Rossi makes tentative start to title quest in Valencia

28.10.2006: Rossi makes tentative start to title quest in Valencia

Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi today began preparations for the race that will decide the destiny of the MotoGP World Championship title as the first free practice sessions took place at Valencia. Fans have already begun to stream into the Ricardo Tormo circuit to witness the first exchanges of what promises to be another historic chapter in this sport's great history, with bright sunshine and warm autumn temperatures of 25șC welcoming them to the eastern coast of Spain for the final round of the season.

In the morning session Rossi and his Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards helped raise the heat with a series of quick laps that left the Italian on top of the time sheets, with the American sixth fastest, over lunch. However, the pace picked up considerably in the afternoon as a number of riders tested out their qualifying rubber ahead of tomorrow afternoon's grid decider and the pair slipped down the order, with Rossi ending the day seventh fastest overall and Edwards, who was unable to improve on his best lap from the morning, down in eleventh.

Loris Capirossi (Ducati) clocked the fastest time of the day with a lap of 1'32.220, ahead of Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) and Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki). Rossi and Edwards will look to close the gap as they work on further setting refinements to their YZR-M1 machines in the final free practice session tomorrow morning, before official qualifying gets underway at 2pm local time.

Valentino Rossi (7th - 1'33.274; 51 laps)

"We found a good setting this morning and we were quite fast from the start, but this afternoon some of the others made big improvements and caught up with us! This afternoon we tried a lot of different things and quite a few tyres, trying to find the best possible package for tomorrow and Sunday. Tyres are fundamental here and its very hard on the left side of the tyre especially. This track isn't so easy and it takes time to find the right setting, but the feeling from the bike is good and in general our race pace is quite fast so we're not really worried. We've got one or two things to improve, especially in a couple of the hard braking areas, but I think if we can make just a couple of improvements then we will be able to fight at the top. For now we will stay calm and focused and tomorrow things will be clearer."

Colin Edwards (11th - 1'33.545; 39 laps)

"It's okay, everything is under control! Our new breakthrough, 'miracle' setting that we found in Motegi needed a few tweaks before it was perfect for Estoril and here it's the same story. In fact we need to make a few small changes back towards the Motegi setting in order to have it perfect for this track. Everything we're learning and understanding here, especially with the setting, is going to be really valuable next year, even with the new bike, so that's quite exciting. We understand why it was perfect in Portugal and why we've got some problems here, so there's no need to panic. We'll make some changes tonight and I'm confident that we'll be back up there tomorrow."

Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director

"With Valentino we worked a lot today on many different things. We're still trying to fine tune the setting and select the right tyres but anyway the situation is not so bad. Colin this morning was quite fast but now we need to look at what happened this afternoon because he couldn't improve on that time. We've got some work to get through tonight to see how we can improve with him but it seems his team understands what they need to do and I am sure they will be able to bring everything together for tomorrow. It's not a perfect start but we're relaxed, it's only Friday and we have all of Saturday to improve."

 

Hard work ahead for Tech3 Yamaha at Valencia

The opening day of practice proved to be a difficult one for the Tech 3 Yamaha Team as riders Carlos Checa and James Ellison struggled to find a suitable setup in preparation for tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions in preparations for Sunday's Grand Prix de Valencia where over 125,000 spectators are expected to witness one of the great races of the modern MotoGP era as both riders prepare for their last race in the yellow and black Tech 3 Yamaha colours.

Carlos along with fellow Yamaha rider Colin Edwards were the only two riders not to improve their morning time later in the day as higher temperatures made tyre selection challenging.

While Carlos struggled to be in the somewhat unfamiliar position of 15th fastest, James took nearly two seconds off his time from the opening session to be one position behind his team mate with both riders confident that some hard work overnight can improve their chances for Sunday's race.

Carlos Checa (15th, 1'33.860; 53 laps)

"It hasn't been a frustrating day but it has been very hard work. This afternoon we couldn't find the right combination with grip and we also had a lot of chattering. We have been using one bike then the other, testing different rear tyres but we haven't found good performance especially with the side grip. Sometimes it hasn't been so bad but then we get some big chatter in one bike very badly but in my other bike we have a setting to try and stop the chatter.

Today is one of those days where you hit the same wall and can't jump over it. We need to change something else to try and stop this chatter and improve the side grip but honestly at the moment I can't find that next step that we need to move forward. But like this team has been doing all year we have some ideas to try tomorrow and Dunlop have some other combinations with rear tyre that we will try tomorrow to see if this can give us something better.

We also tried a different front rim size to try and eliminate our problems but the tyre worked quite different this afternoon. I don't know if it was the rim or the fact that the track had a lot higher temperature but I'm sure we will find something tomorrow as we have already been working on some ideas.

Although many others tried qualifying tyres it didn't make sense for us to use one. We have to improve the pace to be more consistent and faster with the race tyre. It is my last race with this team and I am determined to give a good result for the team as they have been working very hard all year to improve the situation we are in. I thi k we all have done a very good job to get the Dunlop tyres to where we are now but of course not every day is going to be perfect so we will work on making these improvements for tomorrow.

James Ellison (16th1'34.323; 51 laps)

"We had a slow start this morning as we had a lot of changes with setup to find a balance with the bike and tried a few new tyres to find a direction for this afternoon which obviously we did as straight out of the box we were a lot better than we were this morning but, to be honest it seems all the Dunlop runners are struggling to find the right combination of tyres. The ingredients are there in each tyre. A certain area of one is good and then there are the same things in other tyres that are goods so it's a case of all getting together and finding the one that is going to work this weekend because the times are so close. I am very happy to be right with Carlos. It's probably the closest since Brno so in that respect I'm happy but we still have along way to go. I'm sure Carlos isn't too happy so the only way is moving forward. The times are so close so its not like taking big chunks out of a lap time we're looking for its just fine-tuning with the tyres and the balance of the bike.

Herve Poncharal - Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director

This is an important weekend for us of course as it is the end of the season but also the last Grand Prix with Carlos which is something very special because we have had a really good year together and I think we have done a great job thanks to him. The improvement of the Dunlop tyres owes him a lot and most of it is because of his dedication and hard work.

This morning was good as we started really strong and looked like we could be doing another Phillip Island or Estoril but I'm not in a position at the moment to explain this afternoon. Maybe it was because of the unexpected heat combined with the track. The only two guys that didn't improve were Carlos and (Colin Edwards) but still Carlos didn't want to use the qualifying tyre. We know that the result of the second practice session doesn't reflect 100% of the situation because we are only 0.8 to the best time on race tyres. It is still a long way behind but not as bad as we've seen on the screen.

I am quite confident that we can give Carlos the best package possible to end this adventure with us and I think he is very motivated to give a good gift to the team. We are not too far away and we are going to push very hard tomorrow so we are quite confident. James has been riding well to improve his time so I think we are in a pretty good shape to move up the sheets tomorrow.

Circuit Length: 4005
Temp: 25
Weather: Dry

 

 

2006 MotoGP Valencia 27/10/2006 Free Practice

1 Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 1'32.220

2 Randy De Puniet Kawasaki FRA 1'32.408

3 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 1'32.786

4 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 1'33.019

5 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1'33.080

6 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1'33.254

7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1'33.274

8 John Hopkins Suzuki USA 1'33.369

9 Shinya Nakano Kawasaki JPN 1'33.394

10 Troy Bayliss Ducati AUS 1'33.433

11 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1'33.556

12 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1'33.622

13 Makato Tamada Honda JPN 1'33.689

14 Kenny Roberts Team Robert KR USA 1'33.795

15 Toni Elias Honda ESP 1'33.954

16 Carlos Checa Yamaha ESP 1'33.967

17 James Ellison Yamaha GBR 1'34.323

 

- Yamaha Racing Communications, Amsterdam -

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28.10.2006 / MaP

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