win it, so I am really happy for him. We have been working hard together over the winter and he deserves this success. I was setting some fast lap times and my pace was good but I made a mistake in braking and unfortunately that was the end of my practice. Anyway the most important thing from this weekend is the way the bike performed in the dry on Friday and Saturday and also in the wet today. This gives us a lot of confidence for the season. Now we go to Jerez for another test and it will be interesting to see if we have solved the problem we had with the vibration. If we have done that, then we are ready for the first race."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"It is nice for the team to start the season by winning the first 'trophy' available. It was a pity there wasn't a closer battle at the end between Colin and Vale but the important thing is that the car ended up at Yamaha! We have had a good winter of testing and now we head to Jerez to make the final preparations before the first race."