The first Gauloises Yamaha Team test of 2005 was rounded off this afternoon with another set of good lap-times from factory team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards. The two team-mates and their crews were satisfied with the work completed over the three days and will now head home for a short rest before returning to Sepang in just over two weeks to continue the busy winter testing schedule.
World Champion Rossi and Yamaha new-recruit Edwards both completed long runs on their 2005-specification YZR-M1s this afternoon and also spent time testing different tyres for Michelin. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) set the unofficial fastest time for the third consecutive day with a lap of 2'00.54, followed by Honda rider and last year's championship runner-up Sete Gibernau with a time of 2'01.21. Rossi completed 45 laps and improved from yesterday with the third fastest lap of the day in a time of 2'01.36. He was followed by Honda team-mates Nicky Hayden (2'01.68) and Max Biaggi (2'01.91) with Edwards sixth fastest after 43 laps and a best time of 2'01.93.
Fortuna Yamaha riders Toni Elías and Rubén Xaus stuck to their testing programme and rode throughout the day without making too many changes to the set-up of their YZR M1 machines. An impressive performance from Elias who was diagnosed last night with a fracture to the little finger of his right hand - suffered on Sunday. Elías still managed an impressive 2'02.80 after 51 laps with his injured hand. His team-mate Xaus' best effort was a 2'04.00 after 52 laps.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 2'01.36
"I am very happy with this test, especially today. It's been a very important test with the new bike, and we've done some good work. We did quite a few laps together today and the bike felt really good, as did the tyres. We've improved from the race last year and from the last test in November, which is encouraging. We still have a lot of things to test with the new bike and a lot of work to do, but we are looking forward to another good test next month."
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 2'01'93
"Today was good. I did a long run of laps in the hottest part of the day, and the wind had changed so all the braking markers were different! It took me a couple of laps to readjust and I made a few mistakes, but once I got settled I kept a good pace and it all felt okay. I'm leaving here on a positive note and I'm pleased with what we've achieved. I can't wait to come back and hopefully carry on the good work!"
Jeremy Burgess, Valentino Rossi's Crew Chief
"The test has been a success and we're on schedule. The lap times have been better and we've improved the new bike; we're not unhappy in any regard. This is only the first test of the year, but Yamaha has done an excellent job and given us a good bike, so now it's up to us to get it ready for the start of the season."
Daniele Romagnoli, Colin Edwards' Crew Chief
"This has been a positive test all round. We've found a good feeling with the bike and the set-up is okay. The bike is turning well and we've improved stability over the course of the test. Colin did a long run this afternoon and his pace was fast, better than in the race last year. Of course we need to come back here for the next test and continue with everything we've been doing; we need to work on the settings for the chassis and suspension and continue making small improvements, but we've got a good base to start from."
Toni Elías (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3) - 2'02.80
"I'm really satisfied because things were tough after my crash on Sunday but in the end we were able to complete the testing programme we had planned. This afternoon I was even able to do my first tyre test with Michelin. We haven't made any major changes to the M1 although we have adjusted a few minor technical aspects. It doesn't feel quite so strange to be riding the M1 anymore although there are a few things that don't come naturally to me yet. But everything needs time and I'll adapt to the bike, eventually. The tests went much better here than in Valencia, where I rode the M1 for the first time. I have to get used to test sessions as long as this one and hopefully I can keep going like this. I've really enjoyed it and I'm leaving here a happy man!"
Rubén Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3) - 2'04.00
"Riding a bike which is so different to what I am used to has given me a few physical problems and I've suffered a few blisters as a result. Today we concentrated on continuing to get to know the M1 because yesterday we were lapping quickly all day and this is a difficult track. You can see clearly on the telemetry that I'm giving it plenty of gas. The bike is shorter and the weight transfer is very different to the Ducati. With me not being used to the M1 I worked harder than the bike over the first two days! The relationship with the team is good although I still have to get used to the way the Japanese work. Maybe it would have been easier to ride the bike for the first time in Europe, where I've got more references. Anyway, we had to do it here and I'm very happy with the way the first test has gone with Yamaha!"
Testing times - Day 3
- Loris Capirossi (Ducati): 2'00.54
- Sete Gibernau (Honda): 2'01.325
- Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team): 2'01.36
- Nicky Hayden (Honda): 2'01.68
- Max Biaggi (Honda): 2'01.91
- Alex Barros (Honda): 2'01.90
- Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team): 2'01.93
- Marco Melandri (Honda): 2'02.10
- Troy Bayliss (Honda): 2'02.69
- Toni Elías (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3); 2'02.80
- Makoto Tamada (Honda): 2'02.80
- Rubén Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Tech3): 2'04.00