Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Gauloises Yamaha Team Preview
Czech Republic Grand Prix, Brno,
26th, 27th, 28th August 2005


The MotoGP World Championship challenge continues for Yamaha next weekend after
a four-week summer break, as the series heads to the Brno circuit in the Czech
Republic for the 11th Grand Prix of the year. The Gauloises Yamaha Team will
travel to the legendary venue, located just over 200 kilometres south-east of
the capital city of Prague, with their batteries fully recharged and confidence
at a premium after a stunning first half of the season, which concluded with
Valentino Rossi's eighth victory from ten races at the Sachsenring circuit at
the end of July. The Italian now needs just two more victories from the
remaining seven rounds to guarantee the title for the fifth successive season.

With his 76th career success in Germany, Rossi also broke into the top three
Grand Prix winners of all-time, having already smashed his way through a
succession of records over the previous four months of racing. In the opening
round at Jerez in April he became the first rider to win the first race of the
season for five consecutive years since Giacomo Agostini, whilst his win at the
Dutch TT made him the first Yamaha rider in history to take five consecutive
victories in the premier-class. Rossi's current championship lead of 120 points
is the largest advantage ever held by a rider after ten races of a season in any
Grand Prix class and he is targeting a similarly successful finish to the
campaign, as he looks to beat his own record of eleven wins in a season.

Rossi's win at Sachsenring was also Yamaha's 139th in the premier-class,
bringing the Japanese manufacturer to joint second in the all-time winners
list.  In the year of its 50th anniversary, Yamaha has established itself as a
dominant force in elite road racing, leading the 2005 manufacturers' standings
with a 38-point advantage and with the Gauloises Yamaha on top of the teams'
standings by 119 points.

The improved performance of the 2005 version YZR-M1 machine has seen Rossi's
Gauloises Yamaha Team colleague Colin Edwards take a starring role in his first
season with the team. After finding his feet with the machine over the opening
stages of the season, the American has been the form rider behind Rossi for the
last four races, propelling his way up the rider standings to within striking
distance of second place in the championship. Edwards currently lies fourth
overall after following up three consecutive top-four finishes with eighth place
at the Sachsenring, but he is only two points short of Rossi's closest current
challenger, Marco Melandri (Honda).

The team plans to stay at Brno for two days of tests after Sunday's Czech Grand
Prix as they prepare to tackle a run of five 'flyaway' races in Japan, Malaysia,
Qatar, Australia and Turkey, before returning to Europe for the final round of
the season at Valencia in Spain on the 6th November.


As well as matching Mike Hailwood's total of 76 Grand Prix victories, a figure
bettered only by the legendary Giacomo Agostini and Angel Nieto, Valentino Rossi
needs just one more win to equal his total of nine from last season - already a
premier class record for a Yamaha rider. The Italian has also equalled
Agostini's record of scoring eight premier-class victories in a season on five
separate occasions and one more will set a new record as the first rider to
score nine wins in a season on five occasions.

"Records are not the most important thing but I am very happy to have the same
number of victories as 'Mike the Bike'," says Rossi, who recently extended his
deal with Yamaha until the end of the 2006 MotoGP World Championship. "I never
saw him race but they tell me he was one of the best, maybe the best ever. I am
now on the podium of all-time winners and this is a big pleasure for me." 

Rossi scored his very first win in Grand Prix racing at Brno in 1996 in the
125cc class, after starting from pole for the first time in his career. Since
then a further three of his 76 victories have come at Brno, including the MotoGP
race in 2001 and 2003, and it is a result he would like to repeat as he looks to
make up from the disappointment of losing there last season.

"This break was very important because the first half of the season has been
very tough and everybody needed to rest! I have been winning races but every one
has been a big battle, almost always with a different rival. Each of the
remaining seven races of this season will be another challenge, but I want to
try to beat my record of eleven wins in a season.

"Brno is definitely not my favourite circuit but I have had good races there in
the past, especially two years ago. It is a high-speed track, but it still has
many turns, as well as some up and downhill sections and a lot of adverse
camber. Last year the Yamaha was not bad there, but I lost a little bit too much
time under acceleration at the beginning and then also under braking towards the
end and in the end it was impossible to beat Gibernau. This year our bike is
much better, so I hope it will be a different result!"


Colin Edwards returns to Europe from a family break in his native Texas with his
sights firmly set on a return to his best form at Brno. Of the riders chasing
second place in the championship, Edwards has been the most consistent
contender, scoring points in every round this season. A continuation of this
high level of performance, coupled with the flashes of race-winning potential he
has shown on the Yamaha M1 at recent races, promise an exciting end to the
season for the former World Superbike Champion.

"It's been nice to have a break - I've spent some time on a fishing trip with my
wife's family and some friends in the Gulf of Mexico and generally just enjoyed
being at home for a while," said Edwards. "But there's no doubt I'm looking
forward to going racing again. I had a disappointing weekend in Germany at the
last round and it's been hard to forget that, so it'll be nice to have the
chance to get back to the form we had shown in previous weeks.

"I like Brno, Motegi, Sepang, Qatar... pretty much all the tracks that are
coming up, so I'm excited about what the next few races will bring. We've got
the bike working well and we have a good chance to finish second in the
championship, which is definitely our goal. Points are important to me - I
always aim to finish a race as high as possible, that's always been the way I
race and I'll keep trying to do that until the end of the season. At the same
time it would be great to win a I'm going to try for both!"


Gauloises Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio is looking forward to bringing his
staff back together at Brno after a the summer break, with the team having
returned to their respective bases across Europe, Australia and Japan to rest
and recuperate from an intense first half of the season. Brivio praised his team
for their efforts over the last ten races and knows that they will now return to
work fully focused on the remaining races, in order to put the seal on what he
hopes will prove to be one of the factory's most successful ever seasons of
Grand Prix racing.

"It was good to have a break and to recharge the batteries for the end of the
year," says Brivio. "The season so far has been very positive because Valentino
has scored eight wins and is leading the championship by a very big advantage of
120 points. Colin has three podiums and he is right in the middle of the battle
for second position in the championship so it was definitely a well-earned break
for the everyone, but now we have to keep this trend going until the end of the

"We still have seven races to go and the next few rounds in particular will be
very important for us. We won at some of the remaining tracks with Valentino
last year so we will be trying to repeat those victories and also Valentino
himself will be determined to win at the circuits where he didn't manage to last


Whilst the current Brno circuit has hosted almost two decades of memorable races
since opening its gates to the World Championship in 1987, tales of local legend
more often refer to the historic encounters on the old road circuit, which still
winds its way through the forests and local villages surrounding the modern
venue. The track was removed from the calendar for safety reasons in 1977, when
21-year-old Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto wrote the final chapter of its colourful
history with Yamaha's first victory there in twelve years of Grand Prix racing.

"The thing I most remember about the race is that my fuel cap came open on the
starting grid and I had to close it myself before push-starting", recalls
Cecotto, who had lapped an incredible four seconds quicker than his nearest
challenger, Pat Hennen, in qualifying. "It meant that I got a really bad start
and I had to fight my way back from last place. Brno was very fast and very long
and to be honest I preferred tracks like Daytona, Imola or Paul Ricard, but for
some reason I just flew around that circuit. One minute you were surrounded by
trees and the next by small houses - there were some amazing corners with steep
drops and it was always a lot of fun to race there."

Cecotto's pole position, lap record and race victory, by a massive 25 seconds
over Yamaha colleague Giacomo Agostini, was made even more remarkable by the
fact that he had already completed an identical clean sweep in the 350cc event
that morning. It also came just seven days after his debut 500 win at Imatra,
despite having missed the majority of the season with a broken left arm,
sustained in the second round at Salzburgring. Those two victories, coupled with
a second place at Anderstorp, saw him end the season in fourth place and still
leave his army of fans pondering over what might have been.

"To win on the 500 was very special because it was always the premier class, but
in those days it was actually tougher in 350cc - there was a much bigger
battle," reflects Cecotto, who had already become the youngest ever World
Champion when he won the title in the smaller category for Yamaha two years
previously. "In 500 there were some fast riders but it wasn't as hard to win and
I think I would have had a big chance to win the title in 1977 if I hadn't
crashed at Salzburgring. It's a shame because it could have been a great year
for me, but nevertheless I have fond memories of my victory at Brno."


Few circuit locations are as historic as that of Brno. The current circuit is
encircled by the tendrils of the various 'real' road layouts that made up the
Czech Grand Prix venues of yesteryear. Used for a Grand Prix for the final time
in 1977, the old track was replaced in 1987 by what is basically the current
incarnation, subtly altered in 1996 to measure 5.403km in length.
The Brno circuit no longer boasts cobblestone sections, but as contemporary
MotoGP circuits go, it is one of the best and most atmospheric, winding its way
first down a hillside, dropping 73 metres from the highest point, before
providing a power-sapping climb back up to the start/finish line. 
Brno has been a good circuit for Yamaha riders in the past and priority number
one will be to dial the YZR-M1 in for the seemingly never-ending succession of
fast chicanes, interspersed with similar radius medium speed corners. Ultra-slow
chicanes and their need for heavy braking loads are conspicuously absent at
Brno.  However there is still a heavier use of front tyre side grip than usual,
due to all the downhill corner entries, with the bike on its side while
negotiating negative cambers many times per lap.
One of the less technically demanding tracks on the calendar, the one crucial
feature of the chassis set-up at the Czech venue is to have a good turn-in
performance to make light work of the propensity of relatively high speed
chicanes. Falling within the traditional Italian August holiday period, local
support from the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany is generally boosted in
Brno by the legion of travelling Rossi, Melandri, Biaggi and Capirossi fans that
colour the hillsides. Invariably, the most numerous and raucous will be those in
the blue and yellow of Valentino Rossi.


Age: 26
Lives: London, UK
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
GP victories: 76 (37 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: 150 (58 x MotoGP, 32 x 500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 40
World Championships - 6 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 3 x MotoGP)

Brno 2004 Results (Yamaha): Grid 3rd, Race 2nd


Age: 31
Lives: Conroe, Texas
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
First GP: Japan, 2003 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 42 (MotoGP)
World Championships - 2 World Superbike
Brno 2004 Results (Honda): Grid 5th, Race 7th
Brno MotoGP lap record: Alex Barros (Honda), 1'59.302 - 2004
Circuit best lap: Valentino Rossi (Honda) 1'58.769 - 2003