Edwards struggles in thirteenth
Valentino Rossi was quick to put his recent disappointments behind him today, finding a good pace early on in Estoril and finishing the first day third in the combined standings.
Rossi has an excellent record at the Portuguese track,
having finished on the podium in all seven of his premier-class visits here, and he was quick to make the most of his experience to find a good base setting for his M1. Colin Edwards had a more difficult day and finished 13th in the combined standings, which were topped by Casey Stoner.
A sunny and warm morning's practice saw both Valentino and Colin lapping consistently in the top four places, finishing the session second and fourth respectively. This afternoon the good weather continued and Rossi put in some steady progress, improving slightly on his time and finishing only 0.170 behind Stoner, with second place filled by Yamaha Tech 3 rider Makoto Tamada. Edwards meanwhile ran into problems after his promising start and was unable to improve on his time from this morning, finishing 0.727 second down in 13th.
"Today I am quite happy because we've made some improvements to the new engine and it's going well for us, plus the new tyres that we found at the last test are also working quite well. We have a few small problems to fix, but I was able to ride a lot better today; I was quite fast from the start and we did some good work to find the right setting. Also this afternoon Tamada used a qualifying tyre so in reality we were second fastest on race tyres and quite close to Stoner; this is a good result. The bike is not so bad and it feels like we've made a good step forward. At the moment we need to think about the second part of the race, because this is where we expect more problems, but tomorrow the condition of the asphalt should be improved so hopefully this will also help our tyre performance."
"This morning things were quite good, definitely not perfect but we didn't make a bad start. We had an idea about where we wanted to go this afternoon but unfortunately it didn't work out and we found ourselves in a worse position. I was lacking in traction and felt like I couldn't make the bike go where I wanted to go, which was pretty frustrating. We lost some time this afternoon but we'll have a good look at all the data tonight and go back towards this morning's setting tomorrow and see how it goes. I'm confident that we can find the right way so we're in a position to fight for a good grid spot tomorrow."
"Today was positive for Valentino but more difficult for Colin. With Valentino we're continuing to use the new engine, we have found some positive things with it and it's working well. Plus the new tyres we have here are an improvement for us. We can see that Valentino is already able to ride quite well and his pace is close to the top so we will keep working in the same direction. With Colin we have some more work to do and we have to check very carefully tonight the information we gathered today in order to find a better set-up for him tomorrow. We know he can improve because this morning he was quite fast, so we need to go back in that direction tomorrow."