The Gauloises Yamaha Team closed another stage in its demanding winter test program today in Phillip Island, Australia, with Valentino Rossi taking the unofficial fastest lap time of the three days. In slightly cooler conditions than the previous two days, the Italian rider recorded a best time of 1'29.68, faster than his own circuit best time of 1'30.068 set during the 2003 Phillip Island round. Rossi's new team-mate Colin Edwards also improved on his previous two days with an unofficial 1'30.23, quicker than his 2004 Australian Grand Prix official qualifying time of 1'30.625.
All riders present from the Yamaha, Honda, Ducati and Suzuki MotoGP teams, except Sete Gibernau, took advantage of the last opportunity to test at the Australian circuit before they will race there in October. Nearly all lapped under Loris Capirossi's circuit lap record of 1'31.102, set last year.
Fortuna Yamaha rider Rubén Xaus completed 91 laps aboard his YZR M1; the Spanish rider, still suffering slightly from the effects of injury, was satisfied with the progress he has made. His team-mate Toni Elías was exhausted at the end of another day of hard work. The Spanish youngster tested different set-up configurations and tyre combinations. Elías also leaves the test in satisfied mood, after completing an intense program alongside the team's engineers and mechanics.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'29.68
"This morning we tried some different settings from yesterday and they worked better. We found more agility in the bike. Then we continued testing tyres for Michelin, which were good. The test has been quite positive and we have collected some useful information which we'll continue to work with when we return here soon."
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'30.23
"Today was really encouraging, I got on with some really good tyres and played around a bit and the result and time was better. I didn't do so many laps today but the ones I did were good. We checked out all the settings and we feel like we've made some progress. I'm heading back to the States now for a bit of family time before we come back here in a couple of weeks. I'm really excited about the news that we're going to race in Turkey, Rio was always a cool place but it wasn't one of my favourite tracks. It's always fun to go to new tracks, and now we've got three new ones in a year, although Laguna isn't so new for me."
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director
"We finished the test at a good level, both riders have improved since the first day, and we've got some good information from the areas we needed to work in. It's been a positive test for the riders and the bike. We look forward to coming back very soon to continue this development."
Rubén Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'31.98
"We haven't improved the lap time from yesterday but that's not the main objective at the moment. We're still getting to know the bike and I think it's important not to rush that. It was a day of very hard work but it served to keep us on a progressive upward curve. I think we deserve a few days off but, honestly, I already want to get back on the bike!"
Toni Elías (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'32.96
"We've had six days of tests more or less one after the other now and that's starting to take its toll on every level. I've got to improve a lot because I'm still a long way off the times being set by the top riders, but I think that's normal given the circumstances and we just have to keep working. Everybody is giving me constant support and that is important for me to keep making progress. We've worked really well over the last few days and I'm satisfied even though I'm looking forward to a rest before coming back here to Australia. The whole team's doing a great job."
The Yamaha returns to the Phillip Island circuit for a three-day test on 8 March.
Unofficial times - day 3;
- 1. Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'29.68
- 2. Nicky Hayden (Honda) - 1'29.78
- 3. Carlos Checa (Ducati) - 1'29.86
- 4. Max Biaggi (Honda) - 1.29.88
- 5. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) - 1'30.18
- 6. Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'30.23
- 7. Alex Barros (Honda) - 1'30.55
- 8. John Hopkins (Suzuki) - 1'30.86
- 9. Troy Bayliss (Honda) - 1'30.90
- 10. Marco Melandri (Honda) - 1'30.90
- 11. Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) - 1'31.21
- 12. Ruben Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'31.98
- 13. Toni Elias (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'32.96