Gauloises Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards finished the first day of the Jerez IRTA Tests with the third and tenth fastest times, and both riders were happy with the work they completed over the eight hours of track time. With sunny conditions prevailing throughout most of the day, the pair were able to continue with the work they had done during the three-day test in Catalunya last week. Rossi completed 67 laps and Edwards 87, both concentrating mainly on Michelin tyre testing, and they finally stopped an hour early with two days of the test still ahead.
Of the 22 MotoGP riders testing, 15 lapped faster than the existing lap record of 1'42.788, which was set by Rossi during the Spanish Grand Prix in 2003. The quickest lap of the day was from Suzuki rider John Hopkins, who posted a time of 1'40.893, just a fraction shy of Rossi's pole position from last year's race. Hopkins was followed by Nicky Hayden (Honda, 1'41.045), while Rossi spent part of the day at the top of the time sheets before finishing third fastest with a best lap of 1'41.273. He was followed by Spanish Honda rider Sete Gibernau, fourth fastest with a time of 1'41.397. New Yamaha recruit Edwards was tenth fastest with a time of 1'42.018.
Fortuna Yamaha Team riders Toni Elias and Ruben Xaus also completed the first day of the Jerez IRTA test with a smile after making consistent progress. Both riders completed many laps, with Elias clocking up 90 laps and Xaus 110, and are confident that the test will continue in such a positive note for the remaining two days.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'41.273
"I am happy with today because the bike worked well. It was the first time for us with the new bike at this circuit and I had a good feeling from the start. We continued working on settings; we found a good base setting in Barcelona, which we've continued with here. We've tested some good tyres from Michelin today, with improved traction. I think it will be possible to try to fix some other small problems tomorrow and make more progress, but we're already in a good situation. It might rain tomorrow but this wouldn't be a bad thing anyway, it's important to try the bike in the rain at some point!"
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 1'42.018
"We spent all day focusing on testing tyres and we've made some good decisions to help us to move forwards in our preparation. We've been trying a new tyre, but we haven't been able to find the right way forward with it and for now we've decided to discount it and go back to what we know works for us. I'm pleased as it's good to make this decision and now we can continue working forwards. We'll now concentrate throughout the next couple of days on improving setting and more tyre testing for Michelin. I feel quite good and I think we can make some final improvements here before we come back in two weeks for the first race!"
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director
"After Barcelona we looked forward to seeing how the bike goes at another new circuit, and it seems to go quite well. Today both crews and the riders have made a good job and we have cleared some doubts that we had. Overall today has been a step forward for everyone. Now we'll continue to test more options over the next two days and hopefully finalise our preparation for the coming season."
Toni Elias (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'42.270
"I am very happy with the progress we made today. We did a great job. I am more and more confident on the bike and we continually improved lap after lap. We need to keep working in this way as we still have a lot to do, but if we do I am confident that the results will come sooner rather than later."
Ruben Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 1'43.467
"I have improved more today than in any other test so far this year. I was consistent and felt that I'm starting to really understand the M1. I've just got to keep approaching it like this, step by step. We tried a New Michelin tyre, which I was very happy with, and a new short exhaust that lets me hear the engine better. Bring on tomorrow."
Official times - day 1:
- 1. John Hopkins (Team Suzuki MotoGP) 1'40.893
- 2. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team) 1'41.045
- 3. VALENTINO ROSSI (GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM) 1'41.273
- 4. Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda) 1'41.397
- 5. Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda) 1'41.626
- 6. Alex Barros (Camel Honda) 1'41.637
- 7. Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda) 1'41.668
- 8. Alex Hofmann (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1'41.702
- 9. Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1'41.775
- 10. COLIN EDWARDS (GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM) 1'42.018
- 13. TONI ELIAS (FORTUNA YAMAHA TEAM) 1'42.270
- 16. RUBEN XAUS (FORTUNA YAMAHA TEAM) 1'43.467