Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Gauloises Yamaha Team Preview
Portuguese Grand Prix
Estoril, Portugal
15, 16, 17 April 2005


Almost a year to the day since Valentino Rossi's debut win for Yamaha in the
opening round of the 2004 MotoGP World Championship at Welkom in South Africa,
the Gauloises Yamaha Team head to Portugal this week with the adrenaline still
pumping after an intense start to the new season.

Fresh on the back of his breathtaking final-corner victory over Sete Gibernau at
Jerez on Sunday, Rossi and his Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards stayed
on at the Spanish circuit to complete an extra day of tests on Monday and now
travel west across the Spanish border to prepare for the Portuguese Grand Prix
at Estoril.

Originally scheduled for its traditional September slot later in the season, the
Portuguese Grand Prix has been brought forward to April in place of the
cancelled Rio event, giving Yamaha's engineers the perfect opportunity to
compare the performance of the 2005 version YZR-M1 machine just six months after
racing the '04 bike at the same circuit.

Located on the western tip of Europe, just seven kilometres from the Atlantic
coast, Estoril is always exposed to the elements and a springtime visit promises
to deliver similarly wild and windy conditions to those regularly encountered in
autumn. Rossi and Edwards will be hoping the weather does not tamper with their
Grand Prix preparations as significantly as it did at Jerez, where high winds
rendered the good set-up they had found during three days of tests virtually

Edwards, in particular, found it difficult to adjust and was forced to make
last-minute changes to the setting of his YZR-M1 on race day after qualifying in
15th place. The American fought bravely in the face of adversity to finish in
the top ten but he will benefit from strong support from his team this weekend
as they aim to propel him to the front of the pack.

Edwards' disappointment was counterbalanced on the opposite side of the garage
by Rossi's joy at a determined victory, which came in the final corner of a
27-lap thriller against Gibernau. The reigning World Champion is now citing the
Spaniard as his main challenger for the title, as he has been for the past two
seasons, and expects another close race as he aims to continue a winning run at
Estoril that stretches back to his first triumph there in 2001.


Twelve months on from his momentous debut win for Yamaha in South Africa, Rossi
finds himself back on top of the MotoGP World Championship and with another
slice of history in his sights. Victory this Sunday would make him the first
Yamaha rider in the factory's 50-year history to score five consecutive wins in
the premier class, having equalled Eddie Lawson's 1986 record at Jerez.

"It is always nice to make records but I don't really think about that too
much," commented Rossi. "Sunday was a different feeling to winning at Welkom
last year because it wasn't so much of a surprise, but it was an amazing race
and an important way to start the championship. The level was very high and the
race showed us which aspects of the 2005 bike we need to improve. We have a lot
of work to do but the motivation of the whole team to defend the title is very
high and I want to say thanks to all of my mechanics, to Yamaha and to Michelin
for their efforts.

"Estoril will be another hard battle - the second one of seventeen! For sure
Sete Gibernau is my strongest challenger this year. We have sixteen more races
to go and if he is at that level in every one of them he will be very difficult
to beat.

"The Estoril track is full of bumps and it is important to find a good direction
early on during the weekend.  We want to focus on doing a great job again during
the practice in Portugal and Sunday should be another fantastic show."

Rossi's Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess added that, whilst Jerez was a good
opportunity to compare data from the updated YZR-M1 with the 2004 version at the
same early stage of last season, Estoril will provide a more realistic
reflection of the progress they have made with the new bike over the recent
winter tests. 

"The bike we raced at Jerez last year was in a very early stage of its evolution
but by Estoril it was very well developed," explained the Australian. "The date
change for Portugal this year means it's a comparatively short time since we
last raced there and we will be able to judge more accurately just how far we
have come with the new machine."


The Portuguese Grand Prix cannot come soon enough for Colin Edwards, who is
itching to get back on board his YZR-M1 after a disappointing debut with Yamaha
at Jerez on Sunday. The American felt that his ninth place in the race from 15th
on the grid was below his and the team's expectations but he is happy to have
the chance to put the record straight so quickly.

"We struggled on Sunday, I've got to be honest," explained Edwards, who became
the first rider in MotoGP to race four-stroke machines from three different
factories. "We made a big change to the bike in the morning to try and cope with
the dust on the track but it only made things worse.  However, we sorted a few
things out at the test in Jerez and I'm looking forward to getting to Estoril.

"In my case it's good to have the next round in just a few days' time because I
wasn't entirely happy with the way things went on Sunday. We cost ourselves four
or five points but now we've got the chance to make those up by putting our
heads down and getting on with business.

"It will be nice to get to another track because, if you include tests, we've
now done seven days in a row at Jerez. It's nice to have a change and go to a
track that nobody's tested at during the winter. It's a chance for us to start

Still in just his third year of MotoGP competition, Edwards has made only two
previous visits to the notoriously demanding Estoril circuit but says he is
confident the hard work put in by the whole Gauloises Yamaha Team during the
winter can bear fruit.

"Over the winter we've found a base setting which has worked everywhere except
Jerez, so I'm curious to see what's going to work at Estoril. It's got a long
straight but in general it's a tight and twisty circuit and the Yamaha should
excel. I'm just looking forward to getting there, getting back on the bike and
seeing exactly what we have to work with."


Gauloises Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio has finally recovered his breath
after that heart-stopping last lap at Jerez and says he is hoping for a repeat
performance from Valentino Rossi in Portugal.

"The race in Jerez was great in terms of strategy and performance," commented
the Italian. "Although a lot of the focus has been on the last corner, both
Valentino and Sete ran a very tactical race at a high level throughout. I think
we can expect the same level of close racing from those two riders again at

Like Jeremy Burgess, Brivio is looking forward to comparing the updated YZR-M1
to the data recorded by the 2004 machine at Estoril just over six months ago and
says the whole team will be endeavouring to make sure Colin Edwards is as
comfortable on the bike as Rossi.

"We go to Estoril very interested to see how the bike performs because even
though we won the race on Sunday, the 2005 version YZR-M1 is still very much in
the development phase. Anyway, we will arrive there with the championship lead
and we won the race last year, so we are confident. Our simple aim is to stay at
the top.

"For Colin it is very important to have another race so soon because we need the
chance to work hard with him to make him comfortable on the bike. It was not a
good start to the season for him but we made a short test on the day after the
race and we found some good solutions for his settings which will be very useful
for the next race.  Our target is to get Colin to the front of the pack because
we know he has the potential to be there."


Yamaha head to Estoril this weekend looking to maintain an impressive win ratio
at the Portuguese Grand Prix that currently stands at four out of seven,
including the inaugural event in 1987 and the most recent, held at Estoril last

The first ever Portuguese Grand Prix was actually hosted at the Jarama circuit
in Madrid, with Yamaha riders filling all three steps of the podium. The race
was won by Eddie Lawson, with a nine-second advantage over Randy Mamola and
Kevin Magee, who clinched a surprise third place in just his third Grand Prix

The following season the event was moved south to Jerez, where Yamaha again
dominated. Once more it was Lawson who took victory, with Magee again making the
podium in third place but this time behind new factory colleague Wayne Rainey.
It was the first of Rainey's 64 podium finishes for Yamaha in the 500cc class
and confirmed the arrival of a man who would go on to become one of the sport's
true legends.

After an absence of over a decade, Portugal returned to the calendar in 2000 and
was again won by Yamaha, with Garry McCoy sliding his way to the top of the
podium in the first ever race on Portuguese soil at Estoril. Valentino Rossi has
won every race at the coastal circuit since then, including a masterful triumph
over Makoto Tamada for Yamaha last season.


The Autodromo Fernanda Pires de Silva is frequently blessed and cursed by the
changing moods of the mighty Atlantic Ocean.  At times wet and frequently windy,
the 4.182km hilltop circuit is often a hostage of the elements; with accurate
prediction of the race weekend weather a near impossibility.

Estoril is a circuit of extreme contrasts.  One of the lengthiest main straights
in MotoGP allows speeds of over 340km/h to be reached and yet the chicane is one
of the slowest corners on the 17-round MotoGP trail. The track itself has the
slowest average speed and the throttle is seldom overworked on the extensively
twisty and tortuous infield sections, riddled as they are by a host of second
and third gear bends. However, the 200km/h turn five kink and final Parabolica
corner are two of the toughest tests of any rider and machine's cornering prowess.

With such contrasting challenges to overcome, the team mechanics and Michelin
tyre technicians have no choice but to opt for compromise settings. Suspension
front and rear has to be generally set to work best towards the end of the race,
to aid the tyres after such an extensive workout on the circuit's nine right and
four left hand corners.


Age: 26
Lives: London, UK
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
GP victories: 69 (30 X MotoGP, 13 X 500cc, 14 X 250cc, 12 X 125cc)
First GP victory:  Czech Republic, 1996 (125cc)
First GP: Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
GP starts: 141 (49 x MotoGP, 32 x 500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
GP Pole positions: 36
World Championships - 6 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 3 x MotoGP)
Estoril 2004 results (Yamaha): Grid: 2nd, Race: 1st


Age: 31
Lives: Conroe, Texas
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
GP victories: -
First GP: Japan, 2002 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 33
Pole positions: -
World Championships  - 2 World Superbike
Estoril 2004 results (Honda): Grid: 8th, Race: 9th

Estoril MotoGP lap record:

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), 1m 38.423s - 2004

Circuit best lap:

Makoto Tamada (Honda), 1m 37.933s - 2004