In Donington downpour
After enjoying a brief respite in Catalunya from the bad weather that has plagued several races this season, the opening day of the British Grand Prix saw yet more rain for the MotoGP paddock as business got underway at Donington Park.
round of the season kicked off this morning with an action-packed first practice that saw several riders, including Rossi, on the floor as they struggled to adapt to a wet track after enjoying more summery conditions last time out Spain. Rossi slid off his M1 into the gravel trap early on and suffered some bruising to his arm, although he was able to complete the session on his second bike.
This afternoon's second practice saw even wetter conditions and some standing water on the track, but Edwards especially made significant improvements to his performance during the afternoon. After stru ggling to find his form in the wet at Le Mans and Mugello, the Texan made a huge step forward this afternoon and enjoyed a brief spell at the top of the time sheets towards the end of the session, eventually finishing sixth overall.
Rossi struggled a little more than his team-mate as he searched for the right setting and tyre combination, eventually running out tenth in the combined standings. The time sheets were topped today by Casey Stoner after he set a lap of 1'43.749 in this morning's session.
"Today was very adventurous! We started this morning with a set-up we had used before and it wasn't terrible, but when it started to dry out towards the end we couldn't go any faster and ended up several seconds off the pace.
I knew that wasn't right; despite the recent results I know I'm good in the wet, I always have been, so there had to be an answer! This afternoon Michelin came to us with a trick up their sleeve, we tried it and it worked. We were suddenly five seconds faster and things felt good again. We've tried so many different things over the last few races and nothing has worked, but this little change seems to have solved it. I was a lot more comfortable going fast today than I have been going slowly lately! So finally I want to say thank you to Michelin for coming up with the solution, and to all my guys who've been working very hard. The conditions weren't great today and there was a bit of hydroplaning going on, I wanted to push harder this afternoon but to be honest it wasn't worth risking the gravel for a couple of tenths, we'll save it for tomorrow!"
"For sure we haven't seen the best of the English weather today and we have had two days with a lot of rain! This track is very difficult like this and there isn't much grip when there's a lot of water; it's hard to ride. This morning I crashed very early on but luckily I was ok, although I have a little bit of swelling in my arm. Then we used a tyre which was a little bit too hard for the conditions, to be honest we only did a few laps with everything right today! This afternoon again we didn't have a lot of grip and it was very wet, but I can see that Colin is much faster this afternoon and this has given me a lot of hope for tomorrow. I've talked to him and we have some things to try tomorrow. Overall I'm positive, we have some things to improve and today wasn't perfect but I think we have good potential."
"The conditions were very difficult today with the rain but on one side it was time well spent because it meant we got a lot of work done with wet tyres. The problem will be if it's wet again tomorrow and then dry on Sunday because we'll have had no time to work on our dry set-up and dry race tyres, so it could be a little bit of a gamble. As usual however we can't do anything about the weather and we just have to make the most of the situation and carry on working as hard as we can. Colin made a good step forward this afternoon and this is encouraging for him after some difficult races lately. Valentino struggled more today but now we'll make some changes tonight and then tomorrow he can follow the same direction as Colin and hopefully it will work also for him."