Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Grand Prix of Japan
Motegi, Japan
Friday 16th September


Gauloises Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards tackled the opening
day of action at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit today as high temperatures and
bright sunshine provided ideal track conditions for the first free practice
sessions of the Grand Prix of Japan. Rossi was the fastest Michelin rider on a
day otherwise dominated by local tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, the Italian
just 0.054 seconds off lap record pace in the afternoon despite suffering from a
gearbox problem in the morning session.

Colin Edwards also had a problematic first day at the difficult Japanese
circuit, suffering only his second crash of the season in the morning and then
struggling to regain confidence in the afternoon. Nevertheless the American
ended the day having established a good feeling for the YZR-M1 machine and he is
confident of making major progress with more time on the bike tomorrow.

With John Hopkins (Suzuki) setting the pace ahead of Loris Capirossi (Ducati)
and Kenny Roberts (Suzuki), none of Rossi's championship rivals are ahead of him
on today's time sheets as the Italian looks to seal his fifth consecutive title
on Sunday.

VALENTINO ROSSI (4th - 1'48.574; 47 laps)

"We had a gearbox problem this morning with one of the bikes not downshifting
properly so we probably lost about 15 minutes of the session. Also, for the
first time in some years, we are having difficulty with the tyres and we need to
address that. Michelin have always worked very well for us and now they are
working very hard to find a way forward. Taking that into consideration, fourth
place is not so bad but we still have a lot to do. My rivals for the title are
behind me but at the moment I am not thinking about that too much. My target for
Sunday is to finish on the podium and then we'll have a look at where everybody
else has finished. Motegi is not my favourite circuit but there are some
sections that I like, such as the right-hander after the bridge."

COLIN EDWARDS (11th - 1'48.985; 47 laps)

"I've got no excuses for the crash, it was completely my fault. I got into the
corner too hot. I ran about half a metre off line and lost the front end, trying
to force it back into the corner. Thankfully I'm not used to crashing this
season and you forget how fast these bikes are moving until you jump off! We
lost a bit of time because of it and needed the afternoon to play with the
setting and tyres, but it probably took me four or five laps to get my
confidence back up. By that time I'd used the best part of the tyre and wasn't
able to put a fast lap in at the end. We came here with the setting we found in
the Brno test and it works great at this track. The only problem I had today was
trying to keep the front wheel on the ground so we'll work on that and see what
we can come up with tomorrow."


"As with many Fridays this season we have some work to do with both riders. We
need to understand the bike setting and work hard with Michelin to try
understand the tyres, and it is always hard to do both these things at the same
time. Tonight we will analyse the data and the information that we have gathered
so that we can come up with some solutions tomorrow - this is always the way on
a Friday, it is what they are for! In that respect you could say it was just
'another day at the office' for us!"


 1. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP        1'47.952
 2. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro Team   1'48.053
 3. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP       1'48.263
 4. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Gauloises Yamaha Team  1'48.574
 5. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Movistar Honda MotoGP    1'48.582
 6. Alex Barros (BRA) Camel Honda                1'48.620
 7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team         1'48.646
 8. Max Biaggi (ITA) Repsol Honda Team           1'48.718
 9. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team      1'48.730
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) Movistar Honda          1'48.751
12. COLIN EDWARDS (USA) Gauloises Yamaha Team    1'48.898