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MotoGP: Rossi floats back to the top at wet Shanghai - May 12th 2006

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  1. Round: 4 - 2006 MotoGP Shanghai
  2. Circuit: Shanghai
  3. Weather: Wet
  4. Circuit Length: 5451
  5. Lap Record: 2' 13.716 (Alex Barros, 2005)
  6. Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 59.710 (Sete Gibernau, 2005)
  7. Temp: 17ēC
  8. Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi returned to the top of the MotoGP time sheets today as hard work during practice and testing following the last round at Istanbul began to bear fruit on the opening day of the Grand Prix of China. In soaking conditions caused by a steady downpour of fine rain throughout the day, Rossi repeated the form that saw him take a wet victory at the Shanghai circuit last season with the fastest times in both today's free practice sessions.

    After setting the pace by just 0.002 seconds from Casey Stoner (Honda) in the morning, the Italian moved up a gear in the afternoon to improve his time by almost three seconds, holding off the challenge of Loris Capirossi (Ducati) by 0.355 seconds with an exemplary display of wet-weather riding. Meanwhile, his Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards also reported improved feeling with his YZR-M1 machine following positive progress during the Turkish test session, although the American was struggled to turn that into outright pace this afternoon.

    Valentino Rossi (1st; 2'09.393, 36 laps);

    "In Turkey we were able to understand some of the problems we were having with the bike and we found some good solutions. The modifications we made using that data here this morning were really good and now I can ride the bike at 100%. Even though it was wet the grip levels were very good, I was able to get a lot of lean angle in the corners and it was really good fun to ride as I want to. I'm really happy because I was fastest in both free practices today and this is a good sign for the weekend. The bike is working well in the wet but I think the solutions we have found for the setting will also work in the dry. Hopefully we will get the chance to find out tomorrow because the worst scenario would be to have another day of wet practice and then a dry race on Sunday."

    Colin Edwards (13th; 2'11.838, 24 laps);

    "I'm reasonably happy with today. We did some good work on the setting of the bike but when we got it to where I wanted to push for a good time we had a minor setback with the tyre and I had to go for a different compound, which didn't quite work out. The main thing is that I'm comfortable with the bike and I'm confident I can go much quicker tomorrow whether it's wet or dry. We basically started out with the dry setting we found in Turkey and made small adaptations for the wet conditions here. We found a really good suspension solution at the end so now we just need to put the whole package together with the right tyres tomorrow and run with it."

    Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director;

    "That was a very good session, especially after the problems we had in Istanbul. The engineers made some good steps with the setting and, thanks to their good work at the test in Turkey, Valentino was able to be fast again today. Watching him ride to the best of his ability is always very enjoyable and the situation here is clearly very different to what we found when it rained in Turkey. As far as Colin is concerned his lap time today does not reflect his true potential here. He has found a good setting and, although he couldn't finish the session off as he would have liked, there is a lot more to come from him. We have started off well at other races this year and not ended up with the right result so we have to make sure this good work continues right through until Sunday afternoon."

    Rain dampens proceedings for Tech 3 Yamaha Team;

    Although the rain overshadowed proceedings, the conditions gave the Tech 3 Yamaha Team an excellent chance to continue testing the ever improving range of Dunlop wet weather tyres. Both riders tested many different combinations of tyres during the two, one-hour practice sessions and recorded valuable data should the showers continue for the remainder of the weekend with Carlos Checa and James Ellison in 16th and17th positions respectively.

    Carlos Checa (16th, 2'14.914, 36 laps);

    "It has been a busy day testing tyres and these wet conditions have given us a perfect chance to find a direction to head with the amount of wet-weather tyres Dunlop has for us. But it's what we have to do to continue and hope we can improve further soon. I am not very happy as I'm five seconds off but that is what happens sometimes when we are testing at the same time as trying to find a setup. Now we have to find the tyre to settle on should these conditions continue over the weekend".

    James Ellison (17th. 2'15.880, 36 laps);

    "From this morning we made some adjustments by lowering the bike and softening the bike right off and it worked well as the lap times started to come down. We tried a few different tyres during the session and the last tyre we tried was pretty good. Carlos liked it as well so we have something to work on in the morning but we just have to find a way of generating more heat in the side of the tyre which is the problem we're having. Once we do that we should be in much better position. Testing during a meeting is a bit hard but at the end of the day that is what we are here for".

    Herve Poncharal - Tech3 Yamaha Team Director;

    "Although the positions of Carlos and James are not the best, we are quite satisfied with the work that has been done today because again, we have done a few hours in the rain and they both have been through a lot of different tyres. "It's a tough job but this is "year one" with Dunlop in MotoGP with a factory bike and they have a lot to learn and a lot to understand to catch up to the other brands. We have to go through this testing program - that is something we have to do - and not everything we test is always suitable. But this is our mission and we have to continue. I'd like to thank my riders - especially Carlos - for the good job he is doing. Hopefully, by the end of the season, with all the tyre testing we do during a Grand Prix, we will be a lot closer. The target is to be a pretty competitive in 2007 but we're not going to catch up with the other two immediately."

    Nicky Hayden, 44 laps, 232'364 Km. "Well that's what you call a wet day! I think this track is probably the grippiest track I've ever ridden in the wet, and you can really reel off some of those corners which that makes it pretty interesting to ride. Being the first day and being no warmer than it is, it's really impressive to have that kind of grip. Basically we just plugged in my rain settings and rode it all the day and just made a few little changes. Tonight we definitely have to sit down try to put something together and get that last little bit of performance and confidence and improve the feeling from the bike. In the light rain this afternoon I felt pretty good but this morning when it started heavily is when I felt the weakest so I'll definitely have to talk to the team - and talk to the rider - and figure out how to improve. We'll crack the curtains in the morning and see what the weather's doing".

    Dani Pedrosa, 45 laps, 237'645 Km. "Today was wet so it was not easy for me, yet we improved a lot from the morning to the afternoon so I think this is good, even though my final position in the times is not the best. I'm happy to have made some progress. At the beginning of the race weekend it's always tricky for me because I'm new to the track on this bike and I have to learn the best way to approach the track. I know I have plenty of room for improvement - unfortunately everyone else is improving too! This track has a lot of grip in the wet which gives me a little more confidence and the tyres work better so I feel a little better riding in the wet here. We'll have to see what the weather does tomorrow because I think it doesn't look so good, so we'll just continue to find the best set-up in case the race is wet".

    Marco Melandri (2'10"411, 6th, 21 laps): "Despite the conditions that we had to lap in, I feel very satisfied with my work. We had a good set-up to work from and that helped. Ten minutes before the end of the session we made a small change to the rear suspension which did not give us the results we had hoped for. But I am satisfied and think we have taken a step forward in these conditions. I think forecasts are saying it will be overcast for Sunday's race, if that is the case we'll have to work with Michelin and use the experience we gained last season. I am happy, we have a good base to work from."

    Toni Elias (2'12"807, 15th, 21 laps): "It was quite a hard day - we worked hard to improve my feeling with the bike. We can still improve the rear end of the bike in these conditions. I am not happy, but know there is still another day of qualifying, and what's more I rode a good race here in the wet last year."

    Makoto Tamada - KONICA MINOLTA Honda Rider (9° - 2'11.313");

    "I am satisfied of my today's performance. It has not been easy to approach this circuit for the first time with such weather conditions. Right from the first free practice session of this morning the feeling with my RC211V has been good. Even if the track was wet, the situation remained the same all day long and this has allowed us to dedicate the necessary time to the bike setting definition. We have reached a good bike balance which makes me feel positive for the possibility to be competitive in dry conditions."

    Alex Hofmann #66 (18th - 2'15.897): "We're making the maximum, the Team is really working at 100%. Today, under the rain, we had some difficulties in the exit of the corners, when you open the throttle: I need more adherence. For tomorrow, let's hope the weather will be good, to get the opportunity to ride on a dry track and try some new slick tyre. About the track, I can say I like it, it's fast though it has all slow corners. On the dry, my sensations would surely change and I really hope to get to know it tomorrow".

    Jose Luis Cardoso #30 (19th - 2'19.416): "Unfortunately, today I only made 23 laps and had no opportunity to make lots of km. I crashed twice at the end of the long straight, losing the front with the motorcycle still upright and, tomorrow, if it will go on raining, we will need to work a lot to find more grip and allow me to get more confidence on the front. The situation would surely be better if the track would be dry. We will see it tomorrow, anyway I can say I like this circuit, it's quite slow but it's nice".

    Loris Capirossi, 2nd fastest, 2m 09.748s;

    "The visibility got worse at the end of this afternoon's session, so during my final run I pulled over to the side of the track, cleared my visor, then pushed harder on my last lap and everything was okay. This morning we worked a lot on wet set-up, we made a lot of progress with engine-management settings and we tried Bridgestone's three different rear rain tyres. All three are okay but I already prefer one over the others. We are good in the wet, thanks to all the work we've done on engine management, but in the dry, when the tyres are working well, we can be even better!

    "I'm happy with today's results, it's surprising how many riders are going very fast in these conditions. Tomorrow, I hope the weather will be the same as it will be on Sunday, wet or dry. But there's not much point talking about what the weather will do, we'll just see what happens and make the most of it."

    Sete Gibernau, 4th fastest, 2m 10.187s;

    "We've been doing a lot of wet-weather riding at the last couple of races. We are chipping away at things and the bike seems to be working okay here, the tyres too. During the morning and afternoon sessions I did a lot of laps on the same tyres because I wanted to put race distance on them and we managed to do that. This afternoon I did have some problems with helmet fogging, which is very rare, but I know Arai will get that fixed for tomorrow because they're the best.

    "We will have to see what the weather brings, but if it stays wet for tomorrow and then dries out for Sunday, everyone will be gambling on bike settings and tyre choice. Plus, we don't really know much about this track in the dry because it rained most of the time here last year. The surface seems grippy enough in the wet, but it doesn't drain too well, so when it rains really hard you get a build up of surface water, then you don't have so much grip."

    Randy de Puniet: 10th - 2'11.425;

    "This afternoon we tried some changes to the chassis and engine set-up to see if we could improve upon the feeling in the wet conditions, but I think we went a little bit in the wrong direction. We switched back to a set-up closer to that of this morning and my feeling was good, so at the end I was able to improve with each lap and I'm happy with what we've achieved. Today wasn't qualifying, and it is important that we use free practice to explore all the options with the set-up of the bike, which we did. Okay, so we came back to similar settings, but we now have a very clear direction for tomorrow if practice and qualifying is again wet. I also had some chattering at the three first gear corners, which makes the bike a little difficult to control, but I'm confident that we can find a solution for this also tomorrow."

    Shinya Nakano: 14th - 2'12.496;

    "When the conditions were completely wet then I was okay, but as soon as a drying line started to appear I wasn't so confident and I didn't have a good feeling as to how hard I could push. The grip here is impressive in the wet, I had my knee down through every turn and the rear was gripping rather than spinning, but I just seemed to lack confidence in the front, especially under braking, which meant I wasn't able to carry the speed through the faster corners. And the high-speed corners are critical to a good lap time here, so this is something we need to address tomorrow. The weather forecast is predicting a dry race on Sunday, so hopefully we will also have dry conditions for tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions."

    Free Practice:

  9. 1. V. Rossi, Yamaha - 2' 9.393
  10. 2. L. Capirossi, Ducati - 2' 9.748
  11. 3. J. Hopkins, Suzuki - 2' 10.007
  12. 4. S. Gibernau, Ducati - 2' 10.187
  13. 5. N. Hayden, Honda - 2' 10.247
  14. 6. M. Melandri, Honda - 2' 10.411
  15. 7. D. Pedrosa, Honda - 2' 10.815
  16. 8. C. Stoner, Honda - 2' 11.016
  17. 9. M. Tamada, Honda - 2' 11.313
  18. 10. R. De Puniet, Kawasaki - 2' 11.425
  19. 11. C. Vermeulen, Suzuki - 2' 11.438
  20. 12. K. Roberts, Team Roberts KR - 2' 11.615
  21. 13. C. Edwards, Yamaha - 2' 11.838
  22. 14. S. Nakano, Kawasaki - 2' 12.496
  23. 15. T. Elias, Honda - 2' 12.807
  24. 16. C. Checa, Yamaha - 2' 14.914
  25. 17. J. Ellison, Yamaha - 2' 15.880