For Tech 3 Yamaha Team in Le Mans
The home Grand Prix for the Tech 3 Yamaha Team provided the best result of the season so far as lead rider, Carlos Checa finished 11th overall with teammate James Ellison also scoring championship points finishing 14th.
In his 100th
appearance for Yamaha in the premier class, Checa was involved in an exciting battle with factory riders Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), Tony Elias (Honda) and Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki). Carlos is now the second longest serving Yamaha rider in the premier class behind Norick Abe who had 162 starts for the innovative Japanese company.
The result added further confirmation to the improvement in the Dunlop race tyres the team is using during the 2006 season with Carlos the closest he has been to the leading pack at the end of the race. The team will remained at the Le Mans circuit for a further two days to evaluate a range of the latest Dunlop rubber with various specifications for wet and dry conditions.
Carlos Checa (11th, Fastest lap 1'36.781)
"It was a good result and I also feel it is the best progress for the year as well. At the beginning I was putting in good lap times but after lap 11 or 12 the rear tyre dropped down and I couldn't keep the pace and of course I was thinking about finishing the race. I tried to keep in the 37's and keep the battle going with Vermeulen and Elias but I had a lot of movement at the rear and I thought ‘ok I want to keep the tyre as good as possible.
' Then Nakano was coming and I tried to push more to keep Nakano behind and I managed to do this. It was good to have a fight for most of the race. We will take a lot of information away from here. We know where we are and where we want to go."
"I was very happy with the progress of the bike and now we have two days of testing. I hope we can test many things that we have planned whether it is wet or dry especially on tyres and also to confirm all the settings on the bike that we think can help. I'm looking forward to this as at Turkey and China I was a little bit depressed as we seemed to keep hitting the same wall all the time but now I think we have jumped over the wall and we are much more in front than what we were and this is very satisfying for the team. Even if we are a bit behind we have improved the areas a lot more than before. I hope in two days we can finish everything because you always want to test more. I'm ready to test the two days and I have a lot of motivation to do this so we now know we have some direction to head and what we need to go faster. Dunlop has brought many things and has many ideas so it should be a big help for the next few races."
James Ellison (14th Fastest lap 1'37.572)
"The race wasn't so bad actually and I'm happy when I see my lap times are getting closer to Carlos all the time. We really made some positive progress this weekend. The way the race went was a good boost to myself as besides getting closer to Carlos's time I feel that I'm moving forward as I'm getting closer to the leaders in race time by the end of the race as well, but we have to improve so we can keep doing those lap times for most of the race. I'm looking forward to Monday and Tuesday where we have a full two-day test and I think we can make big improvements."
"It'll be great to get in two solid days of testing. I don't care what the weather's like as long as we get through the allocation of tyres we have. There's a lot of things I want to try on the bike as well so hopefully it will be dry so we can do all the work. What we want to do is start playing around with angles swingarm length and all that sort of stuff to find the best settings as obviously the tyres have a lot different characteristics to what the other Yamaha riders are using."
Hervé Poncharal - Tech3 Yamaha Team Director
"This has been the best weekend of the season so far. We have the best race position with 47 seconds to the leaders which is the closest gap we have ever had so far. Most important was the first half of the race as we were together with Vermeulen and Elias lapping at the same pace and I think that is the first time that has happened too. Unfortunately the second part of the race we struggled a little bit to keep the same pace and that is what we have to work on. In China we had the consistency without the performance. Now we have the performance but we have lost a little consistency so clearly this is what we have to work on."
"We are testing here Monday and Tuesday and Dunlop has brought plenty of tyres to test. The test will now be a lot easier when you have a more positive frame of mind because although it is not the best thing that can happen to finish 11th, it is not too bad when you know how competitive the MotoGP grid is. James also had his best race with both riders in the points and he continues to improve and get faster every time he rides the bike. We had a lot of laps in the dry and wet as we closed the gap to everyone else so we know now we're heading in the right direction and after this test I think things will be even better."
Press Release Yamaha