As action commences in California
Fiat Yamaha Team riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi got off to a solid start today at the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, finishing the day fourth and sixth in the combined standings.
With the track newly resurfaced and the temperatures
sitting comfortably in the high twenties, riding conditions were vastly improved from this time last year and times were fast from the start.
Edwards, who is running a one-off ‘Texas Tornado' livery for his home GP, and Rossi were quick to get down to business this morning during a first session that was red flagged for ten minutes after a crash involving Alex Hofmann and Sylvain Guintoli.
The Yamaha pair finished the morning third and fifth fastest respectively and were both positive about the improved track conditions and the initial performance of their 800cc M1s. This afternoon s aw more of the same as they continued to work on set-up and tyres, which are likely to be a crucial factor during Sunday's 32-lap race.
Casey Stoner set the fastest lap of the day in a time of 1'22.997 with Edwards and Rossi 0.538 and 0.551 seconds off the Australian's time.
"Not too bad for the first day. This morning felt quite good and actually the track didn't change too much throughout the day so we pretty much just kept going in the same way this afternoon. We've been playing about with the settings and I am feeling quite comfortable but could definitely be more so. Tyre-wise we've got some more work to do before we're in a position to make a decision about race tyres, so we'll be concentrating on that tomorrow morning. Stoner and Melandri are looking pretty strong so we need to close the gap to them tomorrow. It's fun being back out on this track again and the 800 feels good around here. The track surface is fantastic compared to last year; there are still a few too many bumps around turn nine but otherwise it's pretty smooth."
"My first impressions after today are quite good. The new surface is much, much better; quite smooth with only a few bumps and it seems almost like a different track! I'm very happy about this because last year it was really a nightmare and almost impossible to ride. Now we can have fun! I think the new 800s are better for this; you can use all of the track and the best lines. Today we've been quite fast from the start and our bike seems to be working well here. It seems that we have a good selection of tyres, we started with something quite soft and we'll need something a little bit harder for the race, but anyway I think the situation so far is quite good. It's a tricky track but I enjoyed today a lot.
It's always great fun to race here, the fans are great and the weather is good! We have some more work to do to morrow of course and we need to improve our pace in comparison to the leaders, but we have made a good start."
"Overall a positive first day for us. Both Colin and Valentino are able to run at the front quite comfortably and the bike seems to be working quite well around this track. We need to improve our pace a little bit more and work on choosing the tyres for the race, as this is going to be a key factor on Sunday. We've got some more tyres to test tomorrow before we can make a final decision about this. Anyway, we're quite close to the top so now we'll keep working in the same direction and hopefully be right at the top tomorrow!"