- Round: 5 - Mugello MotoGP
- Circuit: Mugello
- Temp: 30ºC
- Weather: Sunshine
- Round: 5 - Mugello MotoGP
- Circuit Length: 5245
- Lap Record: 1' 51.133 (Sete Gibernau, 2004)
- Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 49.553 (Sete Gibernau, 2004)
The Gauloises Yamaha Team's challenge for success at the Italian Grand Prix began with a day of hard work at Mugello today as riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards completed valuable set-up work with their YZR-M1 machines. Following on from successful tests with the base setting of the machines at Le Mans after the last round, the riders quickly found their feet today and began making minor refinements to suit the fast and flowing Mugello circuit.
After making a positive start to the morning free practice, when they set the first and sixth fastest times respectively, Rossi and Edwards were hindered by the increasing track temperatures in the scorching afternoon sunshine and were unable to improve their times in the second free practice - dropping to third and ninth overall as they encountered minor rear traction problems. However, both riders are confident of making the necessary improvements tomorrow.
Sete Gibernau (Honda) and Max Biaggi (Honda) were the only riders capable of bettering Rossi's morning time, with Gibernau clocking the fastest effort of the day with a lap of 1'50.662.
For David Checa, brother of fourth fastest man Carlos Checa (Ducati), it was a positive debut ride with the Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1. The young Spaniard enjoyed the speed and handling of the championship winning machine, despite a late afternoon fall.
Davide Checa replaces the injured Toni Elías, who is still recovering from an injury sustained during a day of tests following the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. Elías underwent an operation in Barcelona after fracturing the radius and scaphoid of his left wrist and rupturing the ligaments that link the triquetral bone and the radius. The rider also fractured the outside of his left fibula and his leg was put in a cast.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) 3rd, 1'50.778;
"The bike was good in the morning which makes me very happy because it seems we now have a base setting that works at every track. The conditions were perfect for our sport - no wind, some sunshine but not too hot. In the afternoon it was much warmer and we had some problems because the tyre was moving around a lot more. Anyway, I'm very happy to be third fastest overall today and it's a good start to the weekend for us. I hope the weather stays like this because the rain has followed us around for the first part of the season. There are a lot of people here already and we want to put on a good show for them!"
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) 9th, 1'51.320;
"We picked up where we left off at Le Mans and tried a few different things with the setting of the bike. We've decided to go down a particular avenue, which we still believe is the right way, but we've just got to stick at it to make sure it works. At the moment I'm getting into the corners okay but I'm having a bit of difficulty getting out again, which is crucial at this track - particularly the last corner coming onto the straight. We're trying to understand a lot of things but we're getting there and I'm confident we can take the steps we need tomorrow. I'm lapping in mid 1'51s on the current setting but I reckon a good race pace is going to be in the 1'50s, so we need to take at least half a second off - more would be nice!"
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director;
"This morning was not so bad for both riders and it shows that we have definitely made steps forward with the base setting of the bike coming from Le Mans, which means the engineers and the team crews have been doing a great job. Unfortunately in the afternoon we had some traction problems because of the high temperatures but that is to be expected. It is only Friday and it is the day for collecting information, checking the performance of the tyres and making some decisions to refine the setting of the bike for the race. If it stays this hot for the whole weekend it will make it a very demanding race for the riders and I think their physical condition will prove to be very important."
"This has been the best Friday of the season. But still just a free practice Friday. We scored good fast laps, and this is positive, but race pace and qualifying practice requires more effort. Anyhow it's nice to make a step forward. Part of this improvement is surely due to a new fork we tried in Le Mans. Still we must improve braking and cornering. I'm very happy with the atmosphere in the pit and with the way we are working. My team and I are really trying our best and I hope it will be all right. I'm serene: we started with a good step. We really needed it."
"Not 100% comfortable yet. This track is really special but it takes some time to get into a grove. It's so up and down with quite a few blind crests and corners you really have to be so confident here. I just need to sort out a few reference points and I think the lap time will come. We've got a little work to do with the suspension but we're not too far away. We're struggling with a bit of grip as the track warmed up this afternoon but that is the same for everyone."
- 1. S. Gibernau - 1' 50.662
- 2. M. Biaggi - 1' 50.680
- 3. V. Rossi - 1' 50.778
- 4. C. Checa - 1' 50.818
- 5. L. Capirossi - 1' 50.912
- 6. A. Barros - 1' 50.966
- 7. N. Hayden - 1' 51.158
- 8. M. Melandri - 1' 51.234
- 9. C. Edwards - 1' 51.320
- 10. S. Nakano - 1' 51.494
- 11. M. Tamada - 1' 51.673
- 12. K. Roberts - 1' 52.070
- 13. J. Hopkins - 1' 52.190
- 14. T. Bayliss - 1' 52.345
- 15. A. Hofman - 1' 52.357
- 16. R. Xaus - 1' 52.750
- 17. D. Checa - 1' 53.769