ROSSI CONTINUES POSITIVE PROGRESS AT CATALUNYA Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi followed on from the joy of home victory at Mugello two weeks ago with an encouraging start to proceedings at round seven of the MotoGP World Championship ...
ROSSI CONTINUES POSITIVE PROGRESS AT CATALUNYA
Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi followed on from the joy of home victory at Mugello two weeks ago with an encouraging start to proceedings at round seven of the MotoGP World Championship in Barcelona. The Italian set the quickest time on the first day of free practice, overcoming delicately damp conditions in the afternoon to dislodge Kenny Roberts (Team KR) from the top of the time sheets after the American had set the pace in a stifling hot and humid morning session, run on a completely dry track.
The threat of rain finally materialised in the shape of a brief lunchtime thunderstorm, which affected conditions for the afternoon and meant that Rossi was one of only a handful of riders to improve their overall times. Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards was unable to do so but he made swift progress as he worked with the updated version of the 2006 YZR-M1 chassis in both his machines for the first time. Encouraging test results with the new frame in tests at Mugello were confirmed in the first session, when he clocked the second fastest lap behind Roberts, and his effort was enough to leave him fourth fastest on the combined practice time sheets.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st -- 1'42.837; 33 laps)
"I'm very pleased because we have done a lot of hard work today and the lap times are good. Earlier in the season we were losing time in practice trying to solve the vibration problems but now we are able to work in a normal way thanks to the new chassis. It means we can use every minute of the session to work on the tyres and the set-up for the race. Really this bike is only four hours old so for it to already be working so well is a big encouragement and a good sign for the future. I love this circuit and it is great fun to ride the M1 here but we still have some work to do tomorrow, especially on finding some more front grip. There are two or three riders looking very strong at this track and it looks like it will be another great battle on Sunday."
COLIN EDWARDS (4th -- 1'43.197; 43 laps)
"That wasn't so bad. After a lot of hard work over the past few races we've finally been able to find a direction to work in and stick with so we're making progress and not wasting any time. During the pre-season tests here we were quick in the wet but not so much in the dry, so it's encouraging to see that we are making progress so quickly with the new frame. I've basically got the same bike and settings as Valentino, which worked for us in Mugello and seem to be working here. We made some real progress at the Mugello test and I've been really looking forward to coming here and making it count. No doubt the other riders will get faster tomorrow if the rain stays away but we have a good margin for improvement at such an early stage of development so if we can keep working hard and moving forward then we have a chance."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"We have come here this weekend with a very different bike to what we had in the official tests back in March but things have been quite good from the start. We still have some work to do and some solutions to find, especially with Colin, because the bike is at an early stage and we still have to fully understand the best way with the setting. So far the situation is good and, as Valentino says, it is good for us to be able to work in a normal way from the first session, without wasting time trying to eliminate the vibrations. We're expecting it to rain tomorrow but we're happy with the work we got through today and now we'll just wait and see what happens."