Tricky first day on the Island
Phillip Island greeted the MotoGP paddock with a full spectrum of unstable conditions today, as the weather switched back and forth between heavy rain and bright sunshine.
Temperatures remained cool throughout the day thanks to a cold
wind off the Bass Straight and it was a delicate day of set-up work for the Fiat Yamaha Team. Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards, both sporting a one-off red and white livery on their M1s inspired by Fiat's famous 'Abarth' racing brand, finished the day fourth and 15th in the combined standings.
After an extremely wet start to the day a dry line had begun to appear by the start of MotoGP practice, although it began to rain heavily again in the last twenty minutes of the session. Rossi made a good start to the day and finished the first session third, with Edwards in 11th.
This afternoon's practice was a much brighter and more stable affair weather-wise, save a few spots of rain mid-way through, and the riders had the chance to start working towards an effective race setting to suit the high-speed nature of the track. Rossi continued to make good progress and finished the day happy with an overall fourth position, 0.423 seconds from Casey Stoner, who topped the time sheets. Edwards meanwhile continued to struggle and was disappointed not to find a clear way forward with the setting of his M1 around what is one of his favourite tracks.
Valentino Rossi :
“The Weather today was unbelievable and the track went from wet to dry four or five times, which made it very difficult to understand. The conditions definitely weren't the best, especially because it was very, very cold. Despite this it was not a bad day; we worked well, tried several different settings and found some good tyre possibilities to keep going with tomorrow. In fact we tried quite a lot of tyres, wet and dry, and our level for the first day in this respect is not so bad, although we will be in better shape if we have a little bit more temperature. At the end we are fourth but it's okay, especially considering that we have a few problems still to deal with, including not enough weight on the front which means I'm not yet fast enough in the long corners. We have some ideas about how to improve on things for tomorrow. I love this track a lot and it's always a great feeling to ride here and with the 800 it is no different. Of course today it wasn't the best conditions to be riding in or to fully enjoy the track, but hopefully tomorrow will be better.”
Colin Edwards :
“Today was not the day I had hoped for starting out at Phillip Island.
The bike was most definitely riding me for most of today and not the other way around! To be honest I was just holding on for most of the time and trying to survive and, try as we might, we couldn't seem to get to a decent base setting. The bike felt pretty nervous and twitchy and we're definitely going to have to change a few things to get it working. Obviously Valentino's doing a lot better with the same bike so we need to look at what he's doing to see if it can help us. We didn't even really get to a stage today where we could gauge how good the tyres were so we've really got some work to do tonight. I'm disappointed because I'm always so excited to come here; it's one of my favourite tracks and I haven't ridden one good lap today. Anyway, we'll have a big meeting tonight, look at the data and I have every faith that my guys will be able to turn things around as usual.”
Davide Brivio :
“Unfortunately the weather has been quite bad at times today and the conditions have not been easy for anyone. Despite this Valentino has made quite a good start and he is in a good position, so now we will just try to keep going like this tomorrow to finalise the best package for him. Colin has had more problems today and we have some work to do to get him into a position where he is comfortable, but it's only Friday so we have time to study the data and make some changes. Now we hope that we have better weather tomorrow so everyone can enjoy being here and we can fulfil our potential.”