For Tech 3 Yamaha
The Tech 3 Yamaha Team equalled its best result of the 2006 season as Carlos Checa finished in a superb seventh position after an action packed Grande Premio de Portugal at the Estoril circuit.
It was a fitting result to help celebrate Carlos' 34th
Besides his excellent seventh place, Carlos also recorded the seventh fastest lap of the race just 0.050 second slower than new championship leader and fellow Yamaha rider, Valentino Rossi and prove the continued advancement that the Dunlop tyres have achieved in recent weeks.
For his team mate, James Ellison it was a hard fought battle to finish in 13th position after a bad start saw him involved in an intense tussle with Alex Hoffman.
In his endeavours to pass the German, he lost some grip and was forced to play it safe to ensure he brought his Yamaha home to secure more championship points.
Carlos Checa (7th, Fastest lap 1'38.306)
"I am very satisfied with this result but it could've been much worse as I had some difficulty in the first corner. I touched with (Chris) Vermeulen as he braked very deep inside me and I know that first turn can have some big troubles and I wanted to have some space. After that I passed some riders and I was really having fun because it was the first time for awhile I have been able pass some riders and race. Then I caught the group with Elias and Roberts but then I started to lose the stability of the rear and it started moving around. Also I lost the side grip particularly on the final turn so I lose three or four tenths each lap and combined with the lose of stability this didn't give me a chance to stay with them. I swapped places with Tamada a few times but then I couldn't keep with him.
I was riding so hard I nearly ran off the track and then Hopkins passed me I was lucky to stay on the track so I decided I had to finish the race and conserve the tyre as much as I could so this seventh place finish was very acceptable considering these difficulties.”
James Ellison (13thFastest lap 1'39.887)
"To be honest the race was a bit of a disaster that commenced at the start as I was out-dragged by Alex (Hoffman) because I really wanted to stay in front of him and try and tag on the end of Carlos and keep the guys I out-qualified behind me because I knew if they were in front they would hold me up. It's pretty difficult to pass around this track without making some desperate moves. It was a fight to get past him for six or seven laps as he was really holding me up. I tried slip-streaming himdown the straight but he was doing some good blocks on me then by seven laps I had lost all grip trying to ride too hard to get past him. It was a real handful to ride as it was sliding all over the place so I gradually I dropped back. That's it basically so it's extremely disappointing."
Herve Poncharal - Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director
"It was a very good day for Yamaha today overall. We are very happy because we equalled our best race result from the US Grand Prix. Even though Carlos had some problems at the first corner and was about 13th or 14th at the end of the first lap, it is a credit to the tenacity of him that he kept his cool and kept his head down to recover a lot of positions. During the first 10 laps he was as quick or even quicker than some of the leaders and was riding a really great race at that moment but he had a coming together with Tamada and Hopkins and he lost some ground, around five seconds."
"We are very happy because we have proved we have reached another step. After Japan it was very important to have a good race and result here."
"I'm really hoping he will stay with us for next year and hopefully we will find out tonight. We gave him a cake this morning and hopefully we can celebrate his birthday and the result with some champagne later."
"I would also like to offer my congratulations to Valentino as he moves in to the championship lead so overall it has been a very successful day for Yamaha"