Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Gauloises Yamaha Team Preview

Australian Grand Prix
Phillip Island, Australia
14, 15, 16 October 2005 


Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards will be looking to turn Phillip Island a
Gauloises Yamaha shade of blue this weekend as they head south to the state of
Victoria in Australia with one remaining joint objective for the season. With
three rounds to go and the riders' and teams' world championship titles already
in the bag, Yamaha needs to leave Phillip Island 50 points clear of its nearest
rival in the standings to secure the manufacturers' championship for the first
time since 2000. This would put the shine on a season of unprecedented Grand
Prix success for the factory in the year of its 50th Anniversary.

Rossi already has ten wins to his name this year, more than any other Yamaha
rider has ever previously managed in a single campaign, and has his eye on
number eleven at a circuit where he has taken victory for each of the last four
seasons. His most recent victory there last year clinched the MotoGP World
Championship for Yamaha for the first time in over a decade and ensured many
happy memories for the team, with several members of Rossi's pit crew hailing
from Australia.

Colin Edwards also has a special affiliation with Australia, as it is the
country of his father's birth. Whilst making a massive contribution to the
team's achievements this season, Edwards has his own personal agenda for the
final three rounds and, in particular, this weekend. Boosted by the added
support of hoards of friends and family and with years of World Superbike
experience at the circuit, the Texan is aiming for a poignant first MotoGP
victory and another step towards finishing second in the championship.

This will be the 17th consecutive year that a Grand Prix has been held in
Australia since 1989. The first two events were held at Phillip Island, followed
by six consecutive seasons at Eastern Creek, before the series returned to 'The
Island' in 1997. Sunday's MotoGP race action gets underway at 14.30h local time
(CET +8).


Valentino Rossi's memorable title success at Phillip Island last year was
perhaps the most famous of his six Grand Prix victories at the circuit. For the
past four seasons the Italian has dominated the MotoGP race in Australia but he
also tasted success in previous seasons, winning the 250cc race in both 1998 and
1999. There is no doubt that the legendary track is a special venue for Rossi,
although he revealed an even deeper affinity with the country itself ahead of
the fifteenth round of the season.

"Australia is one of my favourite countries," says Rossi. "I always have a good
time in Melbourne and in Phillip Island and once I made a trip to Surfers
Paradise with some of my team. I really like the country and I always have fun
there. It's an important race for me because most of my mechanics are Australian
so it's their home race, like Mugello is for me.

"Phillip Island is a great track, maybe my absolute favourite, and I have some
wonderful memories of racing there.  Winning the 500cc championship for the
first time in 2001 was very special and of course winning the championship for
Yamaha last year, which was probably the best title of them all. The track is
very fast, very beautiful, and the Yamaha seems to work well there.

"I have had some great, great battles there in the past - two years ago I
managed to escape from Capirossi but last year was a hard battle with Gibernau
until the last lap. In some parts I was faster than him and some other places
slower and for sure it was a lot of fun for everybody watching. I have many
rivals who can do well at Phillip Island so we will see this weekend.

"Sometimes the weather is not so good and I hope it's a bit warmer than last
year!  Still, I am looking forward to it.  We had some small problems testing
there in the winter but when we tested at Sepang everything was great but during
the race weekend we had some problems, so I hope that for Phillip Island it's
the opposite!"


Like Rossi, Colin Edwards has extra reason to look forward to Phillip Island
thanks to a series of impressive results there in the past. The American built a
strong record at the track during his World Superbike career, finishing on the
podium on no fewer than eight occasions, including a win in 2001 in atrocious
weather conditions. With three races to go and just seven points separating him
from that elusive second place in the championship, Edwards has two clear

"Phillip Island I like, Valencia also, and we don't know what to expect from
Turkey so my mind is still set on winning one of those races and taking second
in the championship," says Edwards. "I've got a lot of family in Australia and
obviously my connection with the country is very strong. Phillip Island is a
race I always look forward to going to for those reasons and this year is no

"As for the circuit, we had a good test there in preseason and it is fast, which
is the kind of track I have always liked. It has a bit of everything, from fifth
gear to first, elevation, positive and negative camber, slow turns, fast
turns... all in the space of ten corners! But the biggest thing for me right now
is that we learn from the problems we had in the race at Qatar. If we don't then
it doesn't matter how much I like the track!"


After the stresses and strains of three weeks on the road in Asia with the
MotoGP World Championship on the line, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director Davide
Brivio says he is looking forward to a relatively stress-free trip to Australia,
where the team will be doing everything they can to add the manufacturers' title
to their list of honours this season.

"Phillip Island is a circuit that holds good memories for the team because we
won the title there last year and it was a very special moment for everybody at
Yamaha," says Brivio. "Both Valentino and Colin like the track very much so
we're looking forward to a good race from both of them. We have already got the
riders' and teams' titles and we would very much like to win the manufacturers'
title too, as well as trying to secure second position in the championship with
Colin. We are very close now and all we can do is continue to give our best at
each of the remaining three rounds and see what happens.

"It makes Phillip Island an important race but we go there without feeling any
pressure. It is a place the riders know well because they have been racing there
for many years, also we complete a lot of preseason testing work there, but the
conditions seem to be different every time so we'll wait and see what this year

"Anyway, the Australians are very passionate about motorcycle racing and always
come down to Phillip Island in big numbers. They are true MotoGP fans and always
make it a very special atmosphere so we're all looking forward to it."


After seeing local hero Wayne Gardner take victory for the first two years of
the Australian Grand Prix in 1989 and 1990 at Phillip Island, hopes were high
for another home victory when the series switched to a new venue at Eastern
Creek on the outskirts of Sydney in 1991. Not only was Gardner still in his
prime, but a new young star was emerging in the shape of Mick Doohan, taking the
challenge to Yamaha's reigning World Champion Wayne Rainey.

Despite starting from pole position, Rainey was ranked by some locals as an
outsider for victory at Eastern Creek - including the race organisers - yet he
romped home with a 2.5 second advantage over Doohan, with his Yamaha colleague
John Kocinski completing the podium in third place. "Probably my favourite story
about any of my trophies was the one I won at Eastern Creek in 1991," smiles
Rainey. "They moved the race there after two years at Phillip Island, which had
both been won by Wayne Gardner, and it seemed the race organisers thought an
Australian would win again.

"The trophy was this incredible 1850s America's Cup-style thing, which was worth
a fortune, but they had only insured it to stay in Australia! They obviously
didn't count on me winning the race but on the Sunday night it was on its way
back to the USA with me!"

Throughout his career Rainey experienced a love-hate relationship with
Australian fans and riders alike, with Gardner and Doohan two of his fiercest
rivals. However, the Californian insists that the mutual respect that always
existed between them still lasts to this day. "The Australians always got behind
their Grand Prix riders and I really respected that. In fact, I was probably
more popular myself in Australia than I was in the US because of the interest in
motorcycle racing and the excellent coverage it was given on the television.
They had some of the best tracks and the best fans in the world so it was always
a great pleasure to race in Australia."


Phillip Island demands far more than just a fast bike to make for quick and
consistent lap times. The sweeping and flowing circuit is possibly one of the
ultimate tests of machine control and throttle accuracy, not to mention the
sheer bravery and forcefulness required of the rider.

Frequent heavy braking is less of a consideration at Phillip Island than most
other tracks, and thus a certain level of stability under braking can be
sacrificed to allow for greater cornering finesse and agility. The 4.448km
Phillip Island track has undergone considerable trackside improvements over the
years, aimed at enhancing rider safety. Nonetheless a fast lap of Phillip Island
is still rated as one of the most adrenaline-fuelled experiences in any rider's

The compromise between setting the suspension at a hard enough level to handle
the high cornering forces, while remaining supple over the few high speed
ripples, is the goal at 'The Island'. This also helps to prevent the rear end
from trying to spin out on the slower corners, losing crucial acceleration.

Overly stiff suspension will not allow the rear end to squat to the required
degree under power, making the rear tyre work excessively hard around what is
predominantly a left-handed track, promoting premature tyre wear. Rider
confidence through suspension consistency is a key at such a fast track,
allowing the rider to push the pace for the entire race distance.

The seemingly never-ending final corner is crucial to a good lap time at Phillip
Island, and a high speed exit will also determine how soon the rider can reach
top speed down the long main straight, another important factor, especially in
the last lap of a close race.

Phillip Island's exposed nature means that weather is a constant talking point
in the Australian spring climate, adding to the potential 


Age: 26
Lives: London, UK
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
GP victories: 79 (40 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: 154 (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)
Phillip Island 2004 Results (Yamaha): Grid 2nd, Race 1st


Age: 31
Lives: Conroe, Texas
Bike: Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1
First GP: Japan, 2003 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 46 (MotoGP)
World Championships - 2 World Superbike
Phillip Island 2004 Results (Honda): Grid 4th, Race 4th

Phillip Island MotoGP Lap Record:

Loris Capirossi (Ducati)  1'31.102 - 2004

Circuit Best Lap:

Valentino Rossi (Honda)   1'30.068 - 2003