The Camel Yamaha Team launched its 2006 campaign today, with the first of three-days of testing in Sepang, Malaysia. After a six-week holiday the team is back at its favourite testing venue alongside other MotoGP Teams from Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki. A cloudy morning with a few spots of rain at one stage gave way to a sunny afternoon and Yamaha's Factory Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were able to complete a full day of testing on their new 2006-spec YZR-M1s.
Both riders concentrated on getting a feel for the new version of the M1, which they first tested in November last year. According to the unofficial lap times, Rossi was fastest with a time of 2'02.14, after 74 laps. Edwards meanwhile had a fall in the afternoon at turn nine, but was unhurt and able to continue for the rest of the afternoon on his second bike, setting a best lap of 2'02.61 after 69 laps.
Valentino Rossi (2'02.14, 74 Laps);
"It's always a little difficult to start again after the holidays, and I am never sure if I will be able to ride well straight away! Today however everything has felt good right from the start and I am already quite fast. The new M1 is a good bike, I like it and I can see that Yamaha has worked very hard over the winter. We had a few problems with it today; some chattering, but in reality it is good for this stage of the year. We still have a lot of work to do on it of course. The new bike is not so different from the 2005 bike, but still we have to understand completely its character and I have to get more confidence in it, then we can begin to make the modifications needed in order to improve it. Today has just been about understanding the bike, tomorrow we will concentrate more on tyres with Michelin."
Colin Edwards (2'02.61, 69 Laps);
"I came out this morning and felt good immediately. Straight away I felt happy on the bike and could notice all the improvements that Yamaha has made. I'm so accustomed to the 2005 bike at this track, but it was clear today that the new one is better in many ways. I am a bit out of practice after the holiday but once I got going I felt very comfortable to be back on the bike. After a few laps we began to play around with some fork settings and spring rates and in doing so we lost a little bit of feel. Then after lunch I had the crash.it was at turn nine and I just lost the front on the brakes. It all happened pretty slowly and I was fine, luckily. After that we didn't have time to go back to our good fork setting but anyway the times were still okay. Despite the mishap today I feel like I want to go faster and faster, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director;
"We begin this test with many new things, but the most important is that the new bike is at a good starting point and the riders have been able to do good work straight away. Of course we have many jobs ahead of us to work on the set-up and to test tyres for Michelin, but it has been a good start. Colin's crash was unfortunate and also something new, since he doesn't do it very often! Despite this we have had a more than satisfactory day and we hope to get some more important work done over the next two days."
Unofficial Lap Times:
- 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 2'02.14
- 2. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda 2'02.21
- 3. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 2'02.23
- 4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 2'02.46
- 5. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati 2'02.55
- 6. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 2'02.61
- 7. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Ducati 2'02.77
- 8. Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda 2'03'57
- 9. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki 2'03.77
- 10. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda 2'03.80
- 11. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki 2'03.90
- 12. Alex Hoffman (GER) Ducati 2'04.63
- 13. James Ellison (GBR) Yamaha 2'06.40
- 14. Jose Luis Cardosa (SPA) Ducati 2'07.70
- Sepang Lap Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda) 2005 - 2'02.993
- Sepang Best Lap: Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 2005 - 2'01.731
- Ambient temperature: 30 degrees
- Track temperature: 49 degrees
- Humidity: 49%