Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards enjoyed contrasting fortunes on the second day of the MotoGP Official Tests at the Catalunya circuit in Spain today. Both riders were well inside the circuit record of 1'44.641 but, on another day of bright sunshine and warm spring temperatures, the reigning World Champion Rossi continued to encounter difficulties with the set-up of his 2005 version YZR-M1 machine and ended the day with the ninth fastest time.
However, his team-mate Edwards was Yamaha's leading challenger, lapping sixth quickest and making his way through a mountain of tyre testing work alongside Michelin's engineers. Edwards has adapted swiftly to the M1 after switching from Honda at the end of last season and today lapped 2.5 seconds quicker than he had done on the RC211V machine during the race at this circuit in the Catalunya Grand Prix last June.
The quickest lap of the day was set by yesterday's top man Max Biaggi (Honda), who again stunned his rivals with a late charge just minutes from the end of the marathon eight-hour session. The Italian's lap of 1'42.260 was some three tenths quicker than the pole position record at this circuit, set by Sete Gibernau (Honda) with a time of 1'42.596 last season.
Gibernau and his team-mate Marco Melandri had enjoyed long spells at the top of the time sheets throughout most of the day. However, as the sun set and the track cooled, Biaggi and Alex Barros both mounted late rallies which would see them take the top two places and relegate Gibernau and Melandri to third and fourth respectively. Nicky Hayden completed the top five.
Fortuna Yamaha riders Toni Elías and Rubén Xaus finished the day with the 15th and 18th fastest times respectively. Elías improved his best time from yesterday although his objective is not simply on setting a quick time. The Catalan rider tested several different Michelin tyres which allowed him to improve his overall feeling with the YZR M1. His team-mate Xaus crashed at the end of the day and ended the test earlier than planned. Despite that the rider was satisfied with the work done by the team over the course of the day.
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'43.129
"To be honest I'm really happy with today. As far as the bike set-up is concerned, it's barely been touched since the Sepang and Phillip Island tests. We tried a couple of things out but more or less ended up going back to where we started, and I feel comfortable with that. It's a good sign because it means we've got a good base setting for the bike which should work at most of the circuits. We'll make some small changes tomorrow to see if we can refine things but we won't be straying too far from what we have. This morning I tested a whole bunch of front tyres and in the afternoon we moved on to the rears, so it was a solid day's work for me."
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'43.291
"We've had a few problems and worked on the setting to try and get a better feeling but we didn't manage to fix things today. We honestly don't know why we are not able to work at 100%. We've tried a few different ways but we've made some mistakes. Tomorrow I'll try to win the car but today we weren't fast even on qualifying tyres. We've got a lot of work to do. Hopefully the weather stays nice so that we can continue working and prepare for the next test at Jerez."
Jeremy Burgess, Rossi's chief engineer
"Racing wouldn't be any fun if there wasn't some hard work involved. I suppose we were too good last year so we've decided to make things interesting by creating a few problems for ourselves! We'll keep working tomorrow and see what we can come up with - there is still a long way to go before the start of the season."
Toni Elías (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'44.343
"It was a positive day. We tested a few technical aspects and the last 50 minutes were very productive. I lapped in the 44s and we improved from yesterday. We have to continue working in the same way because I am the youngest rider in the class and I've still got a lot to learn."
Rubén Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'44.928
"I was testing some Michelin tyres which I really liked and then suddenly I crashed. I need to learn to control myself more, my impulsive nature has meant I was unable to finish the test day as was scheduled. I really like the bike, the tyres too, the team is great and we're not too far off. Now I just need to work on myself and learn a bit more patience."
Times - day 2:
- 1. Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda Team) - 1'42.260
- 2. Alex Barros (Camel Honda) - 1'42.506
- 3. Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda) - 1'42.796
- 4. Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda) - 1'42.926
- 5. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team) - 1'42.953
- 6. COLIN EDWARDS (GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM) - 1'43.129
- 7. Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda) - 1'43.207
- 8. John Hopkins (Team Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'43.250
- 9. VALENTINO ROSSI (GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM) - 1'43.291
- 10. Kenny Roberts (Team Suzuki MotoGP) - 1'43.563