Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi and his new Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards began their 2005 MotoGP campaign today with day one of a three-day test in Sepang, Malaysia. Today the two riders climbed on board their new 2005 specification YZR-M1s for the first time this year, having enjoyed a seven-week winter holiday since the last test, held in November.
Sharing the track with the Fortuna Yamaha Tech3 team as well as teams from Honda, Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki, the Gauloises Yamaha Team quickly got back into the swing of things and spent the day working on setting-up the new bikes. Rossi completed a total of 47 laps and recorded a fastest time of 2'02.30, the second quickest lap of the day behind Ducati man Loris Capirossi (2'02.18). Rossi's Texan team-mate Edwards, who has already tested twice with the team despite not becoming an official Yamaha rider until 1st January this year, completed 55 laps with a best time of 2'03.08, fifth fastest of the 17 MotoGP riders testing in Sepang.
Fortuna Yamaha Tech3 riders Toni Elías and Rubén Xaus concluded their first day of testing, focusing their efforts on learning more about their YZR-M1 and the team in general.
Spanish rookie Elías completed 56 laps throughout the course of the day with a 2'05.20. However his afternoon ended early after a low-speed crash in which he dislocated the little finger on his right hand.
Fellow Spaniard Xaus rode the Yamaha M1 for the first time after five years with his previous factory and completed 63 laps of the Sepang circuit with the sole intention of learning his new machine. The Spaniard lapped consistently throughout the first day before recording a 2'04.90.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 2nd, 2'02.30
Today was not too bad, for the first day back! We spent the day working on settings, and for sure we know that this new bike is a good bike. There is some improvement to the engine and now the aim is to make some more changes and to try to get the same feeling as we had with last year's bike, so I can ride it in the same way. This bike is almost completely new, plus I haven't ridden for two months, so there is a lot of work to do and we will continue tomorrow.
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 5th, 2'03.08
I'm pretty happy after this first day and it's awesome to be back. We spent all day changing settings and just working on various small things to try to improve the set-up. The Japanese need quite a lot of information to build their database, so we spent some time doing things for them, too. We didn't test any tyres, as we wanted to just concentrate on set-up, but tomorrow we might spend some more time with different Michelin tyres. We've got a new engine, a new chassis and there's a lot to work on; some areas have improved for me and some haven't, but we just need to find the balance and we'll be okay.
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director
In November we tested a prototype bike and we've come here today with the final 2005 machine. The work we did today was just normal work to fine-tune the settings. We've got 18 full days of testing planned before the start of the season, so we have plenty of time to work on all the issues and hopefully find a good solution for any difficulties. Today we have only just started.
Toni Elias (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3) - 14th, 2'05.20
It was a basic mistake, I went into the corner in a lower gear than I should have and when I opened the throttle the bike threw me to the ground. Even though it wasn't fast, it was a really hard fall. It's all part of the learning process. Up to that point I'd been going well, dropping my times and riding really focused. I didn't touch the set-up of the bike at all because my objective at the moment is to run up the kilometers and basically adapt to the new bike. In any case the important thing is that I'm here, I've been able to ride the M1 after two and a half months of rest and I've had the chance to continue the learning process. Basically I'm happy.
Ruben Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3) - 13th, 2'04.90
These tests will allow me to learn and adapt to the new team and the new bike. I'm getting on really well with all the members of the team although I have to speak French with the mechanics and English with the engineers. I've had a really good feeling with the bike, I like it. I've still got a few habits after five years riding a Ducati because I only used to use the clutch to set off and then I'd forget about it. With the Yamaha it's obviously very different. I'm still not using the engine as I should and the riding position is also very different - more on the front-end - so all your references change. In general I'm very happy; basically I spent all day trying to get a feel for the M1 without worrying about lap times. In the morning I was a bit tense and I think I'll be much more relaxed when I arrive at the circuit tomorrow.
Testing times - day one
- Loris Capirossi (Ducati): 2'02.18
- Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team): 2'02.30
- Alex Barros (Honda): 2'02.71
- Kenny Roberts (Suzuki): 2'03.00
- Colin Edwards (Gauloise Yamaha Team): 2'03.08
- Nicky Hayden (Honda): 2'03.17
- Max Biaggi (Honda): 2'03.35
- Sete Gibernau (Honda): 2'03.40
- Marco Melandri (Honda): 2'03.50
- Carlos Checa (Ducati): 2'03.57
- Makoto Tamada (Honda): 2'03.63
- Troy Bayliss (Honda): 2'04.80
- Ruben Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3): 2'04.90
- Toni Elías (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3): 2'05.20