Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Gauloises Yamaha Team Preview
British Grand Prix, Donington Park
22nd, 23rd, 24th July 2005


The 2005 MotoGP World Championship reaches its halfway stage this weekend as the
Gauloises Yamaha Team heads back to Europe for the British Grand Prix at
Donington Park. After consecutive podium doubles for Valentino Rossi and Colin
Edwards in the last two rounds at Assen and Laguna Seca, both riders are
confident of continuing their form at a circuit where they claimed the top two
steps of the rostrum one year ago.

After taking third place on his first visit to Laguna Seca last week, Rossi's
podium run now stretches to an impressive eleven races. The Italian has made
Donington Park his own over the past few seasons, taking victory in all but one
of the MotoGP races there since 2001, adding to previous successes in the 125cc
and 250cc classes. He now returns to the scene of his debut premier-class
victory with a 79-point lead at the top of the championship standings.

Edwards will again be counting on huge local backing, with his army of British
fans following up the excellent support he received at his home Grand Prix last
week. The American managed successive podiums for the first time in his MotoGP
career at Laguna Seca and moved up to fifth place in the championship.  He is
now looking for a podium hat-trick as he chases down second place in the
championship, with just 14 points now separating him from Rossi's closest
pursuer Marco Melandri (Honda).

The Donington Park circuit is known for its vastly contrasting sections, which
require a competitive overall machine set-up to cope with the combination of
fast, flowing corners in the opening half of the circuit and the stop-start
chicanes towards the end of the lap. Last year's YZR-M1 machine proved to be
more than competent, with Rossi winning the race by a comfortable 2.945 second
margin over Edwards, but the 2005 version has already shown that it is a more
complete motorcycle with six wins from the opening eight rounds of the season,
and it should adapt perfectly to the demands of the Derbyshire circuit.

After a revised weekend timetable designed to accommodate a host of support
events and provide extra track time for the MotoGP riders at Laguna Seca, normal
service is resumed for practice at Donington Park, although the race-day
schedule has been altered slightly. The red lights will go out for the 30-lap
MotoGP event at 15:30 local time on Sunday.


As well as being his favourite venue on the calendar, Donington Park is also the
closest circuit to Valentino Rossi's home city of London. The flamboyant Italian
moved to the English capital in 2000 as he looked to avoid the constant glare of
the media and fans in his own country and is aiming to use his local familiarity
to bounce back to the top step of the rostrum after taking third place on his
first visit to Laguna Seca in the last round.

"I was very happy to finish on the podium at Laguna Seca because it was my first
time at the track and we knew it would be hard to battle with the Americans
there," said Rossi, who will be addressing the British press at a special event
in an Italian restaurant on Park Lane, London, on Wednesday. "We didn't have
time to learn everything about the track and find the perfect setting for the
bike, but I was close to the winner and that is important because now we go to
Donington Park, a track I know well.

"I always look forward to riding at Donington because it is close to my house
and now it is like a second home Grand Prix for me. It has been one of my
favourite tracks ever since I rode the 125 and I have a lot of good memories -
especially my first win with the 500 in 2001.

"Last year also was a good race with the Yamaha. It was an important time of the
season, just before the summer, and we were making a lot of progress with the
bike so I was able to win. Anyway, Colin was very strong in that race and I know
he will be strong again this weekend. Marco Melandri is fast at Donington and
also Nicky Hayden is in a very good moment, so I think it will be a big battle."


For Colin Edwards there is only one target this weekend as he sets his sights
firmly on a first MotoGP victory to go with third and second place finishes
respectively in the last two rounds. The American has plenty of experience at
the British circuit, thanks to his regular appearances there in the World
Superbike series, and he will also be looking to make local knowledge count in
the same way he did at Laguna Seca.

"I had a good result last year, ending up second, and at the time I was riding a
bike I wasn't completely comfortable with," recalls Edwards. "Now I'm going
there on the back of a third, a second... I'm guessing it must be time for a
first! I like Donington, I always get along with it and it's been one of my
favourite tracks for a long time, so we're rolling up there looking to win."

Edwards is currently in his best run of form since joining the MotoGP series two
and a half seasons ago and, with just 14 points separating the three riders in
front of him, the Texan says he is keen to keep the ball rolling as the team
define their objectives for the rest of the season.

"With everything going on around Laguna, all the hype and concerns about the
track and everything else, I think it just became one of those pivotal weekends.
Barros and Melandri crashed out of the race and the points have scrunched up a
lot. As far as the title race is concerned... I'm not saying it's over yet but
basically Valentino is gone! So our target is to finish second in the
championship, to get a one-two for Yamaha, and we're approaching the rest of the
season with that attitude."


Gauloises Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio is looking forward to every Grand
Prix at the moment, with both his riders in excellent form and the 2005 YZR-M1
machine consistently showing improved levels of consistency and performance over
previous models. The Italian returned straight home from Laguna Seca to lead
operations as the Team prepares for two European rounds in consecutive weekends
at Donington Park and Sachsenring.

"This is a very positive moment for us - Laguna Seca was the third time we have
had both riders on the podium this season and the second in a row so we are all
feeling confident," says Brivio. "It was great to see both yellow, white and
black bikes on the podium in America for Yamaha's 50th Anniversary but now we
are back to our standard colours to continue the job in Europe.

"Valentino wants to confirm his leadership in the championship again and he
likes the track very much, as does Colin, who has a lot of experience at
Donington Park. Last year both our riders were on the top two steps of the
podium so our target is to repeat that, whichever way around they are! It won't
be easy because our competitors are strong at the moment; it's going to be
another tough race!

"Donington is a special track because it combines a section of very fast and
flowing corners with a slow section full of chicanes, so you need to have a bike
that is good in all conditions. Last year Valentino ran the race on his own so
we know the M1 works there and in theory it should be better this year because
so far this season the 2005 bike has been much easier to set-up. That is the
theory but we'll see what happens when we get there!"


For many fans and journalists in Britain, the arrival of the MotoGP World
Championship conjures up memories of one of the most exciting motorcycle races
of all time. The 1979 British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the first to be
screened live on national television and became one of the most talked about
races in history, after a thrilling clash between national hero Barry Sheene and
his American Yamaha nemesis Kenny Roberts, who had wrestled the title from the
Londoner the previous season.

The pair went head-to-head in a breathtaking battle over 28 laps, famously
exchanging gestures and hand signals throughout the race before a final corner
dash to the line which saw the Yamaha rider take the flag by just 0.3 seconds.
"There are two races from my career that people will come up to me and say: 'I
was at the race', and I instantly know what they mean" says Roberts, who won a
hat-trick of 500cc World Championship titles for Yamaha from 1978-80. "In
America they mean the Indy mile that I won on the two-stroke Yamaha in 1975 and
in Britain they mean Silverstone 1979. It's just one of those races that sticks
in people's minds.

"It was a race where every lap or two we changed positions. Barry would get in
front and slow me down and then I'd get in front and pick the pace up and we'd
leave the other three guys behind. Then he'd get in front again and I'd be
saying: 'Hey! Get going!' I knew I couldn't outrun him but I didn't want him
slowing us down and letting everybody else catch up. So initially I was just
telling him to get a move on, but Barry took it the wrong way.

"They got the classic picture when he gave me a sign behind his back! We both
knew it was going to come down to the last lap because I couldn't outrun him and
he couldn't outrun me. Sure enough, it ended up last lap, last corner and I was
just able to pull it off.

"Of course Barry was one of my biggest rivals and at the time our relationship
wasn't the best, but we respected each other and we since became close friends -
he was one of the sport's greats and he is missed by everybody. We were close on
the track but Silverstone was one of the circuits that was very fast and it just
suited my style. There were other races where I had to ride harder or be more
clever, but the one everybody remembers is the British Grand Prix in 1979."


Donington Park is a track of two halves. One section is slow and less
interesting for the riders and spectators alike, the other is faster and more
flowing. Machine set-up is also therefore something of a compromise, with strong
front fork springs and sharp steering the ideal solutions for hard braking and
swift flick-in at the chicane and last two hairpins, while the rest of the
undulating fast and medium corners require suppleness from the front suspension
and a high degree of stability mid corner, and a firmer set-up on the rear to
help with corner exit traction.

Horsepower is less of a factor at Donington than some circuits, but clean engine
response and exact gearing choices are essential to handle such a variety of
corners, as the track runs downhill from the start to the Old Hairpin, then back
uphill to the flat section behind the pits.

Working conditions at the ageing Donington track are far from ideal but the
track layout is the type that provokes either love or hate, such is its
individuality. The prevalent off-camber nature of Donington is one of the main
factors at play during any British GP weekend, with a large tendency for the
front tyre to push, making the right, left, right flick down the Craner Curve
section something of a high tension rollercoaster ride. A dramatic viewing
experience, Donington sits inside an amphitheatre style setting, with the
spectator bankings ringing around the outside.


Age: 26
Lives: London, UK
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
GP victories: 74 (35 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: 148 (56 x MotoGP, 32 x 500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 39
World Championships - 6 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 3 x MotoGP)

Donington 2005 Results (Yamaha): Grid 1st, Race 1st 


Age: 31
Lives: Conroe, Texas
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
First GP: Japan, 2003 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 40 (MotoGP)
World Championships - 2 World Superbike

Donington 2005 Results (Honda): Grid 5th, Race 2nd

Donington MotoGP lap record:

Colin Edwards (Honda), 1m 29.973s - 2004

Circuit best lap:

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1m 28.720s - 2004