Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
French Grand Prix
Le Mans, France
Friday 13th May


The Gauloises Yamaha Team's preparations for the fourth round of the MotoGP
World Championship in France were hit by rain on a typically gloomy first day of
action at Le Mans this afternoon. Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards had made a
positive start to the weekend with consistently fast times in the first free
practice in the morning, with Edwards topping the time sheets by 0.366 seconds
from his team-mate, who was fourth fastest.

However, the dense grey clouds hanging ominously over the legendary circuit
finally gave way halfway into the afternoon session and the riders were forced
to take shelter in the pit box. Whilst the rain quickly ceased and allowed the
riders to return to action for the rest of the session, the track remained damp
and prevented the riders from improving any further, with Edwards and Rossi both
unable to better their morning times and completing just fourteen laps between

The only option for the team was to concentrate solely on gathering information
about the performance of the Yamaha YZR-M1 in the damp conditions, with the
unpredictable weather expected to continue for the rest of the weekend and a
very real possibility of a third wet race in succession. Alex Barros (Honda)
holds the quickest time overnight after posting a lap of 1'31.171 on his ninth
lap of the afternoon session, just before the rain struck, with Colin Edwards
fourth and Valentino Rossi fifth overall. The action continues with the third
free practice and single qualifying practice on Saturday.

COLIN EDWARDS (1'34.701, 36 laps)

"I get along with this track and so does the bike. This morning I was turning
out 1'34 after 1'34 and I was comfortable, the bike felt great. We began the
afternoon session testing out a couple of tyres for Michelin but they weren't
really what we were looking for; then we returned to the same tyre we had in the
morning and it started raining. We don't know what to expect for the rest of the
weekend in terms of the weather but whether it's rain, hail, snow or sunshine,
I'll be ready."

VALENTINO ROSSI - (1'35.067, 30 laps)

"I was also trying a different tyre for Michelin at the start of the afternoon
session and we stayed out there maybe a bit too long as it wasn't right. I came
in to change but then it started raining and we ended up further down the time
sheets than we would like to be. It's only free practice, though, so it doesn't
matter. After that the conditions were very difficult as it was drying in some
areas but very wet in others so we didn't really learn anything. This morning
things went well and I was confident of a good session in the afternoon. We used
the base we had found for a dry race in China and it was working well. The
weather is not looking good and if it rains I'm just hoping we can find a good
setting, like in China, although I'd prefer it to be dry. I'm a bit fed up
actually, it seems as though the bad weather is following us around. Where is


"In the dry conditions this morning both riders were consistently fast so that's
a good sign for the rest of the weekend, regardless of the weather this
afternoon. I think it's important to set the record straight about some comments
reported in the Italian media this morning as they seem to have appeared
elsewhere now. I said that we are going to start working on an extension to
Valentino's contract and we will be discussing it after Mugello. I was then
asked about any plan Valentino might have to drive in Formula One and I said
that would be Valentino's decision and it might happen. I certainly did not say
that he would be in F1 from 2007. From Yamaha's side we hope that he will still
be riding for us but I cannot predict Valentino's future!"


 1. Alex Barros (BRA) Camel Honda                1'34.171
 2. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Movistar Honda MotoGP    1'34.290
 3. Max Biaggi (ITA) Repsol Honda Team           1'34.618
 4. COLIN EDWARDS (USA) Gauloises Yamaha Team    1'34.701
 5. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Gauloises Yamaha Team  1'35.067
 6. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team     1'35.067
 7. Marco Melandri (ITA) Movistar Honda MotoGP   1'35.125
 8. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP        1'35.127
 9. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team      1'35.206
10. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team         1'35.359