Perfect Start For Fiat Yamaha Team At First 800cc Grand Prix In Qatar Fiat Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards got the first ever Grand Prix of the new 800cc era off to a flying start in Qatar today, both lapping comfortably...
Perfect Start For Fiat Yamaha Team At First 800cc Grand Prix In Qatar
Fiat Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards got the first ever Grand Prix of the new 800cc era off to a flying start in Qatar today, both lapping comfortably under the 990cc circuit record and finishing the day in first and second places after two free practice sessions. Following a long winter of testing it was a relief for the team to finally get the season underway, with this the first time the championship has begun outside Europe since Rossi's historic first win with Yamaha in South Africa in 2004.
After an excellent performance at the test here just a few weeks ago, Rossi and Edwards were both confident of a strong start today and there were no surprises from their 800cc M1s, running in their new Fiat Yamaha Team livery for the first time. Edwards finished the morning session on top with his team-mate close behind in third whilst Rossi dominated the second free practice this afternoon, sitting at the top of the time sheets for the majority of the hour-long session. Edwards, despite not bettering his time from this morning, was second, just over three-tenths of a second behind his Italian team-mate.
Today was also the first day of the new MotoGP tyre regulations, which stipulate a maximum of 31 tyres (14 fronts and 17 rears) per rider during a Grand Prix weekend. This has forced the teams to alter the way they work throughout the practice sessions but Rossi especially is confident that these new rules will help rather than hinder the riders, bringing increased clarity on set-up decisions and making it easier to plan the weekend's work.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1st - Time: 1'56.464
"It was a very good beginning for all of the team; it's a new season and we have a new sponsor and livery so it's good to start with both Colin and I at the top! We were in a good situation at the test here also but really the most important test was Jerez, because there we understood a lot more about our bike and we made some important changes. It seems here that the setting is very good and we were fast from the start this morning. I'm very happy with my Yamaha today, I can ride it well, I have a good rhythm and it's great fun to ride here in Qatar! For me, the new tyre rule is very good. Like this you know just what you have from the start, it's much more logical and there is less confusion for everyone. It means we can make decisions more quickly and I think, especially with a delicate bike like ours, that it's going to be helpful to have such a clear situation with tyres from the start of every weekend. Now let's see how we get on tomorrow and try to keep this rhythm going throughout the weekend."
Colin Edwards - Position: 2nd - Time: 1'56.665
"Today's gone pretty good, I think we can say we've made a strong start to the weekend. After finding a great setting here at the test we made a few more changes in Jerez and made the bike even better. We started off today with the bike set-up pretty similar to Jerez, with just a few small changes, and it seemed to work well from the off. We had a little bit of an issue this morning with a tyre, but we compared notes with Valentino afterwards and sorted that out pretty quickly between us. It's the first day of the new tyre rules and it's a little bit scary to know that there's no longer an inexhaustible supply, but we just have to slightly adapt the way we work to accommodate it and I think it will work well in the long run. Here it could be more of an issue because the conditions can be quite changeable from day to day, but we'll keep our fingers crossed that we stay in the 'range' and save one of each of our best tyres for race day."
Davide Bribio - Team Director
"This is a very good start to the season because both riders are feeling comfortable and finding it easy to keep a good pace. Now the most important matter is to make a good tyre choice, especially considering the new rules. It's definitely helped that we've tested here not long ago but we also made a lot of progress in Jerez and this has showed today. It's only Thursday of course and the race is a different matter, but it's nice for the team to be in first and second and we couldn't have hoped for a better start to the weekend."