GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM RELEASE
GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM PREVIEW
Qatar Grand Prix
Losail International Circuit, Doha
29, 30 September & 1 October 2005
GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM GET BACK TO WORK AT QATAR
The champagne may have only just stopped flowing at Valentino Rossi's title
celebrations but the Gauloises Yamaha Team arrive in Qatar this week for the
last of three consecutive races in Asia with their attention firmly fixed on
continuing their dominance of the MotoGP World Championship. The fourteenth
round of the season gets underway at the Losail International Circuit on
Thursday with Rossi riding without the pressure of competing for the title and
focusing only on taking the victory he feels he was denied at this track last
year, when he was forced to start the race from the back of the grid.
After clinching a decisive second place at Sepang, the 2005 MotoGP World
Champion returned to his native Italy on Sunday night to celebrate his fifth
consecutive premier-class crown with close friends and family before returning
to the Middle East for MotoGP's second visit to Qatar. The trip home presented
an ideal opportunity for Rossi to reflect on a record-breaking year, which has
seen him surpass the legendary Mike Hailwood as the third most successful Grand
Prix racer of all time behind Giacomo Agostini and Angel Nieto, before turning
his attentions to the final four races of the season.
The Grand Prix of Qatar represents unfinished business for Rossi, who slid out
of the inaugural race last season after slicing through the pack and making up
nineteen positions over the opening four laps. Rossi's Gauloises Yamaha
team-mate Colin Edwards has travelled straight from Malaysia to Qatar with
completely contrasting memories to Rossi of last year's event.
The American clocked the fastest lap of the race no fewer than six times on the
way to setting a new circuit record and equalling his best ever MotoGP finish of
second place, a result he would be delighted to repeat as he aims to end a run
of disappointing results that stretches back to his fourth place finish at
Donington Park. After two consecutive victories for Loris Capirossi (Ducati),
Edwards has dropped to fourth in the championship, twenty points behind
second-placed Max Biaggi (Honda) in what looks certain to be a nail-biting
battle for the runner-up spot.
VALENTINO ROSSI: A SCORE TO SETTLE
Valentino Rossi heads from Italy to Qatar this week with the sweet taste of
champagne replaced by the hunger for revenge. After leaving the celebrations of
his seventh Grand Prix title behind him the World Champion will certainly not be
in party mood when he takes to the Losail International Circuit for first free
practice on Thursday morning, aiming to become the first Yamaha rider ever to
take ten victories in a single season.
"To be honest I don't really like the circuit," admits Rossi. "Last year it was
like a motocross track, there was so much sand out there! I don't know whether
it will be better this year but I hope so. I've also got really bad memories of
last season. You could say I have a score to settle with the circuit. We have
had some problems with the bike and the tyres over the past couple of rounds but
hopefully they will be solved easily at this circuit and allow us to fight for
the victory again.
"Racing with Yamaha gives me a great motivation to win; these last two
championships have been two of the best. We made a little party in Malaysia with
my mother and some of my best friends from Italy and it was fun to go back home
with them to rest, even though it was only a short visit. I have been able to
relax a little and now I am ready for the last four races."
COLIN EDWARDS: HAPPY HUNTING GROUND
The Grand Prix of Qatar can't come quickly enough for Colin Edwards, who is
desperate to get his YZR-M1 machine to a circuit where he has a proven track
record after struggling with set-up difficulties over the last few rounds.
Edwards came closer to MotoGP victory at the Losail International Circuit last
season than he has at any other venue on the calendar and the American is hoping
to go one better this time around.
"I liked the circuit in Qatar right from the beginning last season," says
Edwards. "I had one of my best races of the year and I've been looking forward
to this weekend ever since my bad run started at Sachsenring. It has a real
mixture of corners and even though the surface is a little dirty, if you can get
a good grid position and get away at the front then you have a chance. Things
haven't gone our way recently but I still think I can win a race before the end
of the season and there is no reason why it can't be here.
"We had a lot of unexpected problems at Sepang but we had a long meeting after
the race on Sunday and hopefully things can work out in Qatar. It will be very
hot again, as it was in Malaysia, but to be honest I'm not bothered by the heat.
It makes life hard for everybody but I feel fit and strong and I'm looking
forward to it."
DAVIDE BRIVIO: IT'S NOT OVER YET
Gauloises Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio is still smiling after seeing
Valentino Rossi bring the MotoGP World Championship home to Yamaha for the
second successive season but insists there is still plenty of hard work to be
done before the year is out. The Italian admits feeling a sense of relief after
his compatriot clinched the title in Malaysia but says the team have other
targets to meet before the season is out.
"After being under pressure for a few rounds it was a fantastic feeling to
finally win the title in Malaysia," says Brivio. "We had a couple of difficult
weekends at Motegi and Sepang but in the end the advantage we built up over the
first eleven races of the season was decisive. The engineers, team crew,
management... everybody has given 110% to support Valentino in the best possible
"I want to thank all those people, our technical partners and anybody else who
has been involved in this project and made it possible. These past two years
will go down in the rich history of this sport; it is a fantastic achievement
and an honour for us all to be a part of the legend.
"Qatar was a strange race last year but we are going there much more relaxed
this time. Everybody knows that the season is a long way from over. We have met
our first objective, which was the riders' championship, but now we want to
follow that up with the constructors' and teams' titles, as well as giving Colin
Edwards our full support as he fights for second place. It is important that we
continue to do our jobs properly and continue to give 100% effort until the end
of the season."
Based on the outskirts of the capital city of Doha, the Losail International
Circuit hosted the MotoGP World Championship for the first time in 2004 after an
incredible round-the-clock project that took a little over a year to complete,
with an investment of around $58 million USD and 1,000 full-time workers. With
the only current data available coming from that inaugural Grand Prix last
October, there are still plenty of questions for the Gauloises Yamaha Team
engineers, mechanics and technicians to answer when practice gets underway this
The 5.4 kilometre track features sixteen corners, ten to the right and six to
the left, with a series of fast sweeping sections based on existing Grand Prix
circuits around the world, which proved immensely popular with the riders last
season. One factor that didn't bode well with either the riders or the teams,
however, was the excessive amount of surface dirt and sand, which blows onto the
track from the neighbouring desert.
With a long straight measuring 1,068m and a good mix of corners, as well as
extremely high track temperatures in excess of 50ēC, the base setting of the
bike will be similar to that used at Sepang, with the focus on finding a good
balance between the brakes and suspension in order to give stability under hard
braking but sufficient feel to find the required level grip.
VALENTINO ROSSI: INFORMATION
Lives: London, UK
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
GP victories: 78 (39 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: 152 (62 x MotoGP, 32 x 500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 40
World Championships - 7 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 4 x MotoGP)
Qatar 2004 Results (Yamaha): Grid 21st, Race DNF
COLIN EDWARDS: INFORMATION
Lives: Conroe, Texas
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
First GP: Japan, 2003 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 45 (MotoGP)
World Championships - 2 World Superbike
Qatar 2004 Results (Honda): Grid 10th, Race 2nd