“We're a long way behind”
Scorching sunshine welcomed the MotoGP paddock to Motegi today as the fifteenth round of the season got underway at the Japanese track.
Temperatures reached a maximum of 34 degrees during this afternoon's free practice and it was a difficult
day's work for the riders and teams alike, with Fiat Yamaha pair Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi finishing the day 11th and 14th respectively in the combined standings, which were topped by Dani Pedrosa.
Just five days after his spectacular victory in Portugal, Rossi got off to a less auspicious start today, finishing the morning session fifth but dropping to fourteenth this afternoon after his number one bike suffered a technical problem and he was forced to complete the hour on his second machine.
Edwards meanwhile did not fare much better, finding himself down in 13th this morning and climbing just two places in the second session, despite making some improvements to his set-up this afternoon.
"This morning and early this afternoon things were not looking good at all! We couldn't find the right setting or the right tyre and we were crossing our fingers that something was going to work out for us. Mid-way through the afternoon however we tried our last tyre and we were immediately one second faster, so at least there's no doubt now that's the right direction to follow. We've got a lot more work to do, both on setting and with the tyres, so we need to have a good look at the situation tonight to make sure we make the most of the time we've got left to us.
We were two seconds off the pace and now we've closed that gap to one but that's still way too much and we're really going to have to pull out all the stops tomorrow."
"Today was very, very hot, much more than we expected. We're a long way behind because unfortunately we were following different set-ups with my two bikes and the one that was working better had a technical problem. On my second bike, with the different setting, I wasn't able to improve and so here I am in 14th. The situation with the tyres is not so good and we have a lot of work to do, even if we know that Michelin can work here because they are in front with another rider. For us the situation isn't great at the moment and we need to find a way to turn this around. It's the first day and I know that if we can improve a few things then we can be in a better position. We have to do the maximum tomorrow and see where we get to."
"We have some work to do! We used today to assess the situation and see where we are, but it's clear that we have some issues with both riders and we need to do our best to improve the situation. We will work with the best tyre we have available and hopefully if we find some small advantages with the bike then we can improve our position. Valentino had a problem with his engine this afternoon and so we will also be checking carefully to fully understand what has happened."