Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards made their first formal track appearances of the year today as the MotoGP Official Tests got underway at the Montmelo circuit in Catalunya. The traditional pre-season curtain raiser runs for three days, with a timed 40-minute session determining the winner of a new car in an exciting climax to the action on Sunday afternoon at 1405h.
Sporting their new bright-yellow Camel livery, both Rossi and Edwards were in sparkling form throughout the day, dominating the time sheets and ending the session with the quickest times. With barely any changes made to the base set-up of their 2006 version YZR-M1 machines following recent tests, the Italian and the American were quickly on the pace despite brisk morning temperatures, backing up impressive results in contrasting conditions at Sepang and Qatar. A positive first day for Yamaha was completed by Carlos Checa (Tech 3 Yamaha), who sealed the third fastest time on only his third appearance for the team.
Valentino Rossi (1st, 1'43.608, 54 laps);
"The first day here in Catalunya has been very positive. The weather has been better than we expected, especially in the afternoon, so the tyres were running at the right temperature to be enable us to understand the performance of the bike. The data we are gathering will not be much use for the race here in May because it will be so much warmer, but at least we are moving forward with the setting of the bike. I'm pleased because the lap times have been very fast - this is the third track we have ridden at with the 2006 machine and we have been very competitive at all of them. Since 20th January we have been thinking exclusively about race one on 26th March and we will continue with this attitude for the rest of the test."
Colin Edwards (2nd, 1'44.063, 66 laps);
"We didn't change too much with the bike today - just rolled out what we had at Sepang to see how it worked. It was freezing this morning but we did some tests for Michelin and things just got better and better for the rest of the day. I'm happy with the bike, I'm happy with everything really, but as good as it looks and feels we still have a lot of work to do. It's nice to be running up at the top from the start and I must admit it's hard not to have one eye on the car on Sunday! I don't know what I would do with it if I won but we'll figure that out when it comes!"
Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director;
"It is a positive surprise to see three Yamahas at the top of the time sheets and of course we are all very pleased. It's only the first day of a long test but we hope it is a good sign of things to come. Things ran very smoothly today, we continued working to our testing programme, on the setting and on the tyres. The base setting seems to work well - this is the third circuit with this bike and it's encouraging that it has worked so well in so many different conditions. Both riders look relaxed and concentrated on the job at hand so let's just keep working this way!"
- 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Camel Yamaha Team, 1'43.608
- 2. Colin Edwards (USA) Camel Yamaha Team, 1'44.063
- 3. Carlos Checa (SPA) Tech 3 Yamaha, 1'44.070
- 4. John Hopkins (USA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP, 1'44.197
- 5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team, 1'44.209
- 6. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team, 1'44.399
- 7. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team, 1'44.556
- 8. Marco Melandri (ITA) Fortuna Honda, 1'44.672
- 9. Toni Elias (SPA) Fortuna Honda, 1'44.702
- 10. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Konica Minolta Honda, 1'44.721
- 11. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team Roberts, 1'44.868
- 12. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team, 1'45.011
- 13. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki Racing Team, 1'45.111
- 14. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro Team,1'45.253
- 15. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP, 1'45.968
- 16. James Ellison (GBR) Tech 3 Yamaha, 1'46.217
- 17. Jose Luis Cardoso (SPA) D'Antin Pramac, 1'46.603
- 18. Alex Hoffman (GER) D'Antin Pramac, 1'46.606
- 19. Vittoriano Guareschi (ITA) Ducati, 1'47.379
- Catalunya Lap Record: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2005 - 1'43.195
- Catalunya Best Lap: Sete Gibernau (Honda) 2005 - 1'42.337