Jerez : Fiat Yamaha – Day One
The first European race of the season got off to a slightly shaky start for Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards today, with the Fiat Yamaha Team riders struggling for rear grip at the Andalucian circuit of Jerez.
The Italian and the American
finished the day in sixth and ninth respectively and the weekend promises to be a close battle, with the top 12 riders all within half a second of each other after two free practice sessions.
Despite clear skies and sunshine, this morning's first practice was run in cold temperatures and, with the track temperature reaching a maximum of only 15 degrees, the conditions did not provide the riders with much chance to really get to grips with bike and tyre set-up.
This afternoon was considerably warmer and both Rossi and Edwards improved their times and their general race-pace, but neither rider was able to find the perfect tyre combination with the current setting on their M1 and will hope to make considerable improvements tomorrow.
The best time of the day was recorded by Honda rider and Spanish favourite Carlos Checa, who set a best lap of 1'40.851.
Valentino Rossi :
« Today was quite difficult for us, compared to how we began in Qatar! Unfortunately the situation with the tyre is not perfect, we don't have enough grip and the problem is made worse because the condition of the track isn't so good either. We have a lot less grip than we had at the test here so now we need to work more on the setting of the bike in order to improve the grip with the tyres we have. This morning the problem was a lot worse and we were quite worried after the first session, but we've worked very hard today and the situation this afternoon is a lot better. Anyway we're not that far away at the end of the day, only sixth, and all the riders are very close together so I don't think we need to worry yet. It's clear that some of our rivals are very strong and it's going to be a hard battle, so we need to make the most of the time we have left.
I hope that the track grip will improve tomorrow as more rubber is laid down and I hope it will also be a little bit warmer in the morning so we can work properly during free practice.”
Colin Edwards :
"We've definitely got a little bit of a problem to deal with and I can't say we're in the same shape we were in at this stage of the Qatar race! We know what tyre worked here at the test and the bike is basically the same, with a few improvements, but the conditions here today are pretty different and it seems things aren't quite working the way we expected. The main problem is that we can't get the rear to hold on and we're just sliding around a bit. It's disappointing because at the test here our grip and our speed through the corners was our best thing, but here it seems we've lost that a bit and we're not entirely sure why at the moment! We've tried quite a few different tyres but we couldn't find something that worked perfectly today. We're obviously restricted with our tyre choice because of the new rules, so now we're going to need to make some changes to the bike in order to get it to work with what we've got. The bike feels great and I'm happy with it, it's just a matter of grip. We've got a lot of ideas and we'll have a good chat about it tonight and start again in the morning. I am sure we'll be able to come up with something!"
Davide Brivio :
“Compared to the test we have a lot less grip so now we have to work at 100% to find a way to make the bike work with the tyres we've got. The team and riders are working hard together to find the right combination between the elements and tomorrow we will keep going. Obviously the situation isn't perfect and we need to come up with some good ideas as at the moment we're not in the best race-shape, but we're confident we can make some big improvements tomorrow. This morning was very cold and it was difficult to work properly like that so really we only had the afternoon. Let's hope it's warmer tomorrow!"