CRUCIAL PREPARATIONS BEGIN FOR CAMEL YAMAHA RIDERS IN QATAR Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards began key set-up work on their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines for the Grand Prix of Qatar in relatively mild temperatures of 27ÂºC...
CRUCIAL PREPARATIONS BEGIN FOR CAMEL YAMAHA RIDERS IN QATAR
Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards began key set-up work on their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines for the Grand Prix of Qatar in relatively mild temperatures of 27ºC today. After excelling at this track in pre-season tests the riders were keen to gauge the bike's performance against the other main contenders in the MotoGP class and after two intense free practice sessions they ended the day in optimistic moods about their chances for Saturday's race.
Following on from a disappointing first race of the season in Jerez two weeks ago, where both Rossi and Edwards suffered from vibration problems when cornering, the Italian and the American confirmed that the issue was not as severe at this circuit. Edwards spent much of the afternoon session at the top of the time sheets as he set an impressive and consistent pace before eventually dropping to fourth place -- two places ahead of Rossi.
The fastest lap of the day was recorded by Kenny Roberts Junior (Honda KR) in a time of 1'56.905, just ahead of Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri (both Honda).
COLIN EDWARDS (4th, 1'57.024, 28 laps)
"Everything is much better today and I've been able to do some good laps, so it's certainly a better start than we made in Jerez! Although it's much less, the vibration hasn't completely gone and we have a couple of other issues that we need to work on in order to be completely ready to push at the limit. I was able to set a decent pace and knock out some consistent laps with the current setting on the bike but we definitely still have a few things to work out. I've gone well at this track since the first day I came here and it really helps to have tested here recently, but we need to take this extra step before I can be truly confident about my chances on Saturday."
VALENTINO ROSSI (6th,1'57.141, 41 laps)
"We knew from the tests that the bike worked much better at this track and that was the case today. The vibration is not so much and only in a couple of corners, but we can control it. Now we can work more normally, concentrating on setting-up the bike in order to go faster, rather than thinking all the time about the vibration. We still have all day tomorrow to make some small improvements and I think we can be fast in the race on Saturday, as we were last year. There are some very fast riders at the front and we are all very close together. It seems the other guys were ready to push hard from the very beginning and they are full of motivation so it will be a hard battle. Jerez was also a hard battle for me but I hope Saturday will be a different kind!"
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"It is still quite early but at the moment it looks like we might have a normal weekend! Both riders have a good pace and between them they completed many laps today, gathering some important information to work on the setting of the bike tomorrow. We still have to improve though and it will be important to keep up with the steps made by our competitors. Things appear better than they were at Jerez but we'll wait until tomorrow to get a better idea."