Testing for the first time at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were pleased to get back in the saddle on their new 2006-specification YZR-M1s today. Both riders made the most of good temperatures to put in some fast laps at a track where both of them enjoy riding. Although they are only joined on the track here by the MotoGP Teams of Suzuki and Tech 3 Yamaha, as well as test riders from Ducati and Kawasaki, Rossi and Edwards were encouraged to finish the day at the top of the time sheets and are looking forward to more improvement over the next two days.
Both Rossi and Edwards were inside the lap record of 1'57.903; the World Champion with a time of 1'57.36 after just 48 laps and his American team-mate just behind after 77 laps with a best time of 1'57.52. Suzuki rider John Hopkins was third fastest with a time of 1'57.66 and Tech 3 Yamaha pilot Carlos Checa, making a return to Yamaha after a year's absence, was fourth with a lap of 1'57.94.
Valentino Rossi (1'57.36, 48 Laps);
"It's always nice to be fastest, although of course here we don't have Honda or Ducati. Everything went very well today and I am pleased with this first day of work. As we're quite close to home I have no problem with jet-lag, unlike at Sepang, so I feel like I have plenty of energy for these three days! The temperature is about 15 degrees cooler than at the race last year and so we are able to have quite good grip and to use the tyres at 100%, enabling us to go quite fast. Anyway with the new bike we have much more grip than with the old M1, but as in Sepang we have a tiny bit of chatter, so we are doing a lot of work with Michelin to fix that. Michelin have come here with many new tyres and so we are working a lot with them to test as much as possible. The new bike is already at a good level and now we are working hard on finding the right settings for it. I'm looking forward to the next two days."
Colin Edwards (1'57.52, 77 Laps);
"Unlike Valentino I get pretty bad jet-lag here, coming from the US, so I felt pretty tired today! I hope to get a good night's sleep tonight and to have a bit more energy tomorrow. The track is getting cleaner by the minute as more rubber gets laid down, so the grip is improving all the time; it's already much better than in the race last year. Michelin have a lot of new tyres here so we're spending a large part of our time on testing the new stuff with them. I really like this track, I've always gone good from the first time I came here so it's an enjoyable place for me to test, plus the weather is great. The new bike really is better in every way and now I've just got to build my confidence with it. At the moment I am feeling stronger with every lap. It was a good first day and I was pleased to be able to get going so well so quickly."
Daniele Romagnoli - Colin Edwards' Crew Chief;
"We very quickly found a good base-setting here today, much better than what we had at the race here last year. We've improved the front-end grip a lot and therefore Colin has much more confidence already in the front. It seems the new bike works well at this track and the lap times were good today. We made a good start."
Unofficial Lap Times:
- 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha, 1'57.36
- 2. Colin Edwards(USA) Yamaha, 1'57.52
- 3. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki, 1'57.66
- 4. Carlos Checa (SPA) Yamaha, 1'57.94
- 5. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Suzuki, 1'58.62
- 6. S. Ito (JPN) Ducati, 1'58.90
- 7. James Ellison (GBR) Yamaha, 1'59.81
- 8. Olivier Jacque (FRA) Kawasaki, 2'00.43
- Losail Lap Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2005 - 1'57.903
- Losail Best Lap: Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2005 - 1'56.917
- Ambient temperature: 24.7 degrees
- Track temperature: 38.0 degrees
- Humidity: 73%