Cool and wet weather greeted the Tech 3 Yamaha team for the start of the final round of the 2008 MotoGP world championship in Valencia today, with Colin Edwards and James Toseland ninth and 16th in tricky conditions. After torrential rain had ...
Cool and wet weather greeted the Tech 3 Yamaha team for the start of the final round of the 2008 MotoGP world championship in Valencia today, with Colin Edwards and James Toseland ninth and 16th in tricky conditions.
After torrential rain had battered the Valencia circuit this morning, conditions improved slightly for this afternoon's second session, though track conditions were still treacherously slippery as Edwards and Toseland began their quest to end 2008 on a high note.
Sixth in the rain-lashed first session, weight distribution changes to his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine helped Edwards climb as high as fourth under grey and gloomy but dry skies this afternoon. His best time of 1.47.314 eventually saw him finish ninth overall, just over a second outside of the top three as the Texan attempts to claim a top six world championship finish in Sunday's 30-lap race.
Today's inclement weather made it a challenging return to a circuit Toseland has vast experience on from his World Superbike days. The British rider gradually built up his confidence in the slippery conditions to post the 11th best time this morning. The 28-year-old was able to improve his lap time by 1.5s in the second session, though he had to settle for 16th overall having encountered some issues with rear grip. With forecasts predicting a repeat of the wet and cool conditions tomorrow, Toseland is confident planned overnight changes to improve rear feel will help his bid to claim a top ten overall championship placing. Colin Edwards
Colin Edwards - Position: 9th Time: 1'47.314Laps: 38
"We started with the rain setting I used to back at Donington Park and it felt fine, but it uses quite a lot of weight on the front. So we tweaked it to get some more weight on the rear tyre and I felt pretty good. I'm really happy with the soft rain tyre that Michelin has got. This track is pretty tough to judge in the rain but with the softer tyre I'm reasonably happy with my pace. I tried a couple of harder tyres and didn't have the same confidence, but the soft tyre we are not sure if it will have the endurance for 30-laps if it rains on Sunday. I'm going to try and make some more changes with the team overnight to get a bit more weight on the rear to see if we can just to get a bit more confidence. This track in the rain is really tough and conditions were quite difficult. It is a weird feeling because you can't really push like you can in wet conditions on other tracks. Normally you can get the front and the rear moving and you're feeling for grip, but here it is all or nothing. You can't spin the rear and feel what its doing on this track. You've either got grip or you haven't and you don't get a lot of warning when there is no grip as we saw with a few guys crashing out. There is still a lot to fight for on Sunday so I'm reasonably happy with progress today."
James Toseland - Position: 16thTime: 1'48.771Laps: 41
"It was a tough day and we've got to find something to improve because the forecasts are for more rain tomorrow, and I need to find a bit more from the bike. I just didn't have a very good feeling and I'm not happy, but I've got some ideas. In those greasy conditions I just haven't got enough feel from the rear and we need to find a lot more contact with the rear tyre. It feels a bit like riding around on eggshells at the moment. I'm not too far away but I've definitely got to make a step with the direction I think will work. I just need more weight on the rear to give me more confidence. This track is always tricky in the wet. When it is heavy rain, everybody has a respect for the place because they know how easy it is to get caught out. But when it is drying out, it doesn't give more grip, even though there is less water on the surface. People get sucked into thinking they can go faster and you don't get any warning before you get a big slide. This wasn't the start I wanted with tenth place in the championship to battle for on Sunday, but I'm confident we can make some big improvements."
-credit: tech 3