MotoGP : Yamaha facing race day challenge
Round: 2 - Estoril MotoGP
Date: 16 April 2005
Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards will start from
the second and third row of the grid respectively for tomorrow's Portuguese
Grand Prix after a highly competitive qualifying session at Estoril this
afternoon. In bright sunshine and tepid ambient temperatures of 16ē degrees,
both Rossi and Edwards mounted pole attacks in an entertaining finale but were
unable to convert their good race pace into a front row grid position.
Rossi, who has taken victory for the past four successive seasons at this
circuit, qualified fourth fastest with a 1'37.643 after working intensively on
the race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine until the final 15 minutes. The World
Champion appeared to have sealed third place on the grid for tomorrow's race
after lapping inside last year's pole record but he was dislodged by a surprise
late flurry from Carlos Checa (Ducati, 1'37.456).
Rossi's Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Edwards also lost places in the late scrap
for times, making a mistake on his best lap and dropping to seventh place with a
1'38.003. Alex Barros (Honda) took pole position with a time of 1'37.202 and is
joined on the front row by Sete Gibernau (Honda, 1'37.329) and Checa.
The Saturday MotoGP programme turned out to be a day of bruised and battered
fairings for the Fortuna Yamaha Team with both Ruben Xaus and Toni Elias tasting
the dirt - once for the former and twice for the latter. Despite this both
riders put in respectable performances - Ruben 12th with a 1'38.949 and Elias
15th with a 1'39.836 - and are looking forward to race day.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) 4th, 1'37.643
"The bike has changed a lot since we raced here last year so we have had to work
hard on the setting. It was probably better this morning than it was in the
afternoon but it is virtually impossible to get a perfect set-up at this track
and fourth place isn't bad. I'm still having problems getting heat into the
left-hand side of the tyre. We tried some different tyres today to try and fix
that but we're still not at 100%. There are four or five guys with a good rhythm
and I think the pace will be very fast tomorrow. If the weather is good then it
should be a group race and it will be a very tough battle."
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) 7th, 1'38.003
"That was tough! We've worked hard this weekend on my race pace and we're pretty
pleased with how it's looking but I had difficulties again on the qualification
tyres. Part of the problem is that you only have two laps to get it right and if
you make a mistake it can cost you several positions on the grid. I ran a little
wide in turn one on my best lap so there are definitely a few tenths we can make
up. Generally we need to make the bike more stable and rider friendly, but we're
getting there. We'll see what happens with the weather tomorrow. I'd prefer it
to be dry for the fans and the TV but I won't mind if it rains - it would be
kind of good to have a wet race at this stage of the season. The bike felt good
in the wet at the Jerez tests. Either way is good for me."
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director
"With Valentino we spent quite a lot of the session working on his race setting.
He has a good pace but we will try to make it better in the morning. Colin also
has a good base set-up but it is fair to say there is room for improvement with
both of them. The last 15 minutes saw a good battle for the hot lap and some
riders emerged who we haven't seen much of this weekend. In any case both our
riders have reasonable grid positions and a good race pace so we are confident.
It is going to be a very tough race. If it rains it will be even more
Ruben Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Team) 12th, 1'38.949
"All the riders are so fast! They're on such an amazing pace. This year it's a
seriously high level out there. Right now we have to do things just as we are,
with a level head while building our pace and experience. We're going in the
right direction with the set-up and I'm starting to get more fluid on the bike.
We still need to improve the set-up a little, but that's because we are
progressively getting faster each time we go out. I had another crash, nothing
serious, I just lost the front."
Toni Elias (Fortuna Yamaha Team) 15th, 1'39.839
"It was a really difficult day. Yesterday everything went so well. to plan you
could say, and I really wanted that to continue today. I was hoping for a top
ten start, and I was confident I could do it because I was so comfortable on the
bike. Then Valentino came past and I thought I'd try to follow him. But I made a
little mistake and that put me on the deck. I guess this is the price you pay
for such a move. I'm not upset, I just want to get on with the job and
concentrate on tomorrow."
Round: 2 - Estoril MotoGP
Circuit Length: 4182m
Lap Record: 1' 39.189 (Valentino Rossi, 2003)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 38.412 (Loris Capirossi, 2003)
Date: 16 April 2005
Session 1 :
Pos.Rider Manufacturer Nat. 1st Qualifying
1 A. Barros Honda BRA 1'37.202
2 S. Gibernau Honda ESP 1'37.329
3 C. Checa Ducati ESP 1'37.456
4 V. Rossi Yamaha ITA 1'37.643
5 M. Melandri Honda ITA 1'37.835
6 L. Capirossi Ducati ITA 1'38.000
7 C. Edwards Yamaha USA 1'38.003
8 M. Biaggi Honda ITA 1'38.009
9 N. Hayden Honda USA 1'38.123
10 S. Nakano Kawasaki JPN 1'38.283
11 J. Hopkins Suzuki USA 1'38.412
12 R. Xaus Yamaha ESP 1'38.949
13 T. Bayliss Honda AUS 1'39.033
14 K. Roberts Suzuki USA 1'39.628
15 T. Elias Yamaha ESP 1'39.836
16 R. Rolfo Ducati ITA 1'41.327