Colin Edwards maintained his exemplary pre-season form by topping the unofficial time-sheets once again at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar today, with team-mate Valentino Rossi hot on his heels. The Yamaha pairing continue to forge ahead with the development of their 800cc Yamahas and their hard work is reaping rewards, with both riders feeling confident about the impending season.
Edwards best lap of the day, an outstanding time of 1'56.296 set in the morning session, was over a second under the current 990cc lap record. Meanwhile Rossi bettered his time from yesterday with a lap of 1.56.537, despite running into a few set-up problems which he will look to iron-out tomorrow. Both riders will now aim to complete a long-run on the last day before they fly back to Europe for the final 'dress-rehearsal' in Jerez ahead of the first race.
Colin Edwards, Position: 1st - Time: 1'56.296; Laps: 56
"Today was impressive! We got our second-choice front tyre from Michelin and it was instantly better than the third-choice one we had yesterday, it gave me a lot more confidence in the front-end. We made some big changes to the setting last night and we're now in a different realm, close to what Valentino was running yesterday. It's basically just something that works well on a flat track with no bumps and it felt really good. We made a small change to the rear shock and then we were just testing tyres for the rest of the day. We tested a series of right-side rubbers and then a series of left-side rubbers, searching for the best combination for the race. The times are great but they're coming quite easily, I really haven't pushed out of my comfort zone at all yet. This afternoon was slower because of the wind but at the end of the day, with the last rear tyre, I got my head down for a couple of laps and we still did a 56.4! We'll do a long run tomorrow and see how it all works out then; hopefully we can stay on top and make it a clean sheet for the test!"
Valentino Rossi, Position: 2nd - Time: 1'56.537; Laps: 62;
"So, another fast day for Yamaha and I am happy that we're one and two again. Actually, today we ran into a few problems which we need to work on, but anyway this is expected when you're getting faster and faster and it's much better that we find the problems now than in the race! Again we need to work to improve the stability of the bike under braking and this is a very delicate thing because we don't want to sacrifice the agility of our bike. We need to find the right balance. We tried some more tyres for Michelin and today we didn't find anything so great in this area, but we made some decisions about what to try for our long run tomorrow. We're fast and we know we're at a good level, but we can't afford to relax because our rivals are getting closer and I think it's going to be a very great battle this season. Tomorrow we'll try to fix the problems we found today, we have some ideas and I am sure we can have a good last day."
Dani Pedrosa, 1'56.712s - 85 laps, 457 Km;
"We have managed to improve a bit today. We've basically been testing tyres and settings of the chassis. Everything went quite well. The wind became stronger towards noon, but we've been able to test several things and complete the planned programme. It wasn't actually a big trouble, but you could feel the change of the weather conditions. Nevertheless it's good because this is a windy place and these conditions may reappear during the Grand Prix."
Nicky Hayden, 1'57.629s. - 73 laps, 393 Km;
"Well really it wasn't the best day to be honest. Yesterday went well but today wasn't so smooth. In the morning session I had a small crash and I also had an engine problem which meant we had to take the forks I like from one bike and put them on the other bike. At the end of the day I tried to go out and finish off strongly and had another crash which is a little frustrating. We'll definitely try and sit down with the team tonight and go through all of the data to get things sorted for tomorrow - we'll be looking to finish off with a strong day."
Casey Stoner (45 laps, best time 1m57.040s);
"We had a hard time today. Last night's rain changed the track conditions and in the morning there was no grip. Then the wind made things a bit more complicated. Late in the afternoon the track had some rubber on it, the wind had dropped and we managed to do some good laps again. Everyone says I crash too much so... just to make them happy I had my first crash on a Ducati a few minutes from the end! It was just a small one however, I lost the rear under acceleration and ended up on the grass on the inside of the corner! I wasn't hurt and didn't damage the bike so I suppose it was OK!"
Loris Capirossi (52 laps, best time 1m57.698s);
"Today was really tough because the track conditions after yesterday's rain were a big problem. We didn't have any feeling with the front and did everything possible to try and improve the situation but we lost our way a bit. In the end we managed to improve without even getting the right feeling with the bike. I hope it won't rain tonight because tomorrow we want to carry on from where we left off today and do a long-run ".
Randy de Puniet: 54 Laps - Best Lap 1'57.288;
"Today we got on with the tyre testing we had planned, working our way through different options on both the front and rear of the bike. Bridgestone have done a great job, and we think we've identified a suitable front tyre for the race should conditions be the same here next month. I did a race distance run this afternoon to evaluate tyre endurance, and tomorrow we will try even more rear tyre options from Bridgestone. If we can end this test with a race tyre for front and rear then I'll be happy. The bike felt better today, and I'd already improved my lap time before lunch. But then I crashed in turn eight; I'm not completely sure why, but it felt like the wind pushed me wide, and I lost the front trying to regain the right line. I was unhurt, but the bike was a wreck! I'm happy with the improvement in consistency today, but there is still room for improvement tomorrow."
Olivier Jacque: #19;
"Today I feel much better than I did immediately after the crash yesterday, but I still feel pretty sore. I wanted to ride, but after the medical check up this morning we made the decision to sit out today's test, instead of risking further injury and a longer delay. I'm sorry for the team, because I know how much work we need to do before the start of the season, but I hope we can catch up on our test schedule tomorrow."
Shinya Nakano - Rider, Konica Minolta Honda (73 laps - 1'57.274");
"I'm very satisfied with this second day of testing as finally I was fast, despite a harmless crash! Most of the time today has been dedicated to the important job of testing the Michelin tyres. These are vital for the set-up of the new Honda RC212V. Today, I found a good front tyre and with this I was able to increase my corner speed, which is important on this new breed of 800cc machines. During tomorrow's final day we will continue the job of tyre testing for Michelin by aiming to find a good rear tyre to be used as a reference point for the race which takes place in less than four weeks time! In the afternoon, if we have the time to do so, we have scheduled a race simulation. I'm looking forward to getting to know my new bike even more and aiming to give the Team all the feedback and information they need so we can improve still further."
Marco Melandri (76 laps, 1.57"59):
"The team is doing a great job. I like the bike, I have a good feeling when I'm riding. Today we tested several tyres with Bridgestone and we found some interesting solutions that can be good in preparation of the race. I did my fastest time with race tyres because, in this moment, it's important for us to be ready for the first round of the season. We still have to work hard, but I'm confident".
Toni Elias (61 laps, 1.58"99):
"We are struggling a bit because we still haven't found the tyre that it's good for my riding style and my characteristics. I'm confident because we are working hard with the Bridgestone technicians. We will get probably some new stuff to test in Jerez for the next Irta test session, this would be very important for us ".
Alex Barros (1'58.314 - 52 laps):
"Today wasn't a positive day for us, and for this I'm not satisfied. The strong wind and the poor track's low grip level did not allow us to run as we wanted to. We worked on the suspension and the set-up, but we didn't find a very satisfactory compromise. The best balance of the bike and tires is what we are looking for. Tomorrow we'll have another very important day's test, where we'll do further refinement to the chassis and we'll work with race tires and qualifiers, as well. I'm sure that we'll be faster, because in the prev ious test we have showed how much potential we're capable of".
Alex Hofmann (1'57.900 - 56 laps):
"Today we worked so much, making numerous changes to the chassis, but the end result wasn't the one we hoped to obtain. I ended up going slightly faster, but the overall feeling with the bike wasn't good and I had some difficulties with the grip. The weather conditions complicated the situation, too, but tomorrow we will be testing a bunch of tires. We'll push even harder then, because we know that we can improve a lot".
Unofficial Lap Times;
- 1. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 1'56.296
- 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 1'56.537
- 3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 1'56.712
- 4. Carlos Checa (SPA) Honda 1'56.874
- 5. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati 1'57.040
- 6. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki 1'57.065
- 7. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Honda 1'57.274
- 8. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki 1'57.288
- 9. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team KR 1'57.504
- 10. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda 1'57.591
- 11. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 1'57.629
- 12. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati 1'57.698
- 13. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Suzuki 1'57.770
- 14. Alex Hoffman (GER) Ducati 1'57.999
- 15. Alex Barros (BRA) Ducati 1'58.513
- 16. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Yamaha 1'58.610
- 17. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda 1'58.990
- 18. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Yamaha 1'59.138
- 19. Shinichi Ito (JPN) Bridgestone Test 1'59.617
- 20. Andrew Pitt (AUS) Ilmor 2'02.453
Qatar Lap Record (990cc);
- Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2006 - 1'57.305
Qatar Best Lap (990cc);
- Casey Stoner (Honda) 2006 - 1'55.683