James Toseland impresses in Mugello monsoon Tech 3 Yamaha rider James Toseland produced a masterful exhibition of wet weather riding this afternoon to set one of the fastest times in a rain-lashed second free practice session in Mugello. The ...
James Toseland impresses in Mugello monsoon
Tech 3 Yamaha rider James Toseland produced a masterful exhibition of wet weather riding this afternoon to set one of the fastest times in a rain-lashed second free practice session in Mugello. The British rider, who was using a new shorter wheelbase set-up for the first time to help improve rear grip, clocked a best time of 2.02.412 to finish just 0.085s behind MotoGP world championship leader and Mugello expert Valentino Rossi.
Toseland led the session for long periods as he took full advantage of a special wet tyre test he took part in at Michelin's Clermont-Ferrand headquarters last week, first moving to the top of the timesheets just before the halfway stage. Toseland was untouchable as conditions worsened with riders fighting to control big straight-line slides as they powered through large patches of standing water at 190mph.
At one stage, Toseland's advantage over the field was an impressive 2.585s, but as the appalling conditions improved towards the end, Toseland was dropped to fifth, and he finished 13th on the combined timesheets after the best times of the day were logged on a drying track this morning. American Edwards ended the session eighth, though he had been as high as third shortly after the halfway stage as he looks to build on his third place finish in Le Mans. Edwards, who has been on the front row of the grid four times in the opening five races, finished 19th overall after a problematic session this morning.
James Toseland 13th in combined standings - Time: 1.59.899;
"I'd done a few laps on a MotoGP bike back in 2004 when Ducati gave me a present for winning the World Superbike title, so at least I knew which way the track goes. I've really noticed at the last three races that have been brand new for me that it is a big disadvantage and it was nice to come somewhere a little bit familiar. On a new track I have always felt one step behind and that has been frustrating, but I've got a good set-up now. I've got the shorter wheelbase that the other Yamaha guys have been using and it has given me much more confidence with the rear, especially in the wet conditions. That extra weight on the rear makes a big difference and there's a lot more contact patch and that gives me the confidence to push. I was quite confident in the rain because I was pretty fast on Sunday morning in China, so we've obviously fallen on a good base setting for the rain. I'm really happy with the session and at the end I was a bit disappointed to drop out of the top three. But at one point I thought they would have to stop the session. There was a lot of standing water and one time I was going down the straight pinned in sixth gear and the bike just flicked sideways as I hit the crest.
"That's when conditions started getting borderline because there was so much water, no wet tyre in the world could disperse it all. Going to Michelin last week was good timing for wet conditions and they have done a great job."
Colin Edwards 19th in combined standings - Time: 2.03.586;
"The bike is working good and I spent this afternoon just trying to find a tyre that could last the distance if we get a wet race on Sunday. I kept the same front tyre for the whole session and it is brilliant, so Michelin have done a great job with that. The front is so good I could probably run it in the dry! It seems to work okay, but we are just looking for a bit more grip on the rear. I've got good grip but I just need it to be a bit more consistent. I'm sure I can find a bit more time from the set-up which we can improve, and the front doesn't feel perfect, especially when it starts to dry out a little bit.
"It's a shame it wasn't dry because we changed the set-up a bit in Clermont-Ferrand to help the bike change direction a bit faster for this track, but we haven't run it. It should be a good direction though if we get a dry track. I only did slick tyre testing last week for Michelin and at times conditions today were pretty bad. It grabs your attention when you are flat-out in sixth gear going over the hill at the end of the straight and the rear decides to step out."