Gauloises Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were happy to be out on a different track today, after three consecutive tests in Sepang since November. The riders and their team arrived in Phillip Island, Australia this week for their third three-day test of the year, coming direct from the Malaysian circuit where they finished testing last Sunday. With temperatures somewhat cooler and a sea breeze replacing the humidity of Sepang, both riders made good progress for the first day and were pleased with the performance of their new 2005-spec YZR-M1s at this track.
With a total of 15 other riders from Yamaha, Honda, Ducati and Suzuki sharing the circuit, six-times World Champion Rossi, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, finished the day with the second fastest unofficial lap time. The Italian, who clinched his 2004 championship title at this circuit last year, completed 82 laps of the 4.448 km circuit and set a best lap of 1'30.55. His team-mate Edwards rode 78 laps with a quickest time of 1'31.15, the eighth fastest time of the day. Rossi's time was bettered only by last year's Championship runner-up, Honda rider Sete Gibernau (1'30.29). Factory Honda rider Nicky Hayden and Ducati man Carlos Checa were third and fourth fastest, with times of 1'30.64 and 1'30.69 respectively.
Valentino Rossi (1'30.55, 82 laps)
"Today was not so bad. We arrived and straight away found some improvements compared to the bike we had during the October race. We've improved the stability and the engine is a little bit faster. We still have work to do on the settings to find a better front-end feeling, so we'll continue to look for this over the next two days of this test and see if we can make further improvements. We also tested some Michelin tyres today and we're confident that the bike is getting better. We're pleased with the work we've done this first day."
Colin Edwards (1'31.15, 78 laps)
"The bike felt good today. We've been playing around and experimenting with some settings, but the best one is probably the one we've already got. We weren't really trying too much for fast lap times today, but I'm happy enough with my time. We carried on testing tyres and we've collected some good data to work with. It's so good to be at a different track; it's like a breath of fresh air!"
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director
"We've finally changed track and this is the first time we've been somewhere other than Sepang with the new bike. We've started well with both riders and done some good work for the first day. This afternoon it started to get a little bit windy, but the conditions have been mostly okay. It seems like we've got a good package and we hope to make some more progress over the next two days."
Unofficial Lap Times:
- 1. Sete Gibernau (Honda) - 1'30.29
- 2. VALENTINO ROSSI (YAMAHA) - 1'30.55
- 3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) - 1'30.64
- 4. Carlos Checa (Ducati) - 1'30.69
- 9. COLIN EDWARDS (YAMAHA) - 1'31.15