Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards continued the good work they began yesterday with a second day at the top of the time sheets at the desert circuit of Losail, Qatar today. Spending the majority of the day testing tyres for Michelin, Rossi and Edwards completed 60 and 76 laps respectively on their 2006-spec YZR-M1s.
Rossi was once again fastest, setting a best lap of 1'56.53 with Edwards close behind him with a time of 1'56.81. Yamaha Tech 3 rider Carlos Checa was third fastest, according to the unofficial lap times, setting a time of 1'56.95. The Camel Yamaha Team will continue for one final day of testing tomorrow whilst Yamaha Tech 3, Suzuki and the Kawasaki and Ducati test teams have finished their Qatar testing today.
Valentino Rossi (1'56.53, 60 Laps);
"We managed many laps today, everything went very well and I am quite pleased. In the morning we worked mostly on settings and we have now nearly fixed the chatter we were experiencing. We made some small modifications and the bike responded quickly and it is giving me a very good feeling now. After that we worked for the rest of the day with Michelin and tested most of the tyres that they brought with them; the new things they have brought here seem to be extremely good. Our main target with them is to keep the performance level of the tyre up after 15 or 20 laps, and it seems we're improving in this area and our times were consistent throughout the day. With these new tyres and the new M1 combined we have much better stability and grip. For sure we don't have most of the other teams testing here so it's hard to judge exactly where we are, but I think anyway we can tell that we are doing okay."
Colin Edwards (1'56.81, 76 Laps);
"Today has been great, I'm really happy. We got going on the new Michelin stuff after lunch and they've made some great improvements. We had some new things to try for Yamaha, but we mostly concentrated on tyres. I'm really starting to feel confident with the bike and to believe in myself again. This is my first time in MotoGP to be with the same team for two years running and it's great not to have to worry about adjusting to a new bike and team at the start of the season. It feels really good to be back with the best team and on the best bike! I can concentrate entirely on my race preparation without any distractions or worries and the new style I adapted to last season now feels totally natural. I feel like I have all the tools in place for a really good season. Tomorrow we're planning to do a long run and we have a few more tyres to test; I am sure we'll make some more progress."
Jeremy Burgess - Valentino Rossi's Crew Chief;
"Everything is going well so far. The test has been successful and the weather has been good. We've been able to test everything that we wanted up to now and we've confirmed everything that we found out in Malaysia. We're proceeding well towards the first race!"
Tech 3 Yamaha Team;
The three-day test at the Doha venue saw the Tech 3 team complete for the first time. It was the first possibility for newly-signed Carlos Checa to ride the 2006 YZR-M1. Even with the new Dunlop tyres Checa was straight on the pace, while his teammate James Ellison also made great progress.
Carlos Checa (1'56.95);
"I am satisfied with this first test although of course we have many improvements to make. It's important to be realistic, even though the times have been good, and to keep focused and working hard. Obviously one of the main areas we need to work on is the tyres. They work well in these conditions and I am happy with the front, but we need to work a lot on the rear. We need to do as much testing as we can during the next days in Sepang to find the right mix and to find a better situation for the rear.
"I really want to say thank you to Yamaha, Dunlop and all the other people who helped to make this possible given me the chance to be back on the grid. In January my situation was not so good and I have had to fight hard to come back, but now I have this chance and I am happy for it. I think this new M1 is definitely the best Yamaha I have ever ridden so this is very exciting.
"Now we need to go to Sepang and continue to work in the same way. Everyone will make comparisons and look at the times but at this time that should not be our focus. We have started work and we have a lot more to do. We must not hurry to be in front at the moment, but focus on development. For myself I have finished to think about my previous situation and now I just want to focus on my sporting activities for this season."
James Ellison (1'58.98);
"I feel like I am improving slowly. I've had to change my style a bit but I am getting there. It's been great to have Carlos here, I have really learnt some things from following him, especially about lines and the use of the rear brake. I hit a bit of a wall on Monday and Tuesday morning but once we got over that things have really got better. Now I am going about two seconds faster and, as I said, following Carlos and then Valentino a bit also today has really helped me to understand some of the changes I need to make. I'm now trying not to ride so fast round the corner but just to use the bike's own power to take me round. The tyres are much better here and we've improved in that area since the last test in Sepang. There were a couple of different tyres that I liked here last year and Dunlop have made a combination of those two and that's the main one we've been using here. I wasn't looking forward to going back to Sepang but after today I am feeling much better about it.
ility is much better and we're using a bigger wheel on the front which is working well. It will be interesting to go back to Sepang now and see if we can improve there also."
Herve Poncharal - Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director;
"A very good test altogether. I think it's been a really good idea to come here to test; the facilities and track are great, it's close to the conditions we can expect in the race and everyone is very helpful here! Our biggest news of course is that we now have two riders and it's been great to come here with a full team and with Carlos. It's been a good three days. The performance of Carlos has been better than anyone expected for his first outing on the Dunlops, so this is encouraging. There were three Yamaha's at the front today and this makes me very happy. Carlos is already riding well and fast and James has improved considerably over the three days. We're looking forward to Sepang although we know it won't be so easy for us there. Anyway, we're looking to the future. Once again I want to thank Yamaha, Dunlop and everyone involved for making this a possibility."
Unofficial Lap Times:
- 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha, 1'56.53
- 2. Colin Edwards(USA) Yamaha, 1'56.81
- 3. Carlos Checa (SPA) Yamaha, 1'56.95
- 4. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Suzuki, 1'57.87
- 5. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki, 1'58.33
- 6. S. Ito (JPN) Ducati, 1'58.85
- 7. James Ellison (GBR) Yamaha, 1'58.98
- 8. Olivier Jacque (FRA) Kawasaki, 1'59.46
- Qatar Lap Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2005 - 1'57.903
- Qatar Best Lap: Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2005 - 1'56.917
- Ambient temperature: 25.9 degrees
- Track temperature: 39.0 degrees
- Humidity: 64.6%